Watchdog sees errors in Comey’s Clinton probe
In a stinging report, the Justice Department watchdog said Thursday that former FBI Director James Comey was “insubordinate’’ in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the 2016 presidential election. But it also concluded there was no evidence that Comey was motivated by political bias.
President Donald Trump has looked to the hotly anticipated report to provide a fresh line of attack against Comey and the FBI as he claims that a politically tainted bureau tried to undermine his campaign and — through the later Russia investigation — his presidency.
Clinton and her supporters, on the other hand, have complained that Comey’s later announcement, shortly before the election, that the investigation was being reopened badly hurt her chances to defeat her Republican rival.
But the nuanced findings provide no conclusions to support either Republicans or Democrats who want to claim total vindication.
The inspector general’s report concluded that Comey, who announced in the summer of 2016 that Clinton would not be charged with any crime in the email probe, departed from normal Justice Department protocol numerous times.
But it also says, “We found no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations; rather, we determined that they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law and past department practice.’’