<figure> <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2018.06/article/5b22701cfc7e932d3d8b458d.jpg"> <figcaption>Hillary Clinton © Joshua Roberts / <span class="copyright">Reuters</span></figcaption> </figure> <strong>The US Department of Justice has released a long-awaited report looking into the FBI’s handling of its investigation into the use of a private email server by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Republicans had been impatiently awaiting the release of the report into the law enforcement agency’s probe, and recent reports had suggested that Inspector General Michael Horowitz's document would be critical of both the Justice Department itself and the FBI.
Former FBI Director James Comey made a “serious error of judgment” when he announced shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election that he was reopening an investigation into candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said in the report .
Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that Comey did not exhibit any political bias or try to influence the election.
It also criticized him for violating Justice Department policies and accused him of usurping the authority of Attorney General Loretta Lynch when in July 2016 he announced there would be no charges against Clinton for her email use as secretary of state.
In addition, the report was highly critical of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI staff members who exchanged highly charged political messages, finding their texts cast a cloud over the FBI and created the appearance of bias.
Comey caused outrage in 2016, when 10 days before the presidential election between Trump and Hillary Clinton, he announced the reopening of the investigation into Clinton’s use of an email server – something which Democrats said was a major cause of her defeat.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s probe has already exposed two incidents that Republican lawmakers say show wrongdoings by the DOJ. In April, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was the subject of a harsh report accusing him of leaking information to the media to “advance his personal interests” and subsequently misleading the department during an investigation into the incident.
Horowitz also revealed internal text messages between two FBI agents and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which were critical of Trump and which Republicans used as further proof that law enforcement agencies were acting against Trump’s campaign.
Comey angered Trump when, after his firing, he handed over memos documenting his interactions with the president to a friend and asked him to share them with the media in the hope that they would lead to the appointment of a special counsel to lead an investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged dealings with Russia, which ultimately happened with the appointment of Robert S. Mueller in 2017.
Horowitz is expected to come before Congress to be questioned about the report in a series of hearings next week.