Jan. 12, 2017, "Justice Department inspector general to investigate pre-election actions by department and FBI," Washington Post,
The Justice Department inspector general will review broad
allegations of misconduct involving FBI Director James B. Comey and how
he handled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, the inspector
general announced Thursday.
The investigation will be
wide-ranging, encompassing Comey’s various letters and public statements
on the matter and whether FBI or other Justice Department employees
leaked nonpublic information, according to Inspector General Michael E.
The inspector general’s announcement drew praise from
those on both sides of the political aisle and again put a spotlight on
Comey, who emerged as a controversial figure during the 2016 race.
Democrats, including Clinton, have blamed the FBI director for the
Democratic candidate’s loss, arguing that the renewed email inquiry and
Comey’s public missives on the eve of the election blunted her momentum.
has also been criticized for months by former Justice Department
officials for violating the department’s policy of avoiding any action
that could affect a candidate close to an election. President-elect
Donald Trump has notably declined to commit to keeping the FBI director.
Brian Fallon, a former Clinton campaign spokesman, praised the investigation Thursday.
is highly encouraging and to be expected given Director Comey’s drastic
deviation from Justice Department protocol,” Fallon said. “A probe of
this sort, however long it takes to conduct, is utterly necessary in
order to take the first step to restore the FBI’s reputation as a
Lawmakers and others had called
previously for the inspector general to investigate the FBI’s actions
regarding the Clinton probe ahead of the election, alleging that Comey
violated long-standing policies with his communications about the case
and that information seemed to have leaked inappropriately — perhaps to
former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Trump supporter.
said Thursday that he will explore the circumstances surrounding the
actions of Comey and others, though he will not relitigate whether
anyone should have faced charges.
“The review will not substitute
the OIG’s judgment for the judgments made by the FBI or the Department
regarding the substantive merits of investigative or prosecutive
decisions,” Horowitz said in his statement, using an abbreviation for
the Office of the Inspector General.
Comey said in a statement:
“I am grateful to the Department of Justice’s IG for taking on this
review. He is professional and independent and the FBI will cooperate
fully with him and his office. I hope very much he is able to share his
conclusions and observations with the public because everyone will
benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this
The FBI’s probe into whether Clinton mishandled
classified information by using a private email server when she was
secretary of state has long been ¬controversial and politically charged.
Perhaps most notably, Comey on Oct. 28--after previously announcing publicly that he was recommending no charges in the case — sent a letter
to congressional leaders telling them that agents had resumed the
Clinton probe after finding potentially relevant information in an
unrelated case. That investigation involved disgraced former congressman
Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
day before, senior Justice Department leaders had warned Comey not to
send the letter, because it violated two long-standing department
policies — discussing an ongoing investigation and taking any overt
action affecting a candidate so close to an election. Comey has
notably declined to talk about any possible investigations of Trump or
his campaign, as recently as this week rebuffing requests from
legislators to confirm that agents were looking into any such matters."...
[Ed. note: Update, May 11: Trump
not among those being investigated by FBI: Comey's 3/20/17 announcement
about a counter-intelligence investigation underway since July 2016
into possible Russian interference into the US election does not include
Trump or his top aides: "Congressional officials were told by FBI Director James Comey before he
was fired that there are just a small number of Americans who are
targets of the criminal or counterintelligence probes involving Russia
and that none were President Trump or his top aides, Circa has
confirmed."...5/11/17, "Before being fired, Comey told Congress that Russian probe targets didn't include Trump," Circa.com, John Solomon...On March 20, 2017 Comey admitted for the first time that he'd been secretly investigating Trump since July 2016: "The FBI Has Been Investigating Trump's Russia Ties Since July," Wired.com, 3/20/17, Andy Greenberg: "In a hearing of the House of Representatives’ Select Intelligence
Committee Monday into possible Russian interference in the election, FBI
Director Comey stated for the first time that the agency he leads is
investigating Russia-Trump ties. “I’ve been authorized by the Department
of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence
mission is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere
in the United States’ 2016 presidential election,” Comey told the House
committee."...Why had Comey withheld this fact for 8 months? "There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to
be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from congress [citing "sensitivity of the matter."] Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political
purposes – wittingly, or unwittingly."]
(continuing): "“I don’t--especially in a public forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation,” Comey said this week.
inspector general did not say he would investigate Comey’s comments on
Trump or any matters related to Russian interference in the election.
sent a second letter to Congress on the Clinton case, just days before
the election, declaring that the investigation was complete and that he
was not changing the decision he had made in July to recommend no
charges. But the damage-in the minds of Clinton supporters, at least-had been done."...
