The DoJ IG Report: Comey and His Corrupt Clinton Cronies
Washington Post: "The report is a blistering rebuke of Comey."
The first of the Trump Trilogies was released by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz this week — to be followed by another DoJ IG report on the Clinton-funded collusion claim and finally Robert Mueller’s report about the false Russia collusion claims scripted by Hillary Clinton, with Barack Obama’s assist, in order to set up and take down Donald Trump.
IG Horowitz, an Obama appointee, released his final report on the investigation of Clinton’s effort to unlawfully conceal her official communications from the public record when she was secretary of state. (You can read the executive summary and full report if you have a lot of spare time on your hands.)
Clinton undertook what then-FBI Director James Comey described as a “grossly negligent” communication subterfuge to protect her 2016 presidential aspirations from any scrutiny regarding the incriminating context of those official communications. Ultimately, her insecure closet email server and its classified contents were hacked by foreign entities.
Clinton violated federal records laws, as she and her key personnel transmitted classified information through unclassified channels and, when caught, destroyed evidence, including taking hammers to cell phones and erasing computer hard drives. Comey helped by agreeing to destroy laptops of former Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and ex-campaign staffer Heather Samuelson once their interviews were complete.
All the while, Obama was receiving detailed updates of the Clinton probe and undoubtedly providing her some helpful “feedback.” Recall that in 2014, 47 of the nation’s 73 inspectors general signed a letter of complaint accusing Obama of stonewalling their mission “to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”
For context, the origins of the Trump investigation are rooted in an endeavor to entrap him. That corrupt effort was orchestrated by Obama’s CIA director, John Brennan, and Obama’s FBI director, James Comey (and his high-ranking co-conspirators), in collaboration with their candidate, Hillary Clinton, and her corrupt campaign. This cadre of Obama’s deep-state operatives has endeavored to frame Trump for “colluding with Russia” to throw the 2016 election, or to at least create the false impression that his election was illegitimate.
Beyond Clinton’s effort to conceal her communications, the IG’s report noted: “Witnesses told us, and contemporaneous emails show, that the FBI and Department officials who attended Clinton’s interview found that her claim that she did not understand the significance of the ‘©’ marking (designating classified content) strained credulity. Agent 1 stated, ‘I filed that in the bucket of hard to impossible to believe.’ Agent 1 further stated that he and the other interviewers asked Clinton about her understanding of the ‘©’ markings four or five times, but she did not change her answer. He told us, ‘I also don’t know at that point in the interview what else we could have done besides all the different ways that we asked it’.”
So, either Clinton was inept or indifferent about such communications, or both.
To that point, there was this reference between two FBI personnel regarding Clinton’s mishandling of classified information at their Chappaqua residence.
When questioned about how his interviewing with a witness turned out, an FBI agent responded: “Awesome. Lied his ass off. Went from never inside the scif [sensitive compartmented information facility] at res, to looked in when it was being constructed, to removed the trash twice, to troubleshot the secure fax with HRC a couple times, to everytime there was a secure fax i did it with HRC. Ridic.” When asked whether there would be consequences for this individual, the agent responded, “Ain’t noone gonna do shit.”
Next, what did Horowitz conclude about Comey’s handling the investigation of Clinton’s concealed communications?
According to The Washington Post, “The report is a blistering rebuke of Comey, who has spent recent months on a book tour promoting his brand of ethical leadership.”
The report derides Comey for “deviating from procedure” in the Clinton email investigation, straying “dramatically from FBI and department norms,” making “serious errors of judgment” and being “insubordinate” to his superiors. It chides his decision to close, reopen and close again the Clinton investigation.
The IG notes a “troubling lack of any direct, substantive communication” between Comey and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whose own pro-Clinton bias became apparent after her secret meeting with Bill Clinton was exposed. Notably, that exposure positioned Comey to take direct control of the Clinton investigation and the effort to stump Trump.
As I wrote in “Comey’s Layup for Clinton,” when he announced his re-opening of the Clinton investigation just before the election, but after absentee balloting was completed, he did so in order to reaffirm his clearance of any wrongdoing by Clinton, which was, by design, to encourage Clinton’s voter constituency.
