The inspector general for the Justice Department is set to release a new report on Thursday that found former FBI director James Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton negatively impacted the bureau.
“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,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report, according to details first obtained by Bloomberg News.
Horowitz investigated the conduct and decisions by the nation’s top law enforcement officials before the 2016 election. The investigation included Horowitz reviewing Comey’s July news conference where he announced Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling classified information but hadn’t committed enough wrongdoing for a prosecutor to pursue. The inspector general also reviewed Comey’s decision to inform Congress days before the election that the FBI was reopening the investigation into Clinton.
Horowitz’s investigation concluded that Comey’s actions damaged the FBI’s image of being impartial and not motivated by politics. This conclusion is similar to a memo Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote. In the memo, Rosenstein outlined Comey’s actions did damage to the bureau. President Donald Trump stated Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation as one of the reasons he fired Comey.
The IG report also looked at counterintelligence officer Peter Strzok and agent Lisa Page. The two FBI agents sent anti-Trump texts cheering then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and bashing Trump as an idiot, and they have been accused by Republicans of taking politically motivated action. The IG report didn’t find the agents’ political bias to directly affect investigative actions.
“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” Horowitz said. “The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”
The IG report is set to be released to members of Congress on Thursday.