I did not expect the Justice Department's inspector general would find anything else (because there's nothing else to find) but a report released by their office this afternoon makes it official -- the FBI's investigation of Russian contacts with Trump's campaign was justified.
Republicans have long claimed that the FBI was unduly influenced by the so-called Steele Dossier -- the dossier that included the infamous "pee tape" -- but the inspector general's report says the FBI had already opened an investigation before the dossier was received by the agency.
The inspector general's report also says the FBI mishandled some official paperwork, but there was no political bias or influence on the investigation.
WASHINGTON — The FBI mishandled parts of its application to monitor a Trump campaign aide as it was probing possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, but the overall investigation was justified, according to a long-awaited report by the Justice Department's watchdog that rebuts the president's depiction of a politically biased plot against him. [...]
The report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the FBI and the Justice Department launched their investigation into the 2016 campaign not for political reasons, but because of evidence the Russian government was using cutouts to reach out to the Trump campaign as part of its efforts to influence the election.
Horowitz found that political bias did not taint the actions of former FBI leaders who have frequently been the subject of presidential attacks on Twitter, including former Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.
This does not tell us anything we didn't already know from various reports that have emerged over the past three years, but it's nice to have it in writing I suppose.
As conclusive as this report may be, that doesn't mean Republicans or the Trump regime will accept it, of course. Attorney General William Barr, a man who functions more like Trump's personal attorney than the attorney general of the United States, has already misrepresented and rejected the inspector general's report.
Republicans are not in the habit of accepting the findings of their own investigations. Half a dozen Republican-controlled House committees found no evidence of wrongdoing in Benghazi, but they still bleat about it today.
I suppose it in some small part comforting to know that, in the year 2019, it's still difficult if not impossible to insert official lies into watchdog reports. At least for now.
In closely related news, the inspector general also found that dossier author Christopher Steele once had a personal relationship with Ivanka Trump who even tried to recruit him into the Trump Organization.
Make of this what you will.
In 2007, Ivanka Trump met Steele at a dinner and they began corresponding about the possibility of future work together, the source said. The following year, the two exchanged emails about meeting up near Trump Tower, according to several emails seen by ABC News. They suggest Ivanka Trump and Steele stayed in touch via emails over the next several years. In one 2008 exchange they discussed dining together in New York at a restaurant just blocks from Trump Tower.
Steele reportedly gave Ivanka gifts on occasion which sounds like something more than mere acquaintance.