The liberal "mainstream" media are deceptively portraying the 568-page IG report as vindication for Hillary Clinton, as Obama-era DOJ/FBI officials continue to stonewall and obstruct investigations.
The long-awaited report of the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, released this past week, has something for everyone. Hillary Clinton, Senator Chuck Schumer, Representative Adam Schiff, and their media pals (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, New York Times, Huffington Post, et al) rushed to proclaim that the IG report proves Hillary received no favorable treatment from the FBI investigation regarding her use of a private e-mail server for sending and receiving classified material. President Trump and his supporters likewise pointed to the same report and declared that it vindicates the president’s claim he was subjected to biased political attacks by the FBI.
President Trump tweeted on June 15, “FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton & Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from becoming President. Doesn’t get any lower than that!” On the other hand, in his New York Times op-ed entitled “The Report’s Real Message: Trump Is Lying,” David Leonhardt urged readers to “focus on the big picture.” The IG report, Leonhardt insists, shows “Federal investigators and prosecutors did not give preferential treatment to Clinton. They pursued the case on the merits.”
Aside from the fact that people tend to see what they want to see, and political partisans can be depended upon to spin every event to their own advantage, the report was written in such a way that it can be exploited by both sides, while satisfying neither. Like many other IG reports, the 568-page Horowitz report, which has been over a year in the making, takes pains to put the damning evidence it presents in the best possible light, making excuses for inexcusable behavior.
While presenting evidence of blatant bias and appalling actions — by James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, and others (details below) — the IG report, nonetheless, exonerates them from charges of bias, bending over backwards to accept incredible, self-serving explanations by the offending parties.
Regarding former FBI Director Comey, for instance, the Horowitz report states: “Comey’s public statement announced that the FBI had completed its Midyear [Clinton e-mail] investigation, criticized Clinton and her senior aides as ‘extremely careless’ in their handling of classified information, stated that the FBI was recommending that the Department decline prosecution of Clinton, and asserted that ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would prosecute Clinton based on the facts developed by the FBI during its investigation.” The report goes on: “While we found no evidence that Comey’s statement was the result of bias or an effort to influence the election, we did not find his justifications for issuing the statement to be reasonable or persuasive.”
The IG report further states: “We concluded that Comey’s unilateral announcement was inconsistent with Department policy and violated long-standing Department practice and protocol,” that “Comey usurped the authority of the Attorney General,” and that he “inadequately and incompletely described the legal position of Department prosecutors.” Elsewhere, the report criticized Comey for “insubordination” and “deviation from Department practice.”
Plenty of insubordination, usurpation, deviation, etc., but, apparently, in order to make the determination of bias, IG Horowitz requires a full confession or a tape-recorded statement from Comey, or an e-mail or note from him proclaiming, “I’m doing this because I’m biased for Hillary and against Trump.” Even the anti-Trump text rantings of FBI’s Peter Strzok and Lisa Page don’t provide sufficient proof to Team Horowitz of bias.
Writing for National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor, observes: “For all his assiduous attention to detail, IG Horowitz has weaved a no-common-sense report.” He points to the infamous texts between FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour, FBI attorney Lisa Page, which were “part of a ceaseless stream of anti-Trump bile.”
All of this, McCarthy notes, “occurs against a backdrop in which the FBI has rushed to close the Clinton-e-mails investigation on an arbitrary deadline for patently political reasons — no other criminal investigation is guided by the electoral calendar. And it occurs at the moment the FBI is moving aggressively to turn its counterintelligence powers against the Trump campaign: An informant has already been deployed, intelligence agents are mobilizing, foreign intelligence contacts have been tapped, and the bureau will soon submit to the FISA court an application to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page — an application that breaks every rule in the book: anonymous foreign sources spouting multiple hearsay, no corroboration, no disclosure to the court that it comes from the opposition presidential campaign, no explanation that the foreigner who supplied the unverified allegations has been booted from the investigation for lying, etc. Yet you’re not supposed to string any of that together.”
Yep, no bias here, move along. So, there should be no surprise that the anti-Trump/pro-Clinton/pro-Obama media choir is now hymning the Alleluia Exoneration refrain.
Following, in brief, are some of the more notable revelations in the massive Inspector General’s report:
Peter Strzok and Lisa Page
Strzok and Page have been at the center of the FBI scandal. Strzok is the FBI’s former No. 2 counterintelligence official and a top investigator in both the Clinton e-mail investigation and the Trump-Russia collusion investigation. He interviewed Hillary Clinton and her aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. In the case of Abedin and Mills, he showed incredibly biased leniency in accepting their obviously false claims that they had no knowledge of Clinton’s secret e-mail server. It was Strzok who changed the final wording of James Comey’s July 2016 statement, reducing the characterization of Clinton’s actions from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” This was no small matter, since the former would have subjected Clinton to criminal charges, whereas the latter provided a mere knuckle rap. In other words, he helped Comey provide Clinton with a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Contrast this treatment with the brutal squeeze Strzok put on President Trump’s then-National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn. Lisa Page, Strzok’s lover at the FBI, was legal counsel to former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Strzok and Page were both assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation — until their notorious anti-Trump text messages began leaking out. The IG report provides a new, never-before-released text between the two, in which Strzok assures a distraught Page that he will not allow Trump to become president. In an August 8, 2016 text message Page asks Strzok, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok replies, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
“We'll stop it”? How? This adds to their previously disclosed messages, among which are references to Trump as an “idiot,” a “douche,” and a “loathesome human,” and a reference to an anti-Trump “secret society” at the FBI and its plans for an “insurance policy” against Trump.
