The Justice Department on Thursday released its highly anticipated inspector general report detailing how the FBI handled its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 presidential election. Bottom line: it was all former FBI Director James Comey’s fault.
Oh, it also casts some blame on the former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch, as well as the two lovestruck partisans, former FBI agent Peter Strzok and Justice Department lawyer Lisa Page.
Well, alrighty, then! Nothin’ to see here, folks!
In a tour de force press conference, current FBI Director Christopher Wray insisted the report was thorough and that, “Nothing in [the IG report] impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.”
That wasn’t the issue, problem, or concern. Very few people have questioned the mission of the FBI or its “workforce as a whole.” But at least some in the workforce should be questioned, possibly impugned, and maybe even sanctioned. Unfortunately, Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report makes any such consequences unlikely.
As a result, the destabilization of America’s republic at the hands of faceless, partisan bureaucrats will continue apace even as the fight to topple President Trump escalates.
The Cancer Runs Deep
The extreme politicization of federal bureaucracies was routine and common knowledge during the Obama Administration. Upper leadership of those bureaucracies assumed life would continue as usual once their preferred candidate won the presidency. But Hillary Clinton lost. Now institutions that had been corrupted with partisanship found they could not continue to operate in the vacuum of accountability as they had under President Obama.
So the inspector general’s report is maybe best understood less as an exercise in truth finding and more a matter of managing public perceptions. We saw a similar effort at self-diagnosis immediately after the 9/11 attacks. In that instance, the entire national security apparatus failed. Every one of our multi-billion-dollar national security institutions was negligent in protecting America. Yet, somehow, no one was held accountable for their failures. In fact, most everyone received major pay increases!
The swamp always comes out ahead.
Yes, Horowitz’s report identified people who, at various times, were “careless” (former Attorney General Loretta Lynch), “insubordinate” (Comey), or “biased” (Strzok and Page). It fails, however, to make the necessary connections that the very same “biased” individuals who slow-walked the Clinton investigation—and who shared anti-Trump sentiments—comprised the cabal that pushed the investigation into alleged “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Remember, Strzok and Page were part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team until he learned of their conflicts of interest and fired them last year.
This is a case of the FBI admitting the obvious and covering up the more salacious details from the public because the fallout would likely damage the FBI and the national security state beyond repair.
It’s an open secret inside the Beltway that the FBI has a problem with partisans in its ranks. Unfortunately, few in power want to dive deep and root out those scoundrels. Better to protect and promote them. The FBI’s disastrous handling of the Clinton email investigation was part and parcel of a systemic flaw, not a mere case of some odd bad actors among political appointees.
“It appears as though all or most of the 39 people who were tangentially involved had a bias toward believing they were going to work for Hillary Clinton,” said U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), “and as a result didn’t have the guts to take on wrongdoing.”
Issa is correct: Comey, Lynch, et al. couldn’t have engaged in the kind of wrongdoing that they did without a much larger cohort of people in the bureaucracy either directly supporting them, or simply looking the other way.
Rather than issue the definitive report identifying all of those responsible for the failures of 2016, Horowitz’s report merely provides cover for the many, countless individuals still deeply enmeshed in the labyrinthine national security state. These unidentified people are very much ideologically opposed to the president and are actively working to end his presidency.
Comey wasn’t just “insubordinate,” as the IG report claims. He was attempting to use his position to influence a major investigation into Hillary Clinton, which would have affected her ability to win the presidency in 2016. Comey was also trying to protect the FBI’s hallowed “independence,” which he admitted to the press.
Lynch was more than “careless” when she met with former President Bill Clinton on her private jet in Phoenix, Arizona. She was managing a conspiracy from within the Justice Department to protect Hillary Clinton from an indictment, as Ed Klein reported in the New York Post.
And, no, neither Strzok nor Page were unique examples of FBI officials displaying anti-Trump sentiments. They were just some of countless individuals in the FBI (and throughout Washington, D.C.) who wanted to work for Clinton, and planned to do whatever it took to put her in office.
Some Things Will Never Change
Lastly, the IG report is an insufficient document because it clearly offers cover to Robert Mueller by explicitly separating his probe from the botched investigation of Clinton’s unsecure and patently illegal email server.
We will likely never know how many others in the FBI were involved in the politicization of the Bureau against President Trump. We’ll never know because Horowitz’s report ensures that enough people will consider the issue to be in the past—and the Mueller probe will continue in splendid isolation.
Victors get to write history. Unfortunately, it appears that the deep state has won out, because the inspector general’s report is the first draft of this particularly noxious point in American political history.
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