DOJ IG: Comey violated norms, but no evidence he had political bias

CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 12:17 PM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 12:19 PM

What a mess.

There are no winners in Thursday's release of the 500-page Justice Department inspector general report on the FBI's actions during the 2016 election.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz said former FBI Director James Comey was "insubordinate," former Attorney General Loretta Lynch erred in judgment, and FBI agents beyond Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were unprofessional in sending anti-Trump messages.

Here are the major takeaways from the report's release:

Comey's long series of bad decisions

When it came to overseeing the Clinton email investigation, Comey blew it -- at least in the eyes of the inspector general. Yes, Comey faced no-win decisions that were sure to anger everyone around him.

But over and over, according to the report, he made the wrong call.

The inspector general gave a bruising series of conclusions on Comey's conduct: He shouldn't have held his July 2016 news conference about the Clinton investigation. When he did it anyway, he should have informed then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch about his recommendation not to pursue charges. And he shouldn't have told Congress, just days before the 2016 election, that there were new Clinton emails to examine.

Perhaps this is why there are protocols in place and norms to be followed. The report suggests that if Comey stuck to the rules -- no matter the fallout -- he would not have been faulted for it today.

And most ironic for Clinton supporters, Comey also used his Gmail for FBI business at times.

RELATED: What Comey did and what the IG said about it

A major blow to the FBI's credibility

It's not every day that the FBI director steps in front of the cameras to deliver a news conference. A stoic Christopher Wray put his stamp on the report, touting the sections that clear the FBI of systemic bias and promising accountability for agents found to have broken the rules.

"Disappointed" was how Wray described his reaction to the report -- and he's right. The IG found problems with a slew of senior FBI officials. The report itself is a grandiose airing of the FBI's dirty laundry: Internal disagreements, bad decisions, troubling conduct, insubordination and more.

The FBI essentially gave itself a bloody nose. But that's on top off the daily punches that the bureau takes from Trump and his Republican allies on Capitol Hill, and gripes from Democrats still seething over the 2016 election loss. No doubt, it'll take time for the bureau to pick itself back up.

FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, long disgraced for their anti-Trump text messages, were slammed as damaging the agency's reputation and opening the door for the appearance of bias in the Clinton investigation and the Russia investigation as well. It's difficult to see how Strzok keeps his job.

Report defends Clinton

The inspector general's report Thursday solidified that Clinton had not intended to break the law with her handling of classified material on her private email, by exhaustively detailing the steps of the investigation.

Despite other issues with Comey, the IG signs off on his ultimate conclusion that Clinton should not be charged.

For a full year before the 2016 election, investigators realized they had little evidence in the case against Clinton. But they discussed for months how to end the investigation and communicate that with the public.

Comey found solace in the report's conclusions that the Clinton probe was not biased.

"Nothing in the inspector general's report makes me think we did the wrong thing," Comey wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

Fodder for Trump and GOP allies

It's all but assured that the report will not put to rest the charges that Trump and his allies have been sounding for months that Mueller's investigation was biased against the Republican presidential nominee.

The IG report found there was no conspiracy against Trump in the 2016 Clinton investigation, but it detailed a sequence of events that created the ingredients for a conspiracy.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have been clamoring for a full accounting of the text messages sent between Strzok and Page, and Thursday's report showed there were still text messages that had not been provided, including one in which Strzok said "we'll stop" Trump.

Plus, the IG revealed even more FBI officials sent anti-Trump messages, including an FBI attorney on the Mueller team who was removed in February soon after the inspector general provided the texts to Mueller.

There's also numerous issues that this report doesn't address, from the handling of the Russia investigation itself to issues like how Comey dealt with his memos memorializing his conversations with Trump.

Fodder for Clinton and her allies (the mystery month)

At the same time, the report provides new details about how the FBI allowed the newly discovered emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop to linger in September and October 2016, while Strzok and other agents were focusing on the Russia investigation.

Strzok's texts were decidedly anti-Trump, and Horowitz wrote he did not have confidence that Strzok was free from bias when he prioritized the Russia investigation over the Weiner emails. But that also set in motion the chain of events that led Comey to announce just before the election that was reopening the Clinton investigation, a step that many Democrats say cost Clinton the election.

