The Justice Department's investigation into the FBI's surveillance of the Trump campaign has reportedly reached a last-minute "breakthrough."
At least one "key witness" outside the Justice Department and FBI recently began cooperating with the investigation, Fox News reported. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating whether the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by conducting surveillance against Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Although Horowitz's investigation was reportedly complete, and a report detailing its conclusions was in the process of being drafted, the development forced some witnesses to be reinterviewed, according to Fox News.
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In this case, additional FISA information came to light late in the process – including October 2016 contact (first reported by The Hill and confirmed by Fox News) between a senior State Department official and a former British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the infamous and salacious anti-Trump dossier.
The State Department contact with Steele was relayed to a senior FBI official. The timeline matters because about two weeks later, the FBI and DOJ used Steele's unverified research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign, to secure a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. At the very least, it's been argued, Steele's contact with another government agency should have been a red flag for the FBI because it may have violated his confidential human source agreement.
The identity of the forthcoming witness is not known.
Unfortunately, it's also not clear when Horowitz's investigation will formally conclude with the release of investigative conclusions.
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) revealed last week that after recently meeting with Horowitz, he learned the investigation is, in fact, completed. However, he said a formal report will likely not be issued until next month.
Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr has appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation.