NYT: FBI didn’t try to place undercover agents inside Trump campaign

The Justice Department’s inspector general did not find any evidence that the FBI had tried to put undercover agents or informants inside Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report told The New York Times.

Trump and his supporters have alleged without evidence that the FBI spied on his campaign and that former President Barack Obama ordered Trump’s phones tapped. The finding by the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is expected to undercut Trump’s claim that the FBI acted improperly while investigating several Trump associates starting in 2016, the Times reports.

Horowitz found that leaders at the FBI were not politically motivated in pursuing a secret wiretap on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to the newspaper. His findings are part of a review of the FBI’s effort to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Page.

But the inspector general is also expected to sharply criticize FBI leaders in some ways for their handling of the investigation.

Horowitz concluded the FBI was careless and unprofessional in pursuing the Page wiretap, according to the Times. He is expected to detail omissions and errors from when FBI officials applied for the wiretap, people familiar with a draft of the report told the Times.

In one instance, Horowitz referred his findings in connection with the wiretap application to prosecutors for potential criminal charges, the Times reports. The findings involve the alleged alteration of a document in 2017 by a former FBI lawyer, according to the newspaper.

A spokeswoman for Horowitz declined to comment to the Times. The people familiar with the inquiry told the Times the draft report was not final, and the Times said it has not reviewed the draft.

Earlier this year, Attorney General William Barr suggested to lawmakers that Trump’s campaign had been spied on and said he will be looking into the “genesis” of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation that began in 2016 of potential ties between the campaign and the Russian government. He did not provide evidence for his claims.