With last week’s release of DOJ Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s report on the FBI/DOJ’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, we may well be in the midst of a never-ending story.
Horowitz emerges as just another doctor unwilling to diagnose an obviously pregnant woman as “pregnant.” In his report, he fails to acknowledge political bias in FBI decision-making, despite clear indications otherwise. Nonetheless, the report is important for revealing why.
The story seems never-ending as the call now goes out for an investigation into the Mueller investigation and FBI Director James Comey officially is now under investigation. Meanwhile, the catalyst for all these investigations – Hillary Clinton – sits back contriving new reasons why she lost the election. Yet, of two separate investigations to date – Comey’s and the IG’s – neither focuses on the “Big Lie” Hillary told and upon which the former relied to give her a free pass for lacking intent. Hillary’s own words come back to haunt her.
The IG did conclude Comey had departed “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.” The IG refused to second-guess FBI conclusions in the Hillary email investigation, only examining hard facts.
Horowitz was unwilling to crawl inside Comey’s mind, or that of Peter Stzrok – whose own texts revealed he was on a personal jihad to defeat Trump, initially by giving Hillary a free pass and then, post-election, to destroy him once on the Mueller investigative team, even bragging he had “unfinished business” to do. Clearly, Stzrok had no interest in fairness. He sought not to be just another FBI assistant director but one participating in an “investigation leading to impeachment.”
Incredulously, despite all this and Stzrok’s influence over Comey, the IG concluded, “we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part.”
Not even Stzrok influencing Comey to change Comey’s wording on the Hillary investigation findings (modified from “grossly negligent” actions – the standard legally required for criminality – to “extremely careless”) would convince Horowitz otherwise.
Interestingly, while the IG refused to second-guess Comey’s mindset, Comey, in the Hillary investigation, second-guessed her mindset by finding lack of intent in violating classification laws. But Comey was wrong to do so as intent is immaterial.
There should be little doubt Hillary’s actions in handling classified material over an unauthorized server violated the classification laws. In fact, there may be as many as fifteen criminal law violations Hillary committed relating to her email scandal, including destruction of evidence while under a subpoena to preserve same. (Additionally, her IT specialist who oversaw the deletion of tens of thousands of Hillary’s emails obstructing justice by lying twice to investigators received immunity.) As intent did not matter, Comey concluding Hillary’s actions were not intentional was his immaterial perception of her immaterial mindset that was immaterial for determining prosecution.
Some of Hillary’s transgressions are analogous to a speeding driver. A police officer stopping a driver for speeding cares not whether the driver acted with intent to do so as speeding, itself, is the offense. If the officer, recognizing Hillary as the driver, then decides not to issue a ticket, a political bias question arises.
On its face, there would seem to be only two logical reasons for Comey “departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms.”
The first, which the IG found non-existent, is political bias. This seems farfetched as the “norms” from which Comey departed are unmatched in other FBI investigations. Those norms included writing a draft conclusion of non-prosecution before interviewing a key witness, interviewing Hillary without placing her under oath, allowing other potential witnesses to be present during her questioning, failing to determine what role she played in destroying evidence, etc.
The only collusion found appears to be the media and FBI agents at all levels who, given gifts, tried to affect the 2016 presidential election.
However, the IG’s failure to find political bias is almost as disturbing as Comey’s failure to find Hillary prosecutable.
A second reason Comey may not have found Hillary prosecutable is total incompetence in recognizing elements of the underlying crimes.
Sadly, Hillary’s original criminal act has triggered a chain of politically motivated cover-ups and incompetencies committed by the FBI, DOJ, the IG and members of the Obama administration.
But, with the release of the IG report, we now know a third reason why Hillary was found non-prosecutable.
The Center for Disease Control probably should have been notified of an outbreak suffered by the Obama administration – a widespread malady involving gross negligence in handling classified material and a flagrant disregard for national security. For, as it turns out, Hillary’s disregard for classified communications was contagious – the IG found both Comey and Obama also used personal emails to transmit classified material. Obama knowingly corresponded with Hillary on her private server “while in the territory of a foreign adversary” (an observation Comey chose to omit from his report), after which he lied about not having done so. Thus, a Hillary criminal prosecution would have triggered prosecutions of other key Obama administration players.
Despite Comey’s report deleting Obama’s name, referring to him as “another senior government official,” again the IG was reluctant to find any political bias.
There is one final disturbing aspect on which both the Comey and the IG investigations failed to focus. No investigator bothered comparing Hillary’s answers during her July 2016 FBI questioning, claiming lack of knowledge about classified material markings, to her televised commander in chief interview with Matt Lauer two months later, asserting she well understood the markings due to her six years on the Senate Armed Services Committee (2003-2009).
During the latter interview, Hillary almost boastfully exclaimed, “I have a lot of experience dealing with classified material, starting when I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee going into the four years as secretary of state. Classified material has a header which says ‘top secret,’ ‘secret,’ ‘confidential.'” [Emphasis added.]
Hillary’s boastful claim to Lauer about understanding classified markings for years stands in sharp contrast to her sheepish denial during the FBI interview she did not.
Is Hillary lying? Like the semantic defense Bill Clinton raised during his 1998 deposition, it depends on what one’s definition of “is” is.