Far from the bombshell report supporting Trump’s “deep state” conspiracy theory that election was “rigged” in favor of Clinton, the Department of Justice Inspector General’s highly anticipated report found just the opposite. Namely, the DOJ IG found no evidence of bias in FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. However, the DOJ IG faulted Comey for being “insubordinate” for his actions that hurt then-candidate, Hillary Clinton, while faulting others for exchanging anti-Trump messages.
To understand the DOJ IG’s findings, it is important to consider the unprecedented situation that BOTH candidates for president were under federal investigation during the campaign, clearly placing the FBI and DOJ in unchartered territory.
The most important conclusion by DOJ IG Michael Horowitz, who is widely viewed as an impartial investigator by members of both parties, was what was NOT found, namely, NOTHING was found to support unfounded claims by Donald Trump and his cronies that the election was “rigged” in favor of Clinton. In fact, the DOJ IG found the opposite: that former FBI director, James Comey, was “insubordinate” for some of his actions that hurt then-candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Specifically, the DOJ IG found “no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations,” regarding the Clinton email case. Moreover, the DOJ IG added that the FBI and DOJ acted appropriately in the decision not to prosecute Clinton for her use of a personal email account, based on the “facts, the law, and past department practice.”
In parallel, the DOJ IG faulted Comey for what was deemed “insubordinate” behavior that seriously damaged Clinton’s campaign, including withholding his plans for his July 2016 news conference from his DOJ superiors, as well as his highly controversial October 2016 letter to Congress revealing that the Clinton investigation had been reopened.
In addition, the DOJ IG criticized the FBI’s slow handling of its investigation of the additional emails found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, the then-husband of Clinton aide, Huma Abedin. Specifically, the DOJ IG faulted the FBI’s field office in New York, along with other, more senior officials, especially former FBI counterintelligence chief, Peter Strzok, for delaying their investigation, saying that they had ample evidence by September 29 to justify searching Weiner’s laptop, yet delayed acting until after Comey’s October 28 letter to Congress. However, we now know that the FBI’s NY field office already had leaked the information about Weiner’s laptop to a far-right website by the time of Comey’s letter. Comey has justified his October 2016 letter that inflicted serious damage on Clinton in the waning days of the campaign by citing his fears that the impending Clinton email story would have damaged the FBI’s credibility by raising suspicions that the FBI was concealing evidence to help Clinton, along with his incorrect assumption that Clinton was going to win the election.
Many Americans, myself included, were extremely disturbed when news of Comey’s letter broke in late October 2016. Although I now have better insights into why Comey released his letter, I still believe that it was mistake for him to do so. However, I also realize that if he had not released his letter, the right-wing website would have published their story, which likely would have wreaked similar, if not worse, damage to Clinton’s campaign. In addition, Stzrok’s unacceptable delay in searching Weiner’s laptop for nearly the entire month of October clearly helped to maximize the damage inflicted upon Clinton, by delaying the timing of the story to the final stretch of the campaign.
In addition, the DOJ IG cited Peter Stzrok and FBI lawyer, Lisa Page for sharing anti-Trump communications in August 2016:
- Page: Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
- Stzrok: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
Notably, the DOJ IG found no evidence that their political views affected any investigative decisions.
It’s important to view these messages in the context that both Stzrok and Page were involved with the TrumpRussia counterintelligence investigation. What if both Stzrok and Page knew of damning evidence showing a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia when they wrote their messages in August 2016? What if they both believed then that Trump was an agent of Russia and/or China, as he has demonstrated repeatedly during his time in the White House? Such knowledge might explain their strong concerns about a potential Trump presidency.
What if both Stzrok and Page knew of damning evidence showing a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia when they wrote their messages in August 2016?
Nonetheless, it was inappropriate for Stzrok and Page to share such political sentiments with one another, given their involvement with the TrumpRussia probe. In addition, Stzrok and Page allegedly were involved in an intimate relationship, further complicating an already unprecedentedly complex situation.
Although Trump, Devin Nunes, and cronies will work hard to twist the DOJ IG’s report in an attempt to discredit Comey and anyone or anything related to the TrumpRussia investigation, the reality is that the report blows up Team Trump’s seditious conspiracy theory that the “deep state” “rigged” the election for Trump.