By Dan Calabrese
I’ll admit that when the headlines emerged yesterday about the release of the IG report, I felt a bit deflated at what I was seeing. The MSM basically told us the report had faulted James Comey and Loretta Lynch for handling the whole thing clumsily and making it all look bad, but had ultimately concluded that bias played no rule in the decision not to indict Hillary.
How could that be true, I wondered, given everything we’ve heard the way evidence was handled, the way witnesses were treated, the way attorney/client privilege was defined, the way the FBI eschewed the use of grand juries in favor of Clinton-friendly negotiations about how and when information would be forthcoming?
Did IG Horowitz really just dismiss all these things as mere “judgment calls” that were beyond criticism? The initial headlines certainly seemed to suggest that he did. James Comey may have been guilty of insubordination against Loretta Lynch, but that didn’t mean there was anything untoward about the decision to let Hillary skate.
Was this really what Horowitz said?
No. The media typically went fishing for isolated statements it could use to justify that spin, but when you look more deeply, you find that Horowitz found the whole thing to be a complete mess, and said so. And I knew I could count on the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel to read the whole 568 pages (!) and get to the bottom of it:
There’s Loretta Lynch, who felt it perfectly fine to have a long catch-up with her friend Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac and whom the inspector general slams for an “error in judgment.” Mr. Comey’s entire staff was complicit in concealing the contents of the July press conference from Justice officials. We discover that significant FBI “resources” were dedicated in October to spinning FBI “talking points” about the Clinton investigation—rather than actually investigating the new Anthony Weiner laptop emails the bureau discovered in September. We even find that Mr. Comey used personal email and laptops to conduct government work.
There’s former Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, who was tipping off the Clinton campaign even as he took part in the investigation, and who “failed to strictly adhere to [his] recusal” when he finally stepped away. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe also did not “fully comply with his recusal,” and he’d already been found to have lied to the bureau about a leak to the media. Speaking of leaks, Mr. Horowitz needed full attachments and charts to list the entire “volume of communication” between FBI employees and the press. Not only did these folks have “no official reason to be in contact with the media,” but they also “improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.”
Be ready to hear the report absolves the FBI and DOJ of “bias.” Not true. It very carefully states that “our review did not find documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text messages and instant messages to the specific investigative decisions we reviewed.” Put another way, he never caught anyone writing down: Let’s start this Trump investigation so we can help Hillary win.
But the bias is everywhere. It’s in the texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and those of three other employees who are routinely “hostile” to Candidate Trump. It’s in Ms. Page’s freak-out that Mr. Trump might win the presidency and Mr. Strzok’s reply: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” It’s in a message from an unnamed agent in November 2016 who writes that although the FBI found Clinton aide Huma Abedin had “lied,” it doesn’t matter since “no one at DOJ is going to prosecute.” To which a second agent replies. “Rog—noone is going to pros[ecute] even if we find unique classified.”
It’s in the Justice Department’s decision to cut deals with Mrs. Clinton and her staff and shelter them from a grand jury. And to agree to limitations in searching for and in devices. And in immunity agreements. The report is largely neutral on all this, giving officials the broad benefit of the doubt on “discretionary judgments made during the course of an investigation.” But it immediately follows that statement by noting that its job of evaluating the integrity of decisions was “made significantly more difficult” by the obvious bias among key players, which “cast a cloud” over the entire “investigation’s credibility.”
Still unspoken in all this is the one thing that matters most: That all of this happened because Barack Obama wanted it to.
Comey’s handling of the investigation was indefensible, and he should have resigned rather than allow such a serious matter to become such a farce. But we know the FBI was shackled by orders from higher up in the DOJ in terms of how it was allowed to approach the investigation. Ordinarily you would never allow Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills to sit in as Hillary’s lawyers when they were also material witnesses in the case, and anyone with more than a week’s experience at the FBI knew this. But the DOJ wanted it done that way, so it was done that way.
Ordinarily you wouldn’t eschew the use of grand juries to compel testimony, but in this case Loretta Lynch and her DOJ staff engaged in their own negotiations with Hillary’s team about the conditions under which they could interview witnesses. The FBI agents in charge were given their marching orders based on these negotiations, and that’s how they had to do it.
If you want to say this is “not evidence of bias,” go ahead. What it clearly is, however, is the subject of an investigation being given very special treatment because that’s how the Obama Administration wanted it. And by the Obama Administration, I don’t mean Loretta Lynch. I mean Barack Obama.
And here’s a question to ponder: Why did the FBI negotiate the terms of Hillary’s interview on the e-mail matter, while it used an informant planted in the Trump campaign to chase down evidence of Russia collusion, without anyone telling Donald Trump?
If you really don’t know the answer to that question, go back and read Peter Strzok’s texts again. Then I think you’ll get it.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!