According to the newly released Inspector General (IG) report, we have confirmation: Former FBI Director James Comey actually “deviated” from Justice Department and FBI procedures, while playing politics with the Hillary Clinton email investigation. (RELATED: IG Report on James Comey ‘Worse Than Expected’).
Bloomberg News has the scoop and notes that report shows just how misguided Comey’s actions were while looking into Hillary Clinton’s home email server, which was used to classified highly classified information and was subsequently hacked by foreign entities.
This is truly bad news for Comey, who is currently on a book tour:
Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from FBI and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the law enforcement agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by political bias, the department’s watchdog found in a highly anticipated report.
While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report’s conclusions, which were obtained Thursday by Bloomberg News.
Horowitz’s report examined actions taken by top officials before the 2016 election, including the handling of the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. The investigation expanded to touch on an array of politically sensitive decisions by officials including Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
While the report being sent to Congress on Thursday doesn’t deal with the origins of the probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with those around President Donald Trump, the president and his Republican supporters in Congress are primed to use it as evidence of poor judgment and anti-Trump bias within the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department
The report also takes direct aim at FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who was having an adulterous affair while exchanging text messages that were harshly critical of President Trump and his voters.
After the texts were discovered, Mueller removed Strozk from the investigation, and Page has left the FBI:
“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” Horowitz said in the report to be issued Thursday. “The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”
It will be interesting what the fallout from the Justice Department IG report will be. When the IG released a report in April about Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s lack of candor on four occasions of interacting with the media (including details about investigations into the Clinton Foundation’s shady fundraising), Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him, hours before he was about to retire and qualify for a full government pension.
There will be more details to come.
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