But the timing of that controversial second review was not Comey’s choice, as he was content that he had already exonerated Clinton.
In September 2016, in an unrelated investigation involving disgraced former New York Demo Rep. Anthony Weiner, federal investigators discovered almost 300,000 of Clinton’s off-grid emails and BlackBerry messages on his laptop – stashed there by her most senior aide, Huma Abedin, Weiner’s spouse. That is 10 times the number of communications Clinton turned over for FBI review. Realizing what they had, the investigators reported their finding to the FBI, but there was no action on the discovery until repeated complaints by agents in the New York office.
The FBI case agent assigned to the Weiner investigation told the IG: “I’m a little scared here. I don’t know what to do because I’m not political. Like I don’t care who wins this election, but this is going to make us look really, really horrible. And it could ruin this case, too. And…I said the thing that also bothers me is that Comey’s testimony is inaccurate.”
That rat you smell is called “obstruction of justice,” both by Clinton and Abedin, and the senior FBI personnel who were stonewalling any review of the rest of newly-discovered communications – including Comey. He claims to have heard about the additional discovery, but did not know that Abedin was vice chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. He must have been the only person in the Western Hemisphere who, in light of the high profile investigation of Weiner, did not make this connection.
Comey’s claim of ignorance is either a bald-faced lie, or an indication of profound ineptitude. Comey is a lot of things, but he is not inept.
Further, according to the report, “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.”
Really? No “political bias”? Actually, the report is full of instances of pervasive deep-state bias by a handful of FBI officials controlling the Clinton investigation, but no “smoking gun” was discovered, where somebody is on record declaring, “I am going to take these specific actions to support Clinton and sabotage Trump’s campaign.” These FBI managers were much to clever for that.
Recall, however, that Comey himself, in his congressional testimony, made clear his political bias toward Clinton. According to Comey: “My wife and girls marched in the Women’s March the day after Trump’s inauguration. My four daughters, probably all five of my kids, wanted Hillary Clinton to be president. I know my amazing spouse did.”
And he also revealed that he lied about leaking the fake Trump dossier to the media to set the Trump/Russia collusion trap. “Look, it’s true. … I gave an unclassified memo to my friend and asked him to give it to a reporter. That is entirely appropriate.” Only in Comey’s deluded mind was that “entirely appropriate.”
As for the conclusion that Comey’s “decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” that is a candidate for understatement of the year!
Notably, Donald Trump cited Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation as a primary reason he fired Comey. That is now looking more credible than ever.
In his response to the IG report, current FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Let’s be clear on the scope of this report. It’s focused on a specific set of events back in 2016, and a small number of FBI employees connected with those events. Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.”
On this point, he is correct.
However, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, responding to Wray, declared, “The consequences are that your fellow citizens question whether or not they can have confidence in the world’s premier law enforcement agency, and that’s coming from someone who has defended them a lot throughout his career. This was a bitterly disappointing report.”
Unfortunately, rank-and-file FBI line agents and investigators, the vast majority of whom honorably abide by their oaths “to support and defend” our Constitution, now have the corrupt mud of Comey and a few of his key investigators dumped on their integrity. And an interesting note in the report — most of the agents interviewed in the IG investigation believed they would have been prosecuted for the actions of their superiors.
For his part regarding the clearing of Clinton twice ahead of the election, Comey told IG investigators, “I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled ‘speak’ and the other was labeled ‘conceal.’” But Horowitz skewered Comey, insisting that was a “false dichotomy,” noting, “The two doors were actually labeled ‘follow policy/practice’ and ‘depart from policy/practice.’”
Comey responded to the report in his now apparent chemically induced calm: “I do not agree with all of the inspector general’s conclusions, but I respect the work of his office and salute its professionalism.” Not a hint of any apology or admission of wrongdoing on his part — which might hurt his book sales.
So what did we learn from Horowitz about the bias of Comey’s top investigators?
