Watchdog sees errors, not bias, in FBI's probe of Clinton emails

Watchdog sees errors, not bias, in FBI's probe of Clinton emails

"[Comey] gave his people too long of a leash knowing or he should have known that they had political animus in favor of Mrs. Clinton or against Donald Trump", Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said during an interview on "The Intel Report".

"The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation", the inspector general, Michael Horowitz, said in the report.

The report underscores efforts by senior FBI and Justice Department leaders in the final stages of the presidential race to juggle developments in the Clinton investigation - she had used private email for some government business while secretary of state - with a separate probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation that was diverting FBI resources and attention.

Comey was also criticized for not contacting Lynch or then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates directly about sending a letter to Congress on October 28, 2016, regarding the decision to reopen the investigation because of newly-discovered emails.

Bloomberg earlier reported, citing a copy of the US Justice Department's watchdog that former FBI Director James Comey had deviated from the bureau's norms, however, he wasn't motivated by political bias. The report acknowledged that certain emails appeared to contain classified information, but investigators determined the FBI's conclusion that Clinton did not intend to expose classified information was legitimate.

"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", she adds.

Strzok's and Page's names first made headlines a year ago, when it emerged that they exchanged several text messages that demonstrated pro-Clinton and anti-Trump political views. 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. "And I could be wrong, but we honestly made a decision between those two choices that even in hindsight - and this has been one of the world's most painful experiences - I would make the same decision".

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Comey announced the Clinton investigation was being re-opened just days before the general election. "We'll stop it", Strzok replied.

Uh huh. And what about Comey's decision not to accuse Clinton of "gross negligence"?

People familiar with the report's findings say the inspector general has reached unflattering conclusions for many Federal Bureau of Investigation officials.

In tweets, Trump has called Comey's investigation into Clinton "phony and dishonest" and said that Comey, who he fired on May 9, 2017, left the FBI's reputation in tatters.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was "alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General's finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI" in the Clinton probe.

As time has passed, Lynch has said she regretted the encounter, but she never formally recused herself from the investigation - instead saying she would accept the recommendations of career Justice Department staff and the FBI.

"That decision is not permanent and can be reversed", said Napolitano.

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