DOJ Watchdog's Clinton Report Expected to Reignite Battle Over FBI Probes

Cheryl Sanders
June 14, 2018

A highly anticipated report on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation will be released Thursday by the Justice Department.

Though the inspector general condemned individual FBI officials, the report fell significantly short in supporting the assertion by the president and his allies that the investigation was rigged in favor of Clinton, according to a person familiar with its content, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share findings before the report's formal release.

President Donald Trump is looking to the report to provide a fresh line of attack against two former top FBI officials, director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, as he claims that a politically tainted bureau tried to undermine his campaign and, through the later Russian Federation investigation, his presidency.

Several top Justice Department and FBI officials are expected to come under scrutiny in the report, including Comey, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and FBI official Peter Strzok. As a candidate, Mr. Trump was fixated on the 30,000 personal emails that Clinton deleted from her tenure as secretary of state, saying that Clinton should have been prosecuted for her "illegally deleted emails".

Perez told CNN host Wolf Blitzer that the report does not support criminal charges for either Comey or Clinton. Strzok and Page, who were having an affair with one another, exchanged a series of barbed anti-Trump text messages and emails.

But the report said there was no evidence that the election was "rigged" in Clinton's favor, as the president has repeatedly charged, the paper reported.

The president again denounced the investigation into his campaign in a Thursday morning tweet.

Horowitz found a "troubling lack of any direct, substantive communication" between Comey and Attorney General Lynch ahead of the July 5 press conference and Comey's October 28 letter to Congress.

A Justice Department spokesman confirmed Thursday that the report will include discussion of additional text messages between Strzok and Page. But the practical effect of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's findings will likely now pour lighter fluid on an already heated debate about the actions and motivations of law enforcement that has continued to simmer throughout the Trump administration. An open question is whether McCabe should have recused himself from the investigation earlier.

Of particular interest is Comey's announcement two weeks before the 2016 election that the agency was reopening the Clinton email probe after stumbling upon the new material.

The document says the Republicans on the committee have "substantial questions about whether DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation properly analyzed and interpreted the law surrounding mishandling of classified information".

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