It was found that former FBI director James Comey “deviated” from departmental procedures in the highly anticipated department watchdog report on the Justice Department and FBI’s 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server that will reportedly be released today.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, obtained by Bloomberg News Thursday, said that Comey’s actions were not motivated by political bias.
“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,” Horowitz said.
“The draft of Horowitz’s wide-ranging report specifically called out Comey for ignoring objections from the Justice Department when he disclosed in a letter to Congress just days before the 2016 presidential election that FBI agents had reopened the Clinton probe, according to sources,” ABC reported.
The report stems from an investigation the inspector general launched a week before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, according to Reuters.
The report is expected to be very critical of several top DOJ officials’ actions, including Comey’s announcement in July 2016 that Mrs. Clinton had been “reckless” with the nation’s secrets but he was not recommending prosecuting her.
According to The Washington Post, “the report is expected to blast former FBI director James B. Comey for various steps he took in the investigation, particularly his announcing in July — without telling his Justice Department bosses what he was about to say — that the FBI was recommending that Clinton not be charged, and for revealing to Congress just weeks before the presidential election that the bureau had resumed its work.”
Following the 2016 election, Clinton blamed Comey’s letters to Congress about the developments in the email investigation for her defeat in 2016.
Horowitz’s investigation also reportedly examined the politically sensitive decisions made by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
His report found a “troubling lack of any direct, substantive communication,” between the former FBI director and former attorney general before Lynch’s July 5 press conference and Comey’s letter to Congress in late October, Bloomberg reported.
“We found it extraordinary that, in advance of two such consequential decisions, the FBI director decided that the best course of conduct was to not speak directly and substantively with the attorney general about how best to navigate those decisions.”
The Wall Street Journal added that the report is also expected to scrutinize whether former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton investigation since his wife’s campaign for the Virginia legislature was aided by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally.
Horowitz has already referred the criminal findings on McCabe to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington. The IG report sent to Congress in April found that McCabe “lacked candor” during multiple discussions with then-FBI Director James Comey, FBI investigators, and Office of Inspector General investigators regarding leaking sensitive information to the media.
The report is also likely to criticize the thousands of texts exchanged by two FBI employees — agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page — who were extremely critical of President Donald Trump and others, The Wall Street Journal reported.
After the report is released, Horowitz will testify on the findings in the report before the committee on June 18.
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