Comey 'broke norms but not biased' - agency watchdog report

Posted June 15, 2018

Democratic senators are using the new Inspector General report to try and prove that there is no conspiracy in government to upend Donald Trump's presidency. Strzok was also involved in the Clinton email probe. "We'll stop it", Strzok replied.

The report will contain additional text messages between the two that have not yet been released to the public.

"Strzok told Page in a text message that "we'll stop it", after he was asked, "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right?

The report characterized the politically-charged text messages as "antithetical to the core values of the FBI", but investigators "did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed".

Still, he wrote that "the conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation".

The president has previously pointed to text message exchanges between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok that included insults directed at Trump as evidence that both the investigation into his campaign's potential ties to Russian Federation and the outcome of the Hillary Clinton email investigation were tainted.

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IG Michael Horowitz expanded his probe to include non-Clinton-related moves within the Justice Department in the lead-up to the 2016 election, including decisions made by Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

In July 2016, Comey held an unusual news conference to explain why the Federal Bureau of Investigation would not be recommending criminal charges against Clinton over her use of the private server for some official business.

In an op ed for The New York Times, Comey wrote that the report "also resoundingly demonstrates that there was no prosecutable case against Mrs. Clinton, as we had concluded". That article prompted then-FBI Director James Comey to urge McCabe to voluntarily recuse himself, which he did days later.

The inspector general's report concluded that Comey, who announced in the summer of 2016 that Clinton would not be charged with any crime in the email probe, departed from normal Justice Department protocol numerous times. It would then be up to prosecutors to decide whether to bring criminal charges. But the blows are glancing at best - a far cry from the April inspector general report that alleged McCabe misled investigators exploring a media leak.

The long-awaited report is likely to reopen wounds left festering since the 2016 election and breathe new life into the debate about the extent to which Comey's actions affected the outcome of the presidential race.

Trump is certain to try to use the report to validate his firing of Comey a year ago, an act that is central to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice. Ten days before the presidential election, Comey announced the resumption of the investigation. In particular, Comey made a "serious error of judgment" in sending an October 28 letter to Congress saying he was reopening the investigation based on the discovery of Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop, especially since the laptop had been discovered a full month before.

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Lynch rebuffed calls for her recusal from the investigation, choosing instead to assert that she would accept the recommendation of career prosecutors. "And it reaffirmed the president's suspicions about [former FBI Director James] Comey's conduct and the political bias among some of the members of the FBI".

Congressional Republicans briefed on the report argued it condemned Comey. The FBI's actions and those of former Director Comey severely damaged the credibility of the investigation, the public's ability to rely on the results of the investigation, and the very institutions he claims to revere.

How will President Trump react? They were not authorized to discuss the report by name ahead of its release and requested anonymity.

Trump and the GOP have used the donation to paint McCabe as a Clinton ally.

The president had not commented on the report as of midafternoon.

Addressing the inspector general's report that mildly rebuked former FBI Director James Comey's handing of an investigation into ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails, Cortes latched onto an exchange between two agents who indicated that Trump needed to be stopped.

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