Late last week, the New York Times, a famously left-leaning news outlet, broke the news that the Obama administration, specifically the Federal Bureau of Investigation led by James Comey, tried to place a spy in the Donald Trump presidential campaign. This led President Trump to demand a Department of Justice investigation into possible abuses of power by the Obama White House.
On Sunday evening, Justice Department Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asked Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate for “impropriety or political motivation” in the FBI’s infiltration of President Trump’s campaign. It seems that Rosenstein may have done this entirely because he knew the IG’s office had no authority to properly investigate the claim. Perhaps Rosenstein even planned for this protection to protect Obama administration members, providing yet another example in an endless stream of legal manipulations that shelter the last administration.
According to multiple claims by experts, Inspector General Horowitz has literally no power to interview anyone who was involved in the Obama administration plot. To paraphrase former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova; the IG has no subpoena authority whatsoever.
In other words, Horowitz can interview people still in various government positions to find out what they knew (and when they knew it) about the attempt to place an FBI informant (or informants) into Donald J. Trump’s campaign to spy on him.
However, he cannot subpoena people like James Comey, Andrew McCabe, John Brennan, or anyone else who would be able to provide insight into the process that led to the Bureau attempting to place an informant into a rival political campaign.
Everyone who would have been part of the plot at the Department of Justice and the FBI is long gone from government employment. Now they’re private citizens, and as such are beyond the reach of the Inspector General.
It’s likely that when he promised to open an investigation into why someone attempted to place informant Stefan Halper into the Trump campaign, Rosenstein knew that there was no chance Horowitz would be able to carry out an effective investigation.
The Office of the Inspector General has access to a very limited list of things. He can access most government files, likely including documentation about operation ‘Crossfire Hurricane,’ which could shed some light on the decision process and who was involved.
He can interview almost any current government employee. Although the high-ranking employees who were involved in the operation all left their positions (or were dismissed for various reasons), there’s always that possibility that one or two low-ranking individuals will still be in government service somewhere.
However, it would be extremely difficult to figure out who, precisely, ordered the operation, especially without access to the former Director and Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under Barack Obama.
That would be James Comey and Andrew McCabe, respectively. Comey was dismissed by President Donald Trump just over a year ago, and McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions before St. Patrick’s Day, 2018, 26 hours before his scheduled retirement, because he repeatedly made unauthorized media leaks to undermine the President.
As Stefan Halper, the man who spied on the campaign (or at least the one that we know of so far), was also an asset for the Central Intelligence Agency, it would also be valuable to find out what John Brennan, the head of the CIA under former president Obama, might know. These three people are all able to avoid questioning by Horowitz.
However, there are people in the United States who have the legal authority to question them, and other members of the Obama administration, whether they are currently employed by the government or not.
It is important that these people are questioned. The idea that the Obama administration, and high-ranking appointees in the administration, could use intelligence agencies to spy on a political opponent is extremely disturbing.
Recently, some have suggested that the investigation into the abuse of FBI power might even turn out to be a larger government scandal than Watergate, which resulted in Nixon’s resignation from the presidency.
After all, the Watergate scandal simply involved five men with political ties to the president who were caught spying on another party.
On the other hand, these allegations suggest that large portions of the United States government, funded by taxpayers, may have colluded to take aim at a political opponent without any justifiable reason to do so.