The IG report notes that the Strzok-Page texts are “not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.” Nevertheless, the most severe condemnation Horowitz could muster was to say that they “demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism.” The upshot? According to the IG report: “We therefore refer this information to the FBI for its handling and consideration of whether the messages sent by the five employees listed above violated the FBI’s Offense Code of Conduct.” It’s not likely that Strzok, Page and the others are sweating that outcome, although they may be sweating over House and Senate committee grillings that still await them.
The IG report found former FBI Director Comey’s actions to hide his decision to publicly exonerate Clinton from Attorney General Loretta Lynch (his boss) to be “extraordinary and insubordinate.” The report also revealed that Comey was using a personal e-mail account for official FBI matters (a big No-No) at the same time the FBI was investigating Clinton for her use of a private e-mail account and server.
Cozy Comrades: Secret FBI-Media Relations
The Trump administration was hampered by continual leaks from Day 1, and it is clear that much of the leaking came from anti-Trump officials in the FBI and DOJ. FBI Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe were two of the most notorious leakers. However, they also either encouraged and directed their subordinates to leak, or looked the other way, as long as the leaking was furthering objectives that they approved of.
The IG report states: “The Media Policy in effect both at the time of these events and currently authorizes only four employees at FBI Headquarters to speak directly to the media without prior authorization. This list includes the Director, Deputy Director, Associate Deputy Director, and the Assistant Director of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA).”
IG Horowitz notes that “although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared to be widely ignored.” “We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters,” the IG report continues. It goes on to state:
In addition to the significant number of communications between FBI employees and journalists, we identified social interactions between FBI employees and journalists that were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and Department ethics rules. For example, we identified instances where FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, were treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events.
Pro-Clinton/Obama “Resistance” Inside FBI
“Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS [pieces of ****].” That’s just one of many phone text, instant message, and e-mail expressions by FBI employees indicating that a significant number of the bureau’s personnel — including, especially, at the upper levels — are highly politicized. Here’s more of the context for the expression quoted above, part of an instant message dialogue between an unnamed duo designated as “FBI Attorney 2” and “FBI Employee” on November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election:
FBI Attorney 2: “I am numb.”
FBI Employee: “I can’t stop crying.”
FBI Attorney 2: “That makes me even more sad.”
FBI Employee: “Like, what happened?”
FBI Employee: “You promised me this wouldn’t happen. YOU PROMISED…. I’m very upset.”
FBI Attorney 2: “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently….”
FBI Employee: “All the people who were initially voting for her would not, and were not, swayed by any decision the FBI put out. Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm.”
FBI Attorney 2: “I’m just devastated. I can’t wait until I can leave today and just shut off the world for the next four days…. I just can’t imagine the systematic disassembly of the progress we made over the last 8 years. ACA [ObamaCare] is gone. Who knows if the rhetoric about deporting people, walls, and crap is true.”
Here’s another troubling exchange between two unidentified FBI attorneys:
FBI Attorney 1: “Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?”
FBI Attorney 2: “Hell no…. Viva le resistance.”
The accumulated evidence indicates that the anti-Trump “Resistance” elements within the FBI/DOJ have been doing everything within their power to sabotage the Trump administration from the get-go, while the radical anti-Trump “Resistance” carrying out the disruptive — and often violent — street demonstrations try to sabotage the administration from the outside.
All of this and much more, but, according to IG Horowitz, he couldn’t prove that any of this obvious political bias caused the FBI officials and agents involved to illegally or inappropriately use their official capacities in a biased manner against the Trump administration or in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Incredible! However, it is not surprising. We have seen this many times before, as, for instance, in the case of the IG report exposing egregious actions of the FBI lab under President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno. The Inspector General and his investigators are on a leash held by the head of the agency they are investigating. The IG is under pressure not to rock the boat too much. Even if the IG and his team are courageous and dig deep, the final IG report goes through editing and massaging by Department of Justice and FBI higher-ups before publication. All too rarely are high-level officials prosecuted and punished due to malfeasance exposed in IG investigations. If a scandal is hot enough and the public must be satisfied, a lower-level employee can usually be found to sacrifice as a scapegoat.
It may be recalled that in 2014 that 47 federal inspectors general signed a letter to Congress warning that IG investigations were being obstructed by the Obama administration. The New American reported at the time: “In all, 47 inspectors general from across the federal government — many of them appointed by Obama — wrote to Congress this month warning that their work and investigations were being unlawfully impeded. Among other concerns, the officials cited denial of access to documents, wild interpretations of statutes purporting to authorize the stonewalling, undermining the independence of the inspectors general, and similar tactics being used by top administration officials.”
Photo: AP Images