Investigation into alleged FBI leaks to Giuliani during 2016 campaign is ongoing, DOJ watchdog says

Days before the FBI announced it had reopened the Clinton email investigation, Giuliani said the Trump campaign had "a couple of things up our sleeve."

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By Dareh Gregorian

The Department of Justice inspector general's office is still investigating alleged leaks from the FBI's New York field office regarding the Hillary Clinton email investigation to Rudy Giuliani in the final days of the 2016 campaign, the IG testified Wednesday.

"We were very concerned about that" and have been actively investigating alleged leaks to Giuliani and others, Michael Horowitz said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "This continues to this day. We are investigating those contacts."

Two days before then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was reopening an investigation into Clinton's email practices as secretary of state, Giuliani, then a surrogate for President Donald Trump's campaign, said help was on the way for his candidate.

"I think he's got a surprise or two that you're going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I'm talking about some pretty big surprises," the former U.S. Attorney told Fox News.

After news of the renewed investigation became public, Giuliani said in a radio interview that Comey had bowed to “the pressure of a group of FBI agents who don’t look at it politically.”

“The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity,” he continued. “I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”

Giuliani has subsequently denied having any inside information.

Comey told Congress last year he'd launched an investigation into possible leaks from the FBI field office before Trump fired him in May of 2017. Comey said Giuliani had appeared to be making statements at the time “based on his knowledge of workings inside the FBI New York,” raising concerns “that we may have a leak problem.” He said the investigation was ongoing at the time he was fired, and he did not know the end result.

Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., asked Horowitz about the probe Wednesday.

"Rudy Giuliani and others appeared to receive highly sensitive leaks from the New York FBI field office, leaks that likely contributed to director Comey's public announcement he was reopening the Clinton investigation days before the election," Leahy said. "What can you tell us about the New York field office's leaks to Rudolph Giuliani and others?"

Horowitz said his office had found some FBI employees had "violated FBI policy" and "we have some investigations ongoing."

"What's proving to be very hard is to prove the actual substance of the communications between the agents and the reporter, or the individuals, as you might guess, but we can prove the contacts, and under FBI policy you need authorization if you're going to disclose information and have certain contacts," Horowitz said.

The IG was also pressed on the issue by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who cited a 2016 CNN interview where Giuliani said of the re-opening of the Clinton investigation, "I expected this. Did I hear about it? You're darn right I heard about it." (Giuliani also walked the comment back in the same interview, saying "I had no information about that at all" and claiming he was talking about a separate investigation.)

"How can we be dealing with those kinds of statements that long ago and still not have some resolution as to whether he was just bluffing or if in fact he had moles in that New York office?" Durbin asked the IG Wednesday.

"We were looking at, we are looking at still, that question," Horowitz replied.

Giuliani became the president's personal lawyer during special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, and blasted Mueller's team as "a bunch of sneaky, unethical leakers" this past April.

The IG investigation is not the only federal probe involving the former New York City mayor. Prosecutors from the office Giuliani used to head in the Southern District of New York are reportedly investigating his financial dealings.