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Justice Dept. internal report expected to fault former FBI, DOJ officials

The highly anticipated report from the Justice Department's inspector general is expected to yield an unvarnished acc...

Posted: Jun 7, 2018 12:26 PM
Updated: Jun 7, 2018 12:26 PM

The highly anticipated report from the Justice Department's inspector general is expected to yield an unvarnished account of multiple missteps by former top officials at the department and FBI for their failure to follow long-standing protocols in the handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, according to sources familiar with the matter.

While sources caution the report is not yet final, and responses from individuals named in the report will be included, the exhaustive review of a momentous period in the department's history is expected to criticize former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the investigation at key junctures for violating departmental norms. Of particular focus are the events leading up to his decision to announce in July 2016, without Justice Department approval, that "no reasonable prosecutor" would recommend charges against Clinton, as well as the decision to tell lawmakers days before the November 2016 election that FBI agents had recovered additional emails possibly relevant to the investigation.

CNN reported that at the time that Comey was advised by the Justice Department that his letter to Congress would run counter to department policy to not comment publicly on investigations close to an election, but he sent it anyway.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to recommend the department devise further written guidelines that would have addressed some of the actions taken by Comey.

Conservative media outlets, White House officials and President Donald Trump's personal lawyers have all eagerly awaited the report's release for months, taking particular interest in its conclusions about the former FBI director.

"What is taking so long with the Inspector General's Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays. Hope Report is not being changed and made weaker! There are so many horrible things to tell, the public has the right to know. Transparency!" Trump wrote.

In response to questions about any purported delays, a Justice Department spokesperson said Wednesday: "We are following the ordinary process."

Few have seen the entire report and its conclusions, leaving even those shown portions of the draft in the dark about the complete report's bottom line.

One crucial question is the extent to which the inspector general will provide clarity on whether political bias tainted the outcome of the investigation, providing the President with further ammunition to lambaste those in law enforcement or offering a more nuanced assessment. When Horowitz announced the review in January 2017, he said it would address whether "certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations."

But sources tell CNN that Comey is not the only one who will receive a tough judgment from Horowitz.

The report is also critical of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, though sources could not provide further details. Lynch came under scrutiny during the campaign for meeting with former President Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Arizona in late June 2016. She did not formally recuse herself from the investigation after criticism arose over the encounter, but rather said she would accept the recommendations of career Justice Department staff and the FBI.

Another source briefed on the report said it's expected to criticize former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for the apparent lag between the time that agents discovered possible Clinton investigation-related emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop in late September 2016 and when the FBI obtained a search warrant in late October 2016.

As part of his review, Horowitz's office uncovered a stockpile of private text messages exchanged between two top FBI officials who regularly mocked Trump, dreading that he would win the presidency. Given their roles at the FBI and brief stints on special counsel Robert Mueller's team, the texts have been regularly held up by Trump and his allies as the textbook example of political bias infecting the FBI -- which will heighten the ultimate findings reached by the inspector general on that score.

Representatives for Comey, Lynch and McCabe declined to comment.

One aspect of Horowitz's report that remains unclear is how it will address the "allegations that the Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information."

One source familiar with the scope of the report said accusations that FBI agents in New York leaked information about the Clinton investigation to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani have been examined.

Giuliani confirmed on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that he has been interviewed by the inspector general's office, but when asked about his exposure in the report by Chuck Todd, and whether he expects to be named as a recipient of leaks, he said: "Absolutely not."

"I didn't get any leaked information from the FBI," Giuliani said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 726600

Reported Deaths: 13379
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion992781737
Lake53359964
Allen40387675
St. Joseph35449550
Hamilton35440408
Elkhart28376439
Tippecanoe22336217
Vanderburgh22271396
Porter18637306
Johnson17876377
Hendricks17154314
Clark12919191
Madison12574339
Vigo12426245
Monroe11845169
LaPorte11773210
Delaware10615185
Howard9859215
Kosciusko9366117
Hancock8239140
Bartholomew8042155
Warrick7766155
Floyd7645177
Grant7019174
Wayne7018199
Boone6669101
Morgan6547139
Dubois6148117
Marshall6000111
Dearborn578577
Cass5780105
Henry5681102
Noble558283
Jackson500472
Shelby489496
Lawrence4492120
Gibson434391
Harrison434271
Clinton426853
DeKalb425284
Montgomery423388
Whitley394439
Huntington387480
Steuben382957
Miami380266
Knox371890
Jasper362747
Putnam358560
Wabash353178
Adams340654
Ripley338970
Jefferson328881
White312854
Daviess295899
Wells290481
Decatur283592
Fayette278662
Greene276685
Posey270933
LaGrange264770
Scott264753
Clay259245
Randolph239781
Washington239532
Spencer231331
Jennings229248
Starke214452
Fountain211946
Sullivan211042
Owen197056
Fulton194640
Jay191830
Carroll188120
Perry182637
Orange182454
Rush172925
Vermillion168343
Franklin167735
Tipton162345
Parke145916
Blackford134532
Pike133034
Pulaski116045
Newton107034
Brown101541
Crawford99114
Benton98414
Martin87815
Warren81415
Switzerland7848
Union70710
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1080121

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1254981392
Cuyahoga1115202107
Hamilton798171200
Montgomery512711012
Summit46997933
Lucas41982782
Butler38273580
Stark32190907
Lorain24910480
Warren24249297
Mahoning21474586
Lake20586368
Clermont19727238
Delaware18496131
Licking16396210
Fairfield16144199
Trumbull15996466
Medina15233262
Greene15027244
Clark13960297
Wood13056188
Portage12806201
Allen11609231
Richland11308198
Miami10659215
Muskingum8795132
Wayne8777210
Columbiana8756229
Pickaway8547121
Marion8511135
Tuscarawas8467243
Erie7859154
Hancock6900126
Ross6835152
Ashtabula6777169
Geauga6665148
Scioto6398101
Belmont5856167
Union570047
Lawrence5542102
Jefferson5511151
Huron5422119
Darke5344122
Sandusky5330120
Seneca5268121
Athens518258
Washington5148109
Auglaize488484
Mercer480185
Shelby468593
Knox4479110
Madison435461
Putnam4268100
Ashland421289
Fulton420969
Defiance418997
Crawford3965106
Brown392957
Logan381176
Preble379098
Clinton370561
Ottawa366279
Highland353861
Williams338075
Champaign330458
Guernsey315453
Jackson312051
Perry294550
Morrow283839
Fayette281449
Hardin270364
Henry268166
Coshocton264258
Holmes2590101
Van Wert242863
Pike237433
Adams237052
Gallia235048
Wyandot230654
Hocking215162
Carroll191247
Paulding172440
Meigs144639
Noble133337
Monroe131942
Morgan108323
Harrison107537
Vinton82415
Unassigned02
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We'll start Friday off dry, but the chance of rain returns. Scattered showers will be possible by late morning until the evening.
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