A US watchdog has found no evidence of political bias when the FBI launched a probe into the 2016 Trump campaign, despite “serious performance failures”.
The US Department of Justice inspector general’s report concluded the law enforcement bureau had “authorised purpose” to initiate the inquiry.
But the report also found applications to spy on a Trump aide had “significant inaccuracies and omissions”.
The 476-page report provides fodder for Trump critics and supporters alike.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz first announced the Department of Justice investigation in March last year.
Since then, he has reviewed more than one million records and conducted more than 100 interviews.
The FBI launched its inquiry in 2016 to look for any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government before the US presidential election.
The watchdog’s report sought to assess the basis for the FBI’s surveillance of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who had lived and worked in Russia.
Mr Horowitz’s report found the FBI’s use of confidential informants was in compliance with agency rules.
But he also faulted the FBI for its failure to meet agency standards when applying to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) for authorisation to monitor Mr Page.
“That so many basic and fundamental errors were made on four FISA applications by three separate, hand-picked teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations… raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process,” the report says.