DOJ watchdog says Comey ‘deviated’ from FBI procedures in Clinton probe: report
Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) procedures in handling the probe examining Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, according to the highly anticipated DOJ inspector general report expected to be released in full on Thursday.
The report conducted by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz says the former FBI chief was not motivated by political bias, according to the report’s conclusions, which were obtained by Bloomberg News.
“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,” Horowitz’s report conclusions reads, according to Bloomberg.
The specifics of how and when Comey reportedly departed from FBI procedures are not yet fully clear.
Comey’s decisions during the 2016 presidential race, however, have been met with fierce criticism from both Democrats and Republicans alike.
The former FBI chief has come under fire for publicly announcing, just days before the election concluded, that the bureau was examining new information related to its probe into Clinton’s handling of classified materials while she was secretary of State.
Clinton and her aides have argued that Comey’s decision, given its timing, contributed to her loss in the presidential race.
Democrats also hammered Comey after it became known that while he was speaking publicly about the Clinton probe, he was staying silent about the counterintelligence investigation examining possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in the election.
Conservatives have also gone after Comey, accusing him of trying to shield Clinton from prosecution. GOP lawmakers have seized on Comey’s decision to label Clinton’s handling of her emails “extremely careless” and not the potentially criminal “grossly negligent.”
While Horowitz’s report examines the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Clinton email probe, Trump may try to weaponize any findings of misconduct and wrongdoing as proof of bias against him within the top tiers of the federal government.
Trump, who fired Comey in May 2017, has repeatedly criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton email probe.
“After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters — worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness,” Trump tweeted in December.