Former FBI Director James Comey was blasted by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office for his actions during the bureau’s ‘midyear’ investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business and the investigation found evidence that other members of the FBI deliberately took official action in an attempt to keep President Donald Trump from holding elected office.
Horowitz’s 500 page report, a summary of which was obtained by this reporter and other news outlets, also gave extensive and in-depth details of the dis-function within the bureau and Department of Justice from the beginning of the investigation in July, 2015 until Comey ended the probe into Clinton during the summer of 2016.
One of the most damming pieces of evidence was a never before seen text message from embattled FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok to his paramour former FBI Attorney Lisa Page where he suggests that he will not allow Trump to become president.
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it…”
In the Aug. 8, 2016 text message Page questions whether Trump will become president saying, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok responds, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
The Inspector General did not have “confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up” on new evidence in the Clinton case “was free from bias.” Strzok was assigned to the Midyear investigation, a reference to Clinton’s use of a private server, in August 2015. He was also “responsible for supervising the investigation on a daily basis,” according to the report. Page “was named counsel to then Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in February 2016, and served as his liaison to the Midyear investigative team from February 2016 forward,” according to Horrowitz.
Both Page and Strzok were also involved in the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election and in July, 2016, Strzok was assigned to lead the Russia investigation, according to Horowitz.
The report also chided former Attorney General Loretta Lynch for her meeting with Bill Clinton on the Tarmac at the Phoenix Airport on June. 27, 2016 Lynch could have recused herself from the investigation because of the appearance of impropriety, but chose not to, he added. She also failed to assert herself against Comey’s decision to announce the end of the investigation in July, 2016, the report added.
A recently retired FBI agent, who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity due to the current nature of their work, said “when Comey made his announcement four days after Lynch essentially recused herself from the investigation – following the tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton – he broke from 108 years of FBI protocols and regulations.”
“The FBI does not have the power to charge individuals or organizations with crimes,” the former FBI official stated. “FBI agents investigate potiential or suspected crimes and then provide checkable, proof based facts to DOJ prosecutors to allow the DOJ to make the decision to charge an individual based on the premise that they violated the law. The FBI cannot lawfully make that determination, even if the FBI Agent, in this case Comey, was previously a DOJ prosecutor. If any other FBI Agent has done what Comey did and not refer the case to DOJ to make a decision, that agent would be fired from their job and likely be charged with obstruction of justice.”
In Horowitz’s report he stated that Strzok’s texts and actions are “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.”
The investigation “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations,” the inspector general wrote.
Strzok tried to explain to investigators that his message to Page “was intended to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation.”
Page tried to defend her messages by stating to investigators that she’s “an American. We have the First Amendment. I’m entitled to an opinion.”
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – who has lawyered up after being fired by the DOJ and is facing criminal prosecution for lying under oath to Horowitz’s investigators about leaking information to the Wall Street Journal – was also chided in the report for not recusing himself until November, 1, 2016 from the Clinton investigation after it was revealed that roughly $700,000 had been donated to his wife’s unsuccessful run for Virginia State Senate by former governor Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally.
Five officials were identified in the report, which had some connection to the email probe whose political bias was a “discredit to themselves, sowed doubt about the FBI’s handling of the midyear investigation, and impacted the reputation of the FBI.”