[Ed. note: NY Times, 5/8/17: Erroneous data was used to claim Comey letter "damaged" Hillary: "The
case for a big Comey effect hinges on the large decline in Mrs. Clinton's lead in the polls that followed the letter." Some analysts "have implicitly treated this
[NY Times] Upshot poll, and others conducted before the news but released after, as
evidence of a Comey effect. But it can't be; for example, none of the
people we polled for our survey knew about the letter." 5/8/17, "A 2016 Review: There’s Reason to Be Skeptical of a Comey Effect," NY Times, Nate Cohn]
(continuing): "Horowitz wrote that he will explore “allegations
that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed” in
connection with both letters. When he is finished, his office will
probably issue a lengthy report detailing what it has found, as it has
done in other high-profile matters, though it is also possible he could
recommend criminal charges for anyone found to have broken the law. The
probe could take a significant amount of time.
that his inquiry will extend back to at least July — when Comey
announced he was recommending the Clinton case be closed without
He wrote that he will explore “allegations that
Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public
information”-potentially a reference to Giuliani, who seemed to claim
at one point he had insider FBI knowledge. Horowitz also said he would
explore whether FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should have been
recused from the case. McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran for a Virginia
Senate seat and took money from the political action committee of
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a fierce Clinton ally.
asserted at the time that Andrew McCabe had checked in with ethics
officials and followed agency protocols. And, when his wife was first
recruited to run, he was not yet deputy director. He was elevated to
that post in February 2016, after his wife was out of politics.
an FBI spokesman, McCabe declined to comment. Giuliani said in an
interview Thursday night that he had talked only to former FBI
officials, who relayed some agents’ general displeasure with Comey’s
recommendation that Clinton not be charged. He said he did not talk to
current agents with knowledge of any probes, and he would cooperate with
the inspector general investigation.
Horowitz wrote that he
would delve more deeply into the FBI publishing, just days before the
election, 129 pages of internal documents from a years-old probe into
former president Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Democratic donor Marc
Rich. And he said he would also probe whether Peter Kadzik, the Justice
Department’s assistant attorney general for legislative affairs,
“improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign
and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters.”
Kadzik used to be the lawyer for Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta,
and WikiLeaks released hacked emails showing communications between the
two men about the State Department’s review of Clinton emails for
Freedom of Information Act purposes.
In an interview, Kadzik, who
said he was speaking in his personal capacity, called the inspector
general’s investigation “disheartening.” He noted that the information
he gave Podesta about a hearing and a court document already was public
and that it came before the FBI opened its criminal investigation.
whether he should have recused himself from any involvement in that
criminal probe, Kadzik said, “It’s not as if I had any decision-making
authority or role in the criminal investigation.” Kadzik declined to say whether he would cooperate with the inspector general’s probe.
“My answer is, I wish the inspector general would have talked to me first,” he said.
absent from the list of matters being considered is Attorney General
Loretta E. Lynch’s controversial meeting in June with former president
Clinton aboard her plane on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport. The
half-hour conversation, which Lynch has said she regrets, created the
appearance to some that the attorney general was politically
compromised. Some officials say it left a leadership vacuum and probably
prompted Comey to give his controversial July news conference, at which
he announced he was recommending no charges for Clinton but criticized
her and her aides as “extremely careless.”
tarmac meeting could be encompassed in the investigation of possible
leaks of information, and Horowitz wrote that his investigators would
consider “other issues that may arise during the course of the review.”
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R- Iowa), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took note of the omission.
good to hear that the Inspector General agreed to my request to look at
multiple concerns that I raised throughout the investigation,” Grassley
said in a statement. “Conspicuously absent, though, is any specific
reference to the Attorney General’s failure to recuse herself from the
probe, particularly after her meeting with former President Clinton.
It’s in the public interest to provide a full accounting of all the
facts that led to the FBI and Justice Department’s decision-making
regarding the investigation.”"
"Anne Gearan and Karen DeYoung contributed to this report."
Three related 2016 Washington Post links:
Oct. 29, 2016, "Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent with department policy," Washington Post
Oct. 30, 2016, "FBI agents pressed Justice unsuccessfully for probe of Clinton Foundation," Washington Post
"FBI agents argued-based at least in part on news accounts- earlier
this year that the Clinton Foundation should be investigated for
potentially giving donors special political access and favors. The
Justice Department’s public integrity unit said they did not have enough
evidence to move forward.
The Clinton Foundation said it was
never contacted by the FBI, suggesting the bureau’s efforts were in a
preliminary stage as prosecutors weighed in. But agents in New York have
sought to keep their inquiries alive, feuding with the Justice
Department about the lengths to which they can go, according to people
familiar with the matter."...
Nov. 3, 2016, "‘He’s got to get control of the ship again’: How tensions at the FBI will persist after the election," Washington Post
"‘He’s got to get control of the ship again’, said Robert Anderson, a
former senior official in the FBI who considers Comey a friend. “There’s
a lot of tension in the organization, and there’s a lot of tension in
Congress and the Senate right now, and all that counts toward how much
people trust the FBI.”"...
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Former FBI chief Comey was placed under Inspector General investigation during Obama administration for his handling of Hillary emails. Also to be explored by IG were FBI Dep. Dir. McCabe and Justice Dept. official and former Podesta lawyer, Peter Kadzik. IG review of Comey was praised by former Hillary campaign official-Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2017
Posted by susan at 2:23 AM