Inspector General Criticizes FBI and James Comey, But Some Want More

Horowitz’s report stops short of accusing the FBI of working behind the scenes to ruin either Trump or Clinton. Instead, he attributes years of missteps at the FBI to the fact that key players, including Comey, didn’t adhere to protocol. He criticizes both Comey and former attorney general Loretta Lynch for failing to communicate properly before Comey’s press conference in the summer of 2016 and before he alerted Congress the FBI was reopening the case in the fall. “We found it extraordinary that Comey assessed that it was best that the FBI Director not speak directly with the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General about how best to navigate this most important decision and mitigate the resulting harms,” the report reads, “and that Comey’s decision resulted in the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General concluding that it would be counterproductive to speak directly with the FBI Director.”

The report stretches on for 568 pages, but that still hasn’t satisfied some on the right, who believed the report would uncover what President Trump has described as a thoroughly corrupt investigation. Earlier this month, he tweeted that he hoped the report wouldn’t be “changed and made weaker.” “There are so many horrible things to tell,” he wrote, “the Public has the right to know.”

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By Thursday morning, before it was even released, some of the President’s most faithful followers had already written a letter to Horowitz complaining the report had been watered down. “We are concerned that during this time, people may have changed the report in a way that obfuscates your findings,” wrote Representatives Andy Biggs, Ron DeSantis, and Matt Gaetz. They requested the inspector general produce his original drafts along with the final published form.

Still, even in its current state, revenge-hungry partisans found plenty of meat on the bone. The report includes previously unseen text messages between Page and Strzok, in which Page, who was romantically involved with Strzok, asked him, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok, who was an investigator in both the Clinton email case and the probe of the Trump campaign replied, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” But the inspector general concludes even this had no material impact on the Clinton investigation, though it did “cast a cloud over the FBI’s handling” of the investigation.

Comey, for his part, responded to the report with a tweet. “The conclusions are reasonable, even though I disagree with some,” he wrote. “People of good faith can see an unprecedented situation differently. I pray no Director faces it again.”

The report outlines a series of recommendations for the Bureau that could prevent the appearance of bias from getting in the way of its work again. It suggests the FBI adopt policies around what employees can and can’t discuss regarding ongoing investigations and recommends an ethics review regarding campaign donations and conflicts of interest. It also includes a suggestion that seems tailor made for Page, Strzok, and office dwellers everywhere: to add a warning banner to all FBI devices reminding their users that they “have no reasonable expectation of privacy.”


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