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15 Jun, 2018 12:55

Trump: Justice Dept report a disaster for ‘Comey and his minions’

Trump: Justice Dept report a disaster for ‘Comey and his minions’

US President Donald Trump lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey, as well as two FBI officials, after the Justice Department Inspector General’s report criticized the agency’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.

“The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI. Comey will now officially go down as the worst leader, by far, in the history of the FBI. I did a great service to the people in firing him. Good Instincts. Christopher Wray will bring it proudly back!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

Michael Horowitz’s report, released Thursday after over a year-long investigation, found that Comey was not motivated by political bias but nevertheless “usurped authority,” broke from agency norms, and damaged its reputation for impartiality.

Shortly after tweeting about Comey, Trump gave an impromptu interview to Fox News on the White House front lawn and again took the opportunity to savage Comey's FBI.

Among Comey’s missteps during the Clinton email investigation was his decision in July 2016 to publicly call for Clinton’s exoneration before the probe had concluded; followed by his revelation to Congress weeks before the election that the FBI had reopened its investigation. According to Comey, his decision to announce the reopening publicly was based on the assumption Clinton would win the election, and motivated by a desire not to be seen as helping her.

In his Friday tweetstorm, Trump retweeted clip after clip from Fox News highlighting Comey’s impropriety, and showing evidence of bias from others within the agency. He also quoted lawyer and Fox News talking head Mark Levin, who said “Donald Trump was 100% right to fire James Comey.”

The report found that on several occasions, Comey used his personal Gmail account to conduct FBI business, prompting Hillary Clinton to take to Twitter screeching “But my emails.” Journalist Michael Tracey stepped in to serve the failed presidential candidate a brutal put-down:

Trump saved some of his scorn for FBI agent Peter Strzok and former agency lawyer Lisa Page. The two officials – who were having an affair as they worked together on the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s alleged ties with Russia – frequently exchanged anti-Trump text messages that the president argues tainted the investigation.

“FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton & Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that ‘we’ll stop’ candidate Trump from becoming President. Doesn’t get any lower than that!” he tweeted.

In one August 2016 exchange between the lovers, Page asked Strzok if it was possible that Trump would become president. "No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it," Strzok replied.

The report found no “documentary or testimonial evidence” that the lovebirds’ political bias had directly affected their work, but conceded that “the conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”

Strzok and Page would go on to work for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ investigation, before being let go for their partisan text messages.

House Republicans have vowed to keep the pressure on Strzok, and the House Judiciary Committee intends to subpoena the disgraced agent for testimony. Within the FBI, current Director Christopher Wray has said that disciplinary reviews will take place for certain, unnamed individuals.

Horowitz’ report was finished in April, but published on Thursday, after being sent for review and revision to the individuals named in it, including Comey. On Thursday, right-wing lawyer and commentator Alan Dershowitz called on Horowitz to release the first, unedited draft.

“If the published draft improperly whitewashed any individuals or scrubbed any valid criticisms, we have a right to know,” he said. Dershowitz also argued that the report went too soft on Comey, who he said was motivated not by political bias, but by a desire to protect himself from criticism.

Horowitz is expected to come before Congress to be questioned about the report in a series of hearings next week.

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