Republicans and Democrats condemned former FBI Director James Comey and other top level-agency personnel after Inspector General Michael Horowitz of the Justice Department released the much-anticipated report Thursday on the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Democrats once again focused their attention on Comey for releasing a statement to Congress in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election regarding additional emails in the Clinton Email Investigation that were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Clinton and Democrats have long blamed Comey for the results of Clinton’s failed presidential run.
Senior Democrat and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said, “This report makes clear that FBI Director Comey and FBI personnel failed to follow the rules, and in doing so, hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign…”.
Republicans found the Justice Department report to be a scolding reprimand to the DOJ, FBI, and Comey for what the report indicated was a highly flawed handling of the Clinton email investigation. The Justice Department’s report further indicated that the former FBI Director’s actions in the investigation were “extraordinary and insubordinate”, but also stated that Comey was not motivated by political bias.
Senior Republican lawmaker and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Trey Gowdy, went as far as to state, “I am alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI in investigating potential Espionage Act violations by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
While the report stopped short of indicating that political bias favoring Clinton or Trump was a factor in decisions made by Comey and other high-level officials investigating the Clinton Email Scandal, the report did state concern about questionable correspondence among Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.
The report states that on August 8, 2016, Strzok and Page had an intense text exchange:
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”, Page texted.
FBI Deputy Assistant Director Strzok responded with, “No. No, he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Page 149 of the Inspector General Report goes on to describe this exchange as “deeply troubled” and “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.”
While the report indicates Strzok’s bias could not affect the Clinton Email Investigation because he was not the sole decision maker, the report does call into question his earlier investigative decisions and whether they were affected by his political bias.
Ironically, the Inspector General’s Report did focus attention on Comey’s use of personal email to conduct FBI business. Page 426 of the 568-page document cites five occasions where Comey chose to use a personal Gmail account to conduct official FBI business.
The report states “We found that given the exigent circumstances and the frequency with which the use of personal email occurred, Comey’s use of a personal email account on multiple occasions for unclassified FBI business to be inconsistent with DOJ Policy Statement.”
While the dissection of the Inspector General’s Report has only begun, political posturing is already taking place. Peter Stzrok’s attorney released a statement questioning the IG reports conclusion that Strzok may have made decisions based on political bias. In addition, Director Comey has stated his concerns in a New York Times Op Ed piece questioning some of the report’s conclusions while also praising the Justice departments professionalism.
~ Conservative Zone