Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a long anticipated report about the FBI's behavior during the 2016 presidential election and how the Bureau handled the criminal investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The report, which is nearly 600-pages long, shows FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page talking in text messages about "stopping" Trump from becoming President of the United States.
"During the course of the review, the OIG discovered text messages and instant messages between some FBI employees on the investigative team, conducted using FBI mobile devices and computers, that expressed statements of hostility toward then candidate Donald Trump and statements of support for then candidate Clinton," the report states. "We were deeply troubled by text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations."
"Most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, which was not a part of this review. Nonetheless, when one senior FBI official, Strzok, who was helping to lead the Russia investigation at the time, conveys in a text message to another senior FBI official, Page, 'No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it' in response to her question '[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!', it is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects. This is antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Department of Justice," the report continues.
But it wasn't just Strzok and Page who expressed anti-Trump, pro-Hillary sentiments. The report states five individuals were engaged in this type of behavior.
"In undertaking our analysis, our task was made significantly more difficult because of text and instant messages exchanged on FBI devices and systems by five FBI employees involved in the Midyear investigation. These messages reflected political opinions in support of former Secretary Clinton and against her then political opponent, Donald Trump," the report states. "Some of these text messages and instant messages mixed political commentary with discussions about the Midyear investigation, and raised concerns that political bias may have impacted investigative decisions."
"We do not question that the FBI employees who sent these messages are entitled to their own political views. However, we believe using FBI devices to send the messages...particularly the messages that intermix work-related discussions with political commentary—potentially implicate provisions in the FBI’s Offense Code and Penalty Guidelines. At a minimum, we found that the employees’ use of FBI systems and devices to send the identified messages demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism," it continues.
The report also states IG investigators did not have confidence Strzok could carry out his duties without bias when emails belonging to Hillary Clinton were discovered on Anthony Weiner's laptop.
The report also faults former FBI Director James Comey for improperly going outside of the chain of command. He also used a personal Gmail address to conduct official FBI business.
Investigators interviewed former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and President Bill Clinton about the secret meeting they had in June 2016 on a Phoenix tarmac. The meeting came just days before the Comey announced Clinton would not be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. Lynch and Clinton both maintain they did not plan the meeting ahead of time and were simply in Phoenix at the same time. They also said they did not discuss the email investigation, but rather benign topics like grandchildren.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates and additional information, which will be published shortly.