Read the full DOJ inspector general’s report on the FBI’s Russian Federation probe

"Clearly, there was a legitimate, factual basis; in fact the FBI had a moral imperative to begin this investigation", Blumenthal said.

But Mr Horowitz also found a total of 17 "basic and fundamental" errors and omissions in the original application and all subsequent renewals to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

The attorney general praised Durham for issuing a rare statement criticizing the inspector general report, arguing it was "necessary to avoid public confusion". "That's what electronic surveillance is ... going through people's emails, wiring people up".

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies before Congress a year ago.

Horowitz began working on the report in March 2018 following requests from the Justice Department and lawmakers.

Upon the release of the Department of Justice Inspector General report documenting serious misconduct at the FBI in conducting a counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, former FBI Director James Comey proclaimed victory in a Washington Post column (accessible here via Outline).

The director also said the bureau might discipline people if it concludes, based on tips from Horowitz's report, that is warranted.

"Well today, after months of investigating, the DOJ inspector released his report, finding no evidence of bias, concluding that the FBI had sufficient evidence to lawfully open the Russian Federation investigation".

Image copyright Win McNamee/Getty Images Image caption Ivanka Trump was reportedly friends with former British Spy Christopher Steele What else have we learned recently about the Steele dossier?

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"Spygate" wasn't the only conspiracy theory refuted in the Horowitz report.

"The Inspector General report outlined an alarming abuse of the FISA process", Second District Congressman Brad Wenstrup told The Highland County Press.

It found that the FBI had an "authorized purpose" when it opened its investigation in July 2016 into whether the Trump campaign was coordinating with Russian Federation to tip the election in his favor. The FBI has extraordinarily broad discretion and authorization to investigate, so it would have been truly incredible for an inspector general to find that the FBI had violated the law in opening an investigation.

But Democrats cite a lengthy footnote in the initial application that informed a judge on the secret court that Steele was hired by politically motivated people hoping to use it to discredit Trump's campaign. Horowitz queried USA intelligence agencies, who told him that was not the case, people familiar with the matter said.

However the Horowitz report did include a string of criticisms for how the investigation was pursued, in particular over the way it secured a wiretap on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

But the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz found "significant inaccuracies and omissions" in Federal Bureau of Investigation applications to wiretap former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page that were submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Durham agreed with his boss and insisted the investigation was still ongoing.

The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz gave ammunition to both Trump's supporters and his Democratic critics in the debate about the legitimacy of an investigation that clouded the first two years of his presidency. "Steele instead relied on a Primary Sub-source for information, who used his/her network of sub-sources to gather information that was then passed to Steele".

Continued Nadler and Maloney: "Those discredited conspiracy theories were attempts to deflect from the president's serious and ongoing misconduct, first urging Russian Federation and now extorting Ukraine into interfering with our elections to benefit himself personally and politically". The FBI would review the conduct of employees mentioned in the report, he said.

The report will land in the heart of Democrats' impeachment inquiry; the House Judiciary Committee has announced it plans to hold a hearing Monday to "receive presentations from counsels to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and House Judiciary Committee".

  • Sonia Alvarado