Trump says DOJ report 'far worse than I would have ever thought possible,' despite no finding of political bias
President Donald Trump takes part in a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 19, 2019.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Monday said a new report from the Justice Department's internal watchdog is "far worse than I ever thought possible," calling the findings of the report "a disgrace."
The report, however, found no evidence of political bias in connection with the origins of the Russia investigation.
Trump spoke to reporters during a school choice event at the White House, where he said he had just been briefed on the report's contents.
The Department of Justice's internal watchdog on Monday released its long-awaited report on the FBI's decision to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including its surveillance of a then-Trump campaign aide.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that there was a proper legal basis for the FBI to seek a surveillance warrant against Carter Page, a former foreign policy advisor to Trump's campaign, according to the report, which runs more than 400 pages in length.
Horowitz also reported that there was no evidence of political bias at the root of the investigation — rebuffing Trump's repeated claims about a concerted effort to undermine his campaign being led by "deep state" Washington bureaucrats.
Nonetheless, Trump said the report's findings represented "an attempted overthrow" of the government, "and a lot of people were in on it, and they got caught."
Horowitz's probe did find "serious performance failures" made by some agents in charge of the surveillance applications submitted to the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Those failures included numerous "factual misstatements omissions" found in the review — some more significant than others, the report says, but when "taken together resulted in [surveillance] applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case."
"They fabricated evidence and they lied to the courts," Trump said.
Attorney General William Barr disagreed with the inspector general, and issued a statement Monday saying the report "reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process."
Barr has also ordered a separate, broader investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, which is being led by John Durham, a U.S. attorney from Connecticut.
Durham on Monday said that "while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened."
Trump said he was looking forward to the release of the Durham report, "which is coming out in the not too distant future. It's got its own information, which is this information plus, plus, plus" Trump said.
"I think I'm going to put this down as one of our great achievements," Trump continued. "Because what we found and what we saw -- never ever should this happen again in our country."
-- CNBC's Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report