With special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s criminal inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election now well underway and at least four congressional probes ongoing, it may seem like every aspect of the controversy is already being closely scrutinized. But there’s also a less-noticed investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which has been exploring several issues key to the Russia saga since before President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Inspector General Michael Horowitz has offered few public indications of the status of his probe, which some lawmakers said he initially told them was expected to be complete by early next year. On Wednesday, he’s likely to make his first public statements at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the status of his inquiry – and whether he’ll acquiesce to any of the many requests from Republicans and Democrats to expand his review to include the firing of former FBI director James Comey or other developments.
“I think he’ll find a way to engage with the committee on that, while still being a little bit cagey,” said Michael Bromwich, who served as Justice’s inspector general from 1994 to 1999.
About a week before Trump’s inauguration in January, Horowitz announced a multi-faceted probe, focused primarily on whether Comey acted properly in his handling of the FBI’s investigation into classified information found in Hillary Clinton’s private email account.