Fox News host Sean Hannity said the Justice Department inspector general’s investigation into alleged surveillance abuses may have hit a snag examining the first Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant against one-time Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
During his evening show on Thursday, Hannity explained how Inspector General Michael Horowitz worked around the issue, which was related to British ex-spy Christopher Steele and his dossier, and may have already submitted his report to the attorney general.
“From my understanding, my sources, is inspector general Horowitz is probably likely done,” Hannity said, adding, “I’ve had some people saying, suggesting strongly they believe that the attorney general already has the inspector general’s report.”
He was interviewing the Hill’s John Solomon and credited memos obtained by conservative group Citizens United through open-records litigation and first reported by Solomon with aiding the watchdog investigation reach a breakthrough.
The memos showed Steele met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016 and admitted he was encouraged by his client to get his research out before the 2016 election, signaling a possible political motivation. The timing of the meeting is notable, as it was 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s unverified dossier to obtain the original warrant to wiretap Page.
“Now there was apparently, originally a hang up on only one of the FISA applications. Surprisingly that being the first,” Hannity said. “But according to my sources, your reporting about Kathleen Kavalec’s confirmation and warning and admonition to the FBI prior to the first FISA application put that to bed in light of also the closed-door testimony of Bruce Ohr that everybody was warned,” he added, referring to Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, who acted as an unofficial back channel between the Steele and the FBI.
Steele’s dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, contained salacious and unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia. It was used by the FBI to obtain the authority to wiretap Page, an American who had just left the Trump campaign and had suspicious connections to the Russians. The first warrant application was submitted in October 2016, after which there were three renewals at three-month intervals, including in January, April, and June 2017.
Hannity’s reporting follows former U.S. attorney District of Columbia Joe diGenova saying last month that Horowitz’s team determined the three FISA warrant extensions against Page were illegally obtained.
Although Attorney General William Barr said he anticipated Horowitz’s investigation to be complete by early June, Solomon said his own sources and Rep. Mark Meadows, have made it clear that the FISA investigation will take longer than expected to wrap up, particularly after Steele offered himself up for an interview with the inspector general.
“Not a long time, a short while,” Solomon said, adding that he thinks the American people will see the report sometime in the summer.