To say there is broad-based confusion is an understatement. The recent reporting by John Solomon of The Hill only makes the confusion worse. Let’s stand back and reconcile two issues (with evidence to support) that are MASSIVELY conflated.
First, go read the full Solomon article. Notice the entire construct of the article surrounds “The Comey Memos“. As you will see, this specific topic is important. Within the Solomon article you will find (emphasis mine):
[…] Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s team referred Comey for possible prosecution under the classified information protection laws, but Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors working for Attorney General William Barr reportedly have decided to decline prosecution — a decision that’s likely to upset Comey’s conservative critics.
Prosecutors found the IG’s findings compelling but decided not to bring charges because they did not believe they had enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law, according to multiple sources.
[…] Patrick Fitzgerald and Daniel Richman, two of Comey’s lawyers, and Keith Urbahn, his spokesman, did not return repeated calls and emails seeking comment.
[…] While they cautioned that the IG’s final report won’t be complete until it gets feedback from Comey’s lawyers in the next few days, it is expected to conclude that the former FBI director improperly took with him memos that were FBI property when he was fired, transmitted classified information via an insecure email account, and shared some of the memos with his private lawyers. (read more)
It sounds like the OIG report on FISA abuse is in the end-stages. What is described in the highlighted sentence above would be what is technically called “The Principal Review Phase of the OIG Final Draft”. That’s where targets are given the opportunity to review an IG report and provide feedback prior to public release.
However…. Note: This reference is not to the IG report on FISA Abuse.
Repeat: This is NOT the Inspector General Michael Horowitz report on DOJ and FBI FISA abuse.
This is a carve-out.
John Solomon is conflating two distinct issues…. and there is no effort to explain, because the sourcing is compartmentalized. Now the comment earlier in the week by Matthew Whitaker makes sense. Bear with me….
From the outset it was reported and confirmed that U.S. Attorney John Huber was assigned to assist Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Huber’s job was to stand-by in case the IG carved out a particular concern, discovered during his investigation, that might involve criminal conduct.
Earlier this week Matt Whitaker said: “John Huber is reviewing anything related to Comey’s memos and the like.”
Put the two data points together and what you realize is that during the OIG review of potential DOJ and FBI FISA abuse… IG Horowitz investigated the Comey Memo’s and then passed that specific issue along to John Huber for DOJ review.
The IG criminal referral for the James Comey memo leaking was a carve-out sent to U.S. Attorney John Huber.
Back to the Solomon article, only this time I will insert modified clarifying language to highlight what happened:
[…] Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s team referred Comey [to John Huber] for possible prosecution under the classified information protection laws, but [John Huber, working for AG Bill Barr] reportedly has decided to decline prosecution — a decision that’s likely to upset Comey’s conservative critics.
John Huber found the IG’s findings compelling but decided not to bring charges because he did not believe they had enough evidence of Comey’s intent to violate the law, according to multiple sources.
This is a carve-out IG report and referral; with a specific target of James Comey; based on evidence discovered during the larger OIG review of possible FISA abuse.
Now the ‘Principal Review Phase‘ makes sense, because the only principal is James Comey. Therefore the IG has written a final draft report specific to James Comey and his memos. James Comey and his lawyers are now reviewing that final draft report and will provide feedback.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, together with the OIG referencer, may put the response from Comey in the report along with additional rebuttal from the Inspector General’s office.
That process will generate a final IG report; but the report is only specific to the Comey memo aspect and James Comey’s conduct in handling that memo content. That IG report on James Comey will be released pretty soon, likely within the next week.
This is not the inspector general report on DOJ and FBI FISA abuse. This is an IG report carved out of the larger investigation.
Bottom Line: We are soon going to see an IG report exclusively on James Comey.
Does that make sense now?