Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from the agency and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proper procedures in his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton, the inspector general’s report released Thursday revealed.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz declared Comey damaged the FBI’s unbiased appearance but ruled his actions weren’t motivated by political bias, according to Bloomberg News, which first obtained the report:
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 also blasted Comey for failing to inform the DOJ of his July 5, 2016, press conference, during which he called out Clinton for her carelessness in using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state but insisted she didn’t break the law.
Calling the matter a “troubling lack of any direct, substantive communication” between Comey and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Horowitz slammed Comey’s decision to announce the reopening of the probe days before the 2016 presidential election:
We found it extraordinary that, in advance of two such consequential decisions, the FBI director decided that the best course of conduct was to not speak directly and substantively with the attorney general about how best to navigate those decisions.
While Horowitz also investigated the anti-Trump text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, he dismissed the notion that their personal opinions affected their actions in the special counsel’s investigation into alleged Russian collusion:
We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed. […] The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.