Last week, the inspector general’s highly anticipated report looking into the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was released publicly after months of delays. At 568 pages, there were no huge bombshells in it.
Much of the newsworthy information had been suspected or leaked one way or another previously. Keep in mind, as Mollie Hemingway points out in The Federalist, that the purpose of this IG report is to help the FBI “improve its adherence to [its own] policies and procedures.” The language is bland and understated on purpose.
Recall that the IG’s report is not the end of the matter. The report presents its investigation to the Department of Justice and to Congress. It is up to those bodies to decide what to do with the facts that were uncovered.
Even so, there were many explosive details in it.
The biggest take-away is confirmation of a subject I often speak about, double standards between how people on the right and left are treated. It is one thing when this occurs by Hollywood, which I have been writing about lately. That is bad enough. It is several orders worse when this different standard of treatment is perpetrated against presidential candidates of differing political parties by law enforcement at the FBI.
The latter is absolutely detrimental for the state of our republic. Make no mistake. The public is aware of this. And feels this injustice deeply. It is no wonder that trust in our institutions is at record lows. Unfortunately, the institutions have earned this lack of trust.
So what did Inspector General Michael Horowitz find? In his own words, he found “no documentary evidence that bias produced specific investigatory decisions.” In other words, he did not find a document that laid out a clear intent to bias the investigation. But that does not mean there was no bias. As Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal notes, “He found bias everywhere,” enough bias “ ‘to cast a cloud’ on the entire ‘investigation’s credibility.’ ” And keep in mind, too, that right after these same investigators finished up by exonerating Clinton, they moved “seamlessly” to investigate Trump.
And as everyone can see, the standard used against Trump and his people is worlds apart from that used with Clinton and her people. I say “used with Clinton and her people” rather than used “against Clinton and her people” because it is clear the relationship the FBI established with her was not an adversarial one. In fact, texts were even found from one of the FBI investigators on Hillary’s case stating, “I’m with Her,” which was Clinton’s campaign slogan.
Among the people shifting from the Clinton investigation to the Trump investigation so seamlessly was Peter Strzok who texted his lover, FBI agent Lisa Page, that “we’ll stop [Trump].” Strzok claims he does not remember saying this, but elsewhere says he sent Page this message to reassure her that Trump would never be elected. No matter what he meant by it, it is evidence of profound personal bias against Trump. It is no wonder, then, that at last the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte has stated that they are finally getting ready to subpoena Strzok. Though whether that will amount to anything is another matter.
It had previously been suspected that Hillary corresponded with President Obama using her unsecured home server. Now we learn for a fact that this correspondence occurred when Hillary was in foreign territory, including that of “sophisticated adversaries,” which, the IG report now confirms, had access to her private server. Importantly this fact was scrubbed from Comey’s FBI report because of the embarrassment it would have brought to Obama.
And what was the reason that the FBI did not search the devices of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, a point that has long angered conservatives? Their excuse was that the State Department regularly mishandled classified information to such an extent that they feared being overwhelmed by mountains of evidence. So they never bothered to look at the devices of Hillary’s closest aides. How cozy!
It’s inconceivable that such a lackadaisical approach would ever be used against Trump’s aides. Instead, what this screams is that there was no will to find obvious evidence of wrongdoing.
I don’t believe these conclusions will surprise anyone who was paying attention to the facts, rather than dismissing them all out of hand through their own bias against Trump. Still, confirmation that this was going on at the FBI during an election will not make people feel any more trust in institutions like the FBI until Washington delivers some justice.
Mara Schiffren, a Campus Watch Fellow, is a writer and certified functional medicinal health coach who lives in North Salem.