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New Inspector General report says Comey departed 'clearly and dramatically' from FBI norms

A new report by the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General accuses Former FBI Director James Comey of breaking protocol in his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

A new report from the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General states that former FBI Director James Comey departed “clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms” in his treatment of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.

The report will be presented to Congress Thursday and has not yet been made public, but a copy was obtained by Bloomberg News.

What did the report say?

The report found that Comey “deviated” from FBI and Department of Justice procedures during the email investigation, although it did not find proof that he did so because he was politically motivated.

In the report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded:

While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that 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.

What about the anti-Trump text messages?

The report acknowledged the anti-Trump texts sent between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page who worked with Mueller, but said that although “the conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation,” the Inspector General “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed.”

However, the report also revealed a new text message between the two, which was even more inflammatory than those previously reported. According to multiple sources who spoke to The Washington Post, in a text from August 2016 Page texted Strzok: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

The report will contain additional text messages between the two that have not yet been released to the public.

What else?

The Inspector General found it “troubling” that there was a “lack of any direct, substantive communication” between Comey and then Attorney General Loretta Lynch before Comey's news conference on Hillary Clinton in July 2016 or before his letter to Congress in late October 2016. The report read:

We found it extraordinary that, in advance of two such consequential decisions, the FBI director decided that the best course of conduct was to not speak directly and substantively with the attorney general about how best to navigate those decisions.

The report also said that Comey used his personal email account for official FBI business on at least five occasions. However, while this violated FBI protocol, there is no evidence that any of the information contained in these emails was classified at any time.

One last thing…
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