DOJ Inspector General To Issue Report On Comey's Handling Of Trump Memos
- Roderick Gutierrez
The almost 600-page report, which was more than a year in the making before it was released last week, provided ample political ammunition to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle during Monday's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
This week in the Russian Federation investigations: A Justice Department report impacts Washington like a meteor; the inspector general confirms the presence of likely fraudulent intelligence; a special agent's words could be a political gift to President Trump.
"They see a story of kid glove treatment for one side and bare-knuckle tactics for the other", Grassley said. "This unquestionably harmed candidate Clinton and helped candidate Trump", Feinstein said. In one text, Strzok says, "We'll stop it", regarding a Trump victory. And I have every confidence that the special counsel will fairly and impartially issue a subpoena if it's warranted. The report says this attorney, called "FBI Attorney 2", was "the primary FBI attorney assigned to (the Russia) investigation beginning in early 2017" and had also worked for Mueller after he was appointed.
Horowitz said that the report focused on the FBI's handling of the Clinton investigation and only briefly "touched on" the Russian Federation investigation when investigators brought the text messages between Strzok and Page to the attention of the special counsel and learned that Strzok wanted to prioritize the Russian Federation investigation over the Clinton probe.
"We received a referral on that from the FBI", Horowitz confirmed.
It said his decision not to file charges against Hillary Clinton was not due to political bias, but that Comey did depart from DOJ policy by doing a solo press conference to say "no reasonable" prosecutor would charge Clinton.
Strzok later said as much afterward when he was interviewed by investigators.
The South Carolina Republican demanded Mr. Horowitz reopen the probe. Strzok's attorney has disputed that finding and argued the inaction only served to damage Clinton.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., however, claimed that the report's findings were being distorted by Republicans. "We are handling that referral and we will issue a report when the matter is complete, consistent with the law and rules", Horowitz told Judiciary Chairman Sen.
Horowitz did not address Trump's assertions directly, but he said his inquiry had no connection to the matters under review by Mueller.
"That's correct. We are not able to speak to you about work that might be ongoing", Horowitz replied.
Horowitz himself is still tasked with investigating the FBI's handling of the Trump-Russia investigation, in which Republicans allege they abused the foreign surveillance process and exhibited bias toward Trump.
"Senator, as I said to you last month and as I said before, I do not believe special counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt", Wray responded.
That the official Federal Bureau of Investigation policy with regard to the media was "widely ignored" is hardly surprising, since the two top officials, Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (both of whom were fired by President Trump), set the tone by leaking themselves - and then lying about it. Deputy Director McCabe was scathingly exposed in the previous IG report issued by Horowitz in April.
Horowitz did confirm to Grassley there was an open investigation into how Comey handled the memos he wrote memorializing his conversations with Trump before he was sacked a year ago. Democrats have repeatedly raised questions about leaks to Giuliani because of public comments he made before the election.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said that "conduct in the report" had already been referred to the department's disciplinary arm, but he would not say which employees had been referred or for what conduct.
Last week, Trump said told "Fox and Friends" that the report "totally exonerates me".