Comey 'broke norms but not biased' - agency watchdog report


A copy of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz's findings, which Bloomberg reportedly obtained before their Thursday afternoon release, suggest that the former federal bureau of investigation head broke with procedures in announcing the conclusion of the Clinton email probe, damaging the agency's image of impartiality.

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.

He has also expressed hope that the report will validate his decision to fire James Comey by providing evidence of Comey's incompetence.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein was expected to conduct the briefing for Trump, people familiar with the matter said.

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President Donald Trump has repeatedly asserted that the FBI botched the Clinton email investigation.

One of the key testimonies against McCabe in the inspector general's report came from Comey. Supporters from both parties regard him as apolitical.

Lavinsky noted that Justice Department officials had similarly briefed the Obama White House in 2012 upon completion of its report on the scandal involving the gunrunning project known as Operation Fast and Furious. The IG's criticism of Comey's actions was first reported by Bloomberg.

As noted earlier in CBS' scoop, the report criticizes Comey and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for lack of communication and effective coordination.

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Sessions also made clear that he is open to firing more employees if the Justice Department inspector general's report warrants it. Cases that end without charges are rarely discussed publicly.

He has also criticized Comey for his decision to not prosecute Clinton - "very, very unfair" and "rigged", he has said, and he claimed that Comey had "totally protected" Clinton.

Lynch described that meeting as a chance encounter unrelated to the case, but Clinton's critics seized on it to question Lynch's objectivity.

A Justice Department spokesman confirmed Thursday that the report will include discussion of additional text messages between Strzok and Page. Those emails came from the laptop of the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, former NY congressman Anthony Weiner. Mueller removed Strzok from his team after Horowitz disclosed the texts to him.

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"I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office - that there's no way he gets elected", Strzok wrote, "but I'm afraid we can't take that risk". The investigation focused on whether Clinton sent or received classified information through a server in the basement of her NY home, which was not authorized to handle such messages.