For weeks, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have been hyping a forthcoming report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz regarding the DOJ’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation — their hope being that the document would discredit key witnesses and FBI officials involved in the ongoing investigation into Trump’s campaign for possible collusion with Russia.
On Thursday, Bloomberg obtained the report’s conclusions ahead of the full release. Lo and behold, they don’t show what team Trump hoped they would.
According to Bloomberg, the IG’s report finds that, if anything, former FBI Director James Comey was unfair to Hillary Clinton.
Former FBI Director James Comey “deviated” from FBI and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the law enforcement agencies’ image of impartiality even though he wasn’t motivated by political bias, the department’s watchdog found in a highly anticipated report.
Not only that, but the IG’s report finds that anti-Trump texts sent to each other by two FBI officials who were having an affair — Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — had no impact on the way the Clinton investigation was handled.
“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” Horowitz said in the report to be issued Thursday. “The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”
Bloomberg’s report about document’s key findings comes on the heels of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. tipping their hands about how they hoped to capitalize on the report during separate Fox News interviews.
During an interview on Wednesday’s Ingraham Angle, Giuliani, alluding to former Comey’s handling of the email investigation, said that “at a minimum, we know already from the leaks… that it’s going to criticize him heavily for his first Hillary press conference for his second Hillary press conference.”
“And so that goes to the credibility of how he handled the Russia investigation?” host Laura Ingraham asked.
“He usurped the responsibility of the attorney general,” Giuliani replied. “We have to see what Horowitz says tomorrow… That memo could blow the whole thing up.”
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) June 14, 2018
Giuliani’s sentiment — that the IG report could “blow up” Mueller’s investigation by discrediting key witnesses and FBI officials — was echoed by Trump Jr. hours later.
“I think their credibility is shot,” Trump Jr. said during Thursday’s edition of Fox & Friends, referring to FBI officials active during that crucial summer of 2016, when the bureau’s investigation of the Clinton wound down and the probe of the Trump campaign began. “When you see the things we’ve seen in our government — if you saw those things happening in banana republics, you would say, ‘that’s terrible’… what has happened has been really disgusting.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 14, 2018
On June 5, Trump himself indicated that he was eager to see the IG’s report.
What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays. Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
That the IG’s report is a disappointment for team Trump was evidenced by a letter written by some of the House Republicans that have most aggressively done Trump’s bidding by hyping its release on Fox News and elsewhere.
Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) wrote to Horowitz on Thursday morning and suggested the report might somehow have been watered down during the review process.
IG FALLOUT: Clearest sign that Trump allies didn’t get what they wanted out of the IG report: his top GOP allies are arguing that the report may have been watered down during the review process –> pic.twitter.com/gFL9k7kjf2
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 14, 2018
Instead of touting the IG report’s findings on Twitter, Trump used Orwellian language to bemoan “the Witch Hunt” on Thursday morning.
Now that I am back from Singapore, where we had a great result with respect to North Korea, the thought process must sadly go back to the Witch Hunt, always remembering that there was No Collusion and No Obstruction of the fabricated No Crime.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
Meanwhile, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, released a statement saying, “The stark conclusion we draw after reviewing this report is that the FBI’s actions helped Donald Trump become President.”