Watch­dog slams Comey’s ac­tions

‘IN­SUB­OR­DI­NATE’ Re­port finds no bias in de­ci­sion to clear Clin­ton

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - WORLD - Devlin Bar­rett, Karoun demirjian, John Wag­ner and matt Zapo­to­sky

WASH­ING­TON • The jus­tice Depart­ment in­spec­tor gen­eral has cas­ti­gated for­mer FBI Direc­tor James Comey for his ac­tions dur­ing the Hil­lary Clin­ton email in­ves­ti­ga­tion and found that other se­nior bureau of­fi­cials showed a “will­ing­ness to take of­fi­cial ac­tion” to pre­vent Don­ald Trump from be­com­ing pres­i­dent.

The 500-page re­port cited nu­mer­ous in­stances of un­pro­fes­sion­al­ism, bias and mis­judg­ment that hurt the bureau’s cred­i­bil­ity. In par­tic­u­lar, the re­port sin­gled out lead agent Peter Str­zok as show­ing anti-trump bias that could have af­fected his think­ing on the case dur­ing the run up to the 2016 elec­tion.

The re­port is a blis­ter­ing re­buke of Comey, who has spent re­cent months on a book tour pro­mot­ing his brand of eth­i­cal lead­er­ship. In­spec­tor gen­eral Michael Horowitz ac­cused Comey of in­sub­or­di­na­tion, say­ing he flouted Jus­tice Depart­ment prac­tices when he de­cided only he had the au­thor­ity and cred­i­bil­ity to make key de­ci­sions and speak for the Jus­tice Depart­ment.

Horowitz called Comey’s July 2016 pub­lic an­nounce­ment that Clin­ton not be charged an “ex­tra­or­di­nary and in­sub­or­di­nate” move, be­cause Comey did not even tell then-at­tor­ney Gen­eral Loretta Lynch what he was about to do.

Comey also made a “se­ri­ous er­ror of judg­ment” in send­ing a let­ter to Con­gress on Oct. 28 an­nounc­ing he was re­open­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Clin­ton’s use of the server while sec­re­tary of state, the re­port found, and called it “ex­tra­or­di­nary that Comey as­sessed that it was best” for him not to speak di­rectly with either the at­tor­ney gen­eral or the deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral about his de­ci­sion be­fore­hand. Horowitz con­cluded there was no ev­i­dence that po­lit­i­cal bias in­fected Comey’s think­ing.

Per­haps the most dam­ag­ing new rev­e­la­tion in the re­port is a pre­vi­ously-un­re­ported text mes­sage in which Str­zok, a key in­ves­ti­ga­tor on both the Clin­ton email case and the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign, as­sured an FBI lawyer in Au­gust 2016 that “we’ll stop” Trump from mak­ing it to the White House.

The in­spec­tor gen­eral con­cluded that Str­zok’s text, along with oth­ers dis­parag­ing Trump, “is not only in­dica­tive of a bi­ased state of mind but, even more se­ri­ously, im­plies a will­ing­ness to take of­fi­cial ac­tion to im­pact the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date’s elec­toral prospects.”

In a mes­sage posted to Twit­ter on Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Comey wrote: “I re­spect the DOJ IG of­fice, which is why I urged them to do this re­view. The con­clu­sions are rea­son­able, even though I dis­agree with some.”

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