According to the report, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed. [But] the conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation. … The suggestion in certain Russia-related text messages in August 2016 that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact presidential candidate Trump’s electoral prospects caused us to question the earlier Midyear investigative decisions in which Strzok was involved, and whether he took specific actions in the Midyear investigation based on his political views.”
This is a reference to the common denominator in the Clinton email and Trump dossier investigations, Peter Strzok. He was Comey’s lead investigator in the Clinton email investigation and helped Comey write up his exoneration of Clinton before her softball FBI interview. The original draft noted that “classified information was compromised by unauthorized individuals to include foreign governments or intelligence services via cyber intrusion,” but Strzok and Comey removed that condemnation from their report.
After Trump’s surprise election, Strzok was then positioned by Comey as a top investigator for Robert Mueller’s investigation — until his abject bias was discovered and he was removed.
Both Strzok and his workplace dalliance, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, reported to corrupt former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Recall that McCabe’s wife, an aspiring Virginia state senator, received $675,288 from two Democrat PACs – one controlled by longtime Clinton friend and then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and the other heavily influenced by him. (Coincidentally, this money began flowing to McCabe’s wife shortly after the FBI began its investigation of Clinton.)
The report notes, “When one senior FBI official, [Peter] Strzok, who was helping to lead the Russia investigation at the time, conveys in a text message to another senior FBI official, [Lisa] Page, that ‘we’ll stop’ candidate Trump from being elected — after other extensive text messages between the two disparaging candidate Trump — it 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. This is antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
What did Strzok do that the IG found so egregious?
As WaPo summarized it, “Some senior bureau officials, the report found, exhibited a disturbing ‘willingness to take official action’ to hurt Trump’s chances to become president.”
In August 2016, Strzok assured Page, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in [McCabe’s] office — that there’s no way [Trump] gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…”
In previously redacted messages between Strzok and Page, Page wrote, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok responded, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
Again, “It’s like an insurance policy…” and “We’ll stop it.”
National Review’s David French inquires, “Is there a remotely good explanation as to why the ‘We’ll stop it’ text was apparently withheld from congressional investigators? What is the conceivable excuse that the IG had it but Congress didn’t?”
According to the report: “When asked about this text message, Strzok stated that he did not specifically recall sending it, but that he believed that it was intended to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation. Strzok told the OIG that he did not take any steps to try to affect the outcome of the presidential election, in either the Midyear investigation or the Russia investigation. Strzok stated that had he — or the FBI in general — actually wanted to prevent Trump from being elected, they would not have maintained the confidentiality of the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign in the months before the election.”
The IG concludes, “Our review did not find evidence to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed.” But as noted above, there is no smoking gun here ( just an avalanche of circumstantial evidence) because Comey, McCabe and Strzok were smart enough to avoid any communication trail that would be self-incrimination.
The prevailing assumption was that Clinton would be the victor. In fact, in July of 2016, some of the FBI interviewers refer to Clinton as “The President.” And there were other FBI communications in the report demonstrating the view investigators had of Trump voters: “Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm.”
Once Trump was elected, Comey did leak his memos on the investigation to the press, and by his own admission he did so in order to hamstring Trump’s presidency with a special counsel. Comey testified, “I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. … I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
Worked like a charm!
In Gowdy’s reply to the IG report, he wrote: “I am alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General’s finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI in investigating potential Espionage Act violations by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This is not the FBI I know. This is not the FBI our country needs. This is not the FBI citizens and suspects alike deserve.”
Gowdy concluded: “The report also conclusively shows an alarming and destructive level of animus [against Donald Trump] displayed by top officials at the FBI. Peter Strzok’s manifest bias trending toward animus casts a pall on this investigation. Bias is so pernicious and malignant as to both taint the process, the result, and the ability to have confidence in either. His bias was so persuasive and toxic as to call into question any other investigations he was part of, including his role in the investigation of what Russia did in 2016. His bias impacted his decision-making and he assigned to himself the role of stopping the Trump campaign or ending a Trump Presidency.”
“Alarming and destructive,” indeed.