Political Editors / June 20, 2018

Republicans Blast FBI Bias Exposed in the IG Report

Graham and Gowdy slam Comey and the FBI for poorly handling the Clinton investigation.

Over the last two days, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz have sat before both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight Committee to face questions on the findings of the recently released IG report over the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The bombshell revelation from that report was that “senior FBI employees [were] willing to take official action to impact a presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”

On Monday, in what may have been one of the most pointed exchanges during the Senate hearing, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) countered Horowitz’s conclusion that he found no bias in the FBI’s eventual conclusion with its Clinton investigation. Graham stated, “I’m not buying that the Clinton investigation was on the up and up, and the reason I am not buying it is because the two people intimately involved, one, the lead investigator, clearly did not want to see Donald Trump become president of the United State.” He was referring to Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Graham later noted that between former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Strzok “someone is lying” about McCabe’s presence in a particular meeting. Horowitz effectively agreed.

Tuesday, it was the House’s turn, and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) didn’t hold back. Gowdy specifically focused on the IG report’s findings on the behavior and decisions made by former FBI Director James Comey. “We see Jim Comey and Jim Comey alone deciding which DOJ polices to follow and which to ignore,” Gowdy noted. “He appointed himself FBI director, attorney general, special counsel, lead investigator and the general arbiter of what is good and right in the world according to him.” Gowdy then pointed out the obviously biased actions taken by members of the FBI who conducted the Clinton email investigation, stating, “These exact same FBI agents and attorney prejudged the outcome of the Russia investigation before. Prejudging the outcome of an investigation before it ends, and prejudging the outcome of an investigation before it begins,” Gowdy insisted, is the “textbook definition of bias.”

Here are more of Gowdy’s statements:

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 report confirms investigative decisions made by the FBI during the pendency of this investigation were unprecedented and deviated from traditional investigative procedures in favor of a much more permissive and voluntary approach. This is not the way normal investigations are run.

The investigation was mishandled. The investigatory conclusions were reached before the end of the witness interviews. The July 5th press conference marked a serious violation of policy and process. And the letters to Congress in the fall of 2016 were both delayed in substance and unnecessary in form.

Moreover, the treatment afforded to former Secretary Clinton and other potential subjects and targets was starkly different from the FBI’s investigation into Trump campaign officials. Voluntariness and consent in the former were replaced with search warrants, subpoenas, and other compulsory processes in the latter. Many of the investigators and supervisors were the same in both investigations but the investigatory tactics were not.

Former Director Comey violated Department policy in several significant ways. The FBI’s actions and those of former Director Comey severely damaged the credibility of the investigation, the public’s ability to rely on the results of the investigation, and the very institutions he claims to revere.

The report also conclusively shows an alarming and destructive level of animus 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.

The law enforcement community has no greater ally in Congress than me. But continued revelations of questionable decision making by FBI and DOJ leadership destroys confidence in the impartiality of the institutions I have long served, respected, and believed in.

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.

It is now urgently incumbent on Attorney General Sessions and Director Wray to take decisive action to restore Americans’ confidence in our justice system.

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