Comey told the inspector general that, had he known about the laptop in the beginning of October and thought the email review could have been completed before the election, it may have affected his decision to notify Congress.

The show that never ends

The 2016 election will never end.

Mueller and congressional committees are still investigating whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russians. Other congressional panels are probing the same FBI actions in 2016 that were detailed in Thursday's report.

Horowitz himself is still tasked with investigating the FBI's handling of the Trump-Russia investigation, in which Republicans allege they abused the foreign surveillance process and exhibited bias toward Trump.

In Thursday's report, Horowitz said several times that he did not examine whether bias affected the Russia investigation.

That will be a case for another day and another fight over 2016.

Terre Haute
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 68°
Indianapolis
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Rockville
Overcast
66° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 66°
Casey
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Brazil
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Heat and Humidity Return
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 157825

Reported Deaths: 7427
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook966624745
Lake10561429
DuPage9867492
Kane8218286
Will7436328
Winnebago3215106
St. Clair2436145
McHenry2347103
Kankakee145466
Madison131071
Rock Island125230
Unassigned1172201
Champaign108917
Kendall108621
Peoria73630
DeKalb66522
Boone64121
Sangamon58733
Jackson36619
McLean34015
Randolph3377
Ogle3254
Stephenson2876
LaSalle28617
Macon25922
Clinton25617
Whiteside22415
Union21519
Coles20917
Adams2081
Grundy2025
Tazewell1968
Iroquois1795
Knox1760
Williamson1734
Monroe17113
Warren1500
Cass14010
Morgan1354
Henry1251
Jefferson12317
Lee1102
McDonough11015
Vermilion962
Montgomery902
Pulaski860
Marion810
Macoupin753
Perry631
Douglas620
Livingston582
Jo Daviess571
Woodford552
Franklin540
Christian534
Jersey481
Jasper477
Clark450
Bureau442
Ford421
Effingham351
Menard330
Cumberland310
Johnson290
Mason290
Mercer290
Fayette283
Moultrie280
Washington280
Logan270
Alexander260
Shelby231
Wabash230
Bond211
Carroll212
Hancock211
Piatt210
Crawford200
Edgar200
Saline200
Wayne191
De Witt180
Fulton180
Massac170
White170
Schuyler140
Lawrence130
Marshall130
Greene120
Brown100
Richland100
Clay80
Gallatin80
Henderson80
Pike80
Hamilton70
Stark60
Edwards50
Calhoun20
Hardin20
Pope20
Out of IL10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 53370

Reported Deaths: 2785
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12276699
Lake5831252
Elkhart379462
Allen3013136
St. Joseph229470
Hamilton1800101
Cass16559
Hendricks1496102
Johnson1379118
Vanderburgh9056
Porter87338
Tippecanoe80210
Clark73644
Madison69364
LaPorte64828
Howard62158
Bartholomew61245
Marshall60112
Kosciusko5984
Noble53028
Boone50144
LaGrange49110
Delaware48752
Jackson4853
Hancock47636
Shelby46425
Floyd43544
Monroe38528
Dubois3657
Grant34726
Morgan34731
Henry30718
Montgomery29920
Clinton2953
Dearborn28924
Warrick28529
White28310
Vigo2658
Decatur25732
Lawrence25425
Harrison22122
Greene20033
Miami2002
Jennings18112
Putnam1798
DeKalb1714
Scott1679
Wayne1676
Perry16411
Daviess15517
Jasper1422
Steuben1413
Orange14023
Gibson1382
Ripley1377
Franklin1328
Wabash1233
Starke1183
Carroll1152
Whitley1116
Fayette1097
Newton10110
Jefferson982
Huntington942
Wells851
Fulton811
Randolph814
Knox770
Posey750
Jay720
Washington701
Clay675
Pulaski661
Rush653
Spencer641
Sullivan581
Owen541
Adams521
Benton510
Brown461
Blackford412
Fountain382
Crawford350
Tipton351
Switzerland310
Martin280
Parke280
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Union170
Pike160
Warren161
Unassigned0193