The Russia Investigations: What The Justice IG Report Revealed

Gladys Abbott
June 18, 2018

It's just one of several examples of Trump way overplaying his hand on the Justice Department watchdog report released Thursday on how the FBI mishandled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The IG report has its origins in the tumultuous days after the 2016 presidential election, when politicians and Justice Department veterans of all stripes cried foul at the FBI's public statements about its investigation of Clinton's email practices.

"Under these circumstances, we did not have confidence that Strzok's decision to prioritize the Russian Federation investigation over following up on the [Hillary Clinton]-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias", the report concludes on page 329. Mueller removed Strzok from his team a year ago after an internal investigation uncovered the texts. By chalking up the entire situation to carelessness, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had preemptively pardoned Hillary and her campaign of any criminal wrongdoing.

Trump allies seized upon text messages between agents, pointing to one from August 2016 that said "We'll stop it" with regard to a potential Trump victory and another from a bureau lawyer that said "Viva le resistance". "No he's not. We'll stop it".

When the Justice Department's internal watchdog dropped a report on the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation last week, we learned Comey wasn't merely incompetent, nor was he a victim of some impossibly prickly situation thrust upon him by history.

The report also criticizes Comey for not keeping then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other Justice Department superiors properly informed about his handling of the investigation.

Sessions praised FBI Director Christopher Wray for his handling of the fallout from the report, saying he was "real proud" of Wray for his remarks Thursday. In October 2016, less than two weeks before election day, Comey sent members of Congress a letter disclosing that a probe into Clinton's e-mails was being reopened after new e-mails were found.

"I take this report very seriously and we accept its findings and recommendations", Wray said.

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During an interview with Fox News Channel at the White House Friday morning, Trump said "the end result was wrong" and there was "total bias".

The Inspector General also examined whether FBI employees leaked information about investigations of the Clinton Foundation charitable organization and emails in a bid to help Trump's campaign.

Comey angered Trump when, after his firing, he handed over memos documenting his interactions with the president to a friend and asked him to share them with the media in the hope that they would lead to the appointment of a special counsel to lead an investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged dealings with Russian Federation, which ultimately happened with the appointment of Robert S. Mueller in 2017.

United States president Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

In other words, if the IG report faults Comey, Lynch or others, it is not expected to second-guess their decisions not to press criminal charges against Clinton.

The Russia investigation began in July 2016, according to Comey, and is now being overseen by Mueller. And its existence was a dominate thread of the 2016 presidential campaign.

But in a twist that might have come straight out of the laptop of a Hollywood screenwriter, Page and Strzok's correspondence has arguably wound up giving a huge political boost to Trump. Still, he said he was not surprised by the inspector general's conclusion that Comey's actions weren't motivated by political bias.

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