Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Comey broke from Federal Bureau of Investigation procedures in Clinton probe, watchdog finds

Comey broke from Federal Bureau of Investigation procedures in Clinton probe, watchdog finds

Horowitz's report said that the "review did not find evidence to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed; rather, consistent with the analytic approach described above, we found that these specific decisions were the result of discretionary judgments made during the course of an investigation by the [Clinton investigation] agents and prosecutors and that these judgment calls were not unreasonable".

Strzok tried to explain to investigators that his message to Page "was meant to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation".

The committees" memo also says it appears the outcome of the investigation was "predetermined' in May, two months before Comey's press conference and before multiple interviews had taken place. Only the attorney general has the authority to decline or move forward with the prosecution of alleged criminality.

In a column Comey published in the New York Times just after the report's release, Comey said he did not agree with all of the conclusions but praised its "professionalism".

The president is likely to applaud the report as evidence that he was right to fire Comey.

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The DOJ watchdog also concluded that Comey was out of line in informing the public about an investigation into Clinton at any point in time, since it is FBI policy not to disclose anything about an investigation that may or may not be taking place.

A document listing preliminary conclusions was obtained by The Associated Press ahead of a separate report from the Justice Department's internal watchdog. "Second, while Special Agent Strzok openly admitted that he believed that the Russian Federation investigation was far more important to American national security than the Clinton email investigation, this conclusion is evidence of Special Agent Strzok's lucidity, not his bias".

Nevertheless, the inspector general found that Peter Strzok, the senior Federal Bureau of Investigation agent managing the Clinton email case, also "used his personal email accounts for official government business on several occasions". "Some of these text messages and instant messages mixed political commentary with discussions about the Midyear investigation and raised concerns that political bias may have impacted investigative decisions", the inspector general said.

"But her emails" became a meme after the election, meant to summarize the complete farce that was the media's obsession with Clinton's emails in the fact of wildly more egregious, damning, scandalous, and appalling behavior from then-candidate Donald Trump.

The Republicans allege bias against Donald Trump in his campaign against Clinton.

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The FBI has said that McCabe received ethics approvals and did not oversee the Clinton investigation at the time of the contributions.

Comey told the Inspector General he assumed Clinton would win and did not want her presidency to seem "illegitimate".

Former Director Comey was admonished for his decision to step outside the Justice Department chain of command, publicly announcing his conclusions in the Clinton investigation, and then notifying Congress in October 2016 that Clinton was once again under investigation.

"First, the inspector general's team went through the F.B.I.'s work with a microscope and found no evidence that bias or improper motivation affected the investigation, which I know was done competently, honestly and independently", Comey wrote.

But Horowitz emphasized that Comey was more knuckleheaded than malicious.

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Lavinsky noted that Justice Department officials had similarly briefed the Obama White House in 2012 upon completion of its report on the scandal involving the gunrunning project known as Operation Fast and Furious.

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