Peter Van Buren identifies the most important conclusion to emerge from Michael Horowitz’s report. From Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:
It will be easy to miss the most important point amid the partisan bleating over what the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report on the FBI’s Clinton email investigation really means.
While each side will find the evidence they want to find proving the FBI, with James Comey as director, helped/hurt Hillary Clinton and/or maybe Donald Trump, the real takeaway is this: the FBI influenced the election of a president.
In January 2017 the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz (who previously worked on the 2012 study of “Fast and Furious”), opened his probe into the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, including public statements Comey made at critical moments in the presidential campaign. Horowitz’s focus was always to be on how the FBI did its work, not to re-litigate the case against Clinton. Nor did the IG plan to look into anything regarding Russiagate.
In a damning passage, the 568 page report found it “extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors… for the admitted purpose of preventing them from telling him not to make the statement, and to instruct his subordinates in the FBI to do the same. 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.” Comey’s drafting of a press release announcing no prosecution for Clinton, written before the full investigation was even completed, is given a light touch though in the report, along the lines of roughly preparing for the conclusion based on early indications.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch is criticized for not being more sensitive to public perceptions when she agreed to meet privately with Bill Clinton aboard an airplane as the FBI investigation into Hillary unfolded. “Lynch’s failure to recognize the appearance problem… and to take action to cut the visit short was an error in judgment.” Her statements later about her decision not to recuse further “created public confusion and didn’t adequately address the situation.”
The report also criticizes in depth FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who exchanged texts disparaging Trump before moving from the Clinton email to the Russiagate investigation. Those texts “brought discredit” to the FBI and sowed public doubt about the investigation, including one exchange that read, “Page: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” Another Strzok document stated “we know foreign actors obtained access to some Clinton emails, including at least one secret message.”
To continue reading: Real Takeaway: The FBI Influenced the Election of a President