The much-anticipated Department of Justice Inspector General’s report has now been released. IG Michael Horowitz, concluded the the investigation was not tainted due to overt political bias, although in a damning inculpatory statement he acknowledges that some other top level FBI officials displayed, “a willingness to take official action”, to prevent the election of Donald Trump. Though some Democrats may find comfort in his limited findings, a few items should be noted: the IG’s Report did not in any way address the FBI’s involvement or potentially criminal conduct during the Russia collusion IGinvestigation, that has been the subject of Robert Mueller’s investigation during the past year.
Horowitz intimated in his report released on Wednesday that his potential findings concerning the overt bias of the lead FBI agent in charge of that investigation could be potentially explosive. In the words, as embarrassing as his recent report is to eat e FBI and the unfavorable light in which it cast that agency, most notably James Comey will be mild by comparison.
Although, Horowitz did not conclude that the overt bias expressed by Page and Strzok did not have a material affect on the email investigation, it is important to note, that despite his conclusion, he nonetheless express his concern and was, “deeply troubled by text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page,” his conclusion is not an exoneration of their behavior in the Russian investigation. Strozk’ involvement in the FBI collusion investigation was substantially greater than his role in the email issue. Strozk was instrument in launching the collusion investigation. His repeated and overt bias expressed against Trump throughout that investigation is grounds for concluding the entire matter was tainted from the start.
A whole host of questions arise in this regard. Why was Stozlk permitted to work on the collusion investigation when his text messages were known to Mueller and other officials that the DOJ? Not removing him from the investigation at the start event though his prior statements about Trump made it abundantly clear that he had a demonstrable conflict of interest and his continuing involvement in the collusion investigation would taint the entire matter because of the appearance of impropriety. These are the reasons that prompted Horowitz’s disapprobation as expressed in the comments noted above.
It is important to note that the IG Report referenced additional texts uncovered that demonstrate for the first time that the lead agent investigating a presidential candidate openly expressed interference with the election.
Page: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”
Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”
As David Harsanyi, writing in The Federalist notes,
Now, texts don’t necessarily prove an agent acted unprofessionally. Maybe Strozk was showing off to his lover. Maybe Strozk was blowing off steam. But if a law enforcement agent charged with scrutinizing your business says he’s going to “stop you” — on top of dozens of other statements demonstrated high levels of prejudice, including one self- righteous exchange where he praises himself for being in a position to stop the Trump “menace” — would you consider that person professionally unbiased? There’s no reasonable argument that can guarantee that this agent’s work was uncontaminated by his animosity for Trump.
Lastly, despite Comey’s attempt to seek sainthood as a holier than thou participant in the whole matter, Horowitz sharply criticizes his abrogation of Justice Department precedents by appointing himself as a prosecutor. In his self-appointed role, Completely rewrote the statute concerning the applicable legal standard for a finding of criminal liability in the investigation of Hillary’s email server. The provision was initially rewritten by STrozk and then forwarded to Comey who then issued his exoneration of Hillary at his July, 2016 press conference.
In short, despite his book tour, Comey does not appear likely to be canonized any time soon.