Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2018
Top FBI officials regularly broke Justice Department rules during the 2016 presidential election, the department’s inspector general said Thursday, calling fired Director James B. Comey “insubordinate,” saying his deputy violated his recusal from the Clinton investigation, and a top agent’s political bias might have skewed the bureau’s decisions in the run-up to Election Day.
That agent, Peter Strzok, at one point sent a message to paramour and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, in August 2016 vowing to “stop” then-candidate Donald Trump from winning the White House.
Mr. Page wanted reassurance that Mr. Trump wouldn’t win the election. Mr. Strzok replied: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
The text, recovered just last month, was among the explosive details of a 500-page report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
It concluded that Mr. Comey repeatedly broke Justice Department rules, that his deputy, Andrew McCabe, violated his vow to recuse himself from the Clinton investigation, that a top Justice Department lawyer shared sensitive information with the Clinton campaign, and that the FBI is plagued by a culture of leaks.
While the report concludes that bias didn’t affect Mr. Comey’s decisions on handling the Clinton investigation, it does say he repeatedly appeared to be free-lancing for his own purposes of protecting the FBI — and it left him insubordinate.
“In key moments, then-Director Comey chose to deviate from the FBI’s and the department’s established procedures and norms and instead engaged in his own subjective, ad hoc decision making. In so doing, we found that Comey largely based his decisions on what he believed was in the FBI’s institutional interests,” the report said.
“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” the investigation found.
Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last year, citing some of the same issues raised in the report.
The inspector general did not second-guess the FBI and Justice Department decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for her email practices, saying those are prosecutorial decisions.