- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 7, 2018

The inspector general reviewing the Obama administration’s handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election plans to release his report June 14.

Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, also said he will appear on Capitol Hill on June 18 to answer questions about his findings, which reportedly ding both former FBI Director James B. Comey and former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch for their handling.

Mr. Horowitz laid out the timeline in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The report will cover the FBI and Justice Department’s decisions during the 2016 election, including moves to clear Mrs. Clinton — then publicly talk about the investigation — in the middle of the campaign.

“We will release the report as soon as we complete the OIG’s ordinary processes for the review and classification of such reports, which we have been following,” Mr. Horowitz said in the letter. “Most of this process is now complete, and we anticipate releasing the report on June 14, 2018.”

That explanation appears to answer complaints from President Trump, who earlier this week speculated that there may be shenanigans going on with the report.

“What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays,” the president tweeted Tuesday. “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!”

The report is expected to be a harsh rebuke of both Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch for their conduct in the Clinton investigation, multiple media outlets said this week. Mr. Comey is said to be chastised for ignoring the Justice Department’s objections when he sent a letter to Congress announcing the FBI had reopened the Clinton probe just days before the election.

At least one senior Justice Department official told Mr. Comey that the publicizing the investigation in the critical final days of an election would violate department policy and federal rules regarding the disclosure of information in an ongoing investigation, ABC News reported Wednesday.

Mr. Comey is also rapped for failing to notify Ms. Lynch and other Justice Department officials before his July 5, 2016, press conference exonerating Mrs. Clinton, according to the ABC News report.

The ex-FBI director said there was no clear evidence that Mrs. Clinton intended to break the law, but did say it was “extremely careless” for her to use a private server to handle sensitive, highly classified information.

During the publicity tour to promote his book, Mr. Comey has staunchly defended his handling of the Clinton email investigation. He said even if the letter did hand the election to Mr. Trump, it was “the right thing.”

“I’m not trying to help a candidate or hurt a candidate; I’m trying to do the right thing,” he said in an April interview with George Stephanopoulos.

Mr. Horowitz also blasts Ms. Lynch, according to media reports. She is said to be taken to task for her meeting with former President Bill Clinton inside a plane sitting on a tarmac in Arizona while the email probe was ongoing.

Once the meeting became public and questions arose about whether Mr. Clinton improperly tried to influence the investigation into his wife, Ms. Lynch refused to recuse herself. Instead, Ms. Lynch said she would accept the FBI’s recommendations.

After Mr. Comey criticized her role in the email investigation while promoting his book, Ms. Lynch said in a statement that “the evidence and law” justified exonerating Mrs. Clinton.

Despite its criticism of the key Obama-era Justice Department officials, it is not known if the report concludes if anger toward Mr. Trump influenced those decisions.

The latest report will only focus on the Clinton email investigation. A review of potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses by the FBI and Justice Department, which was announced in March, will remain separate.

Mr. Horowitz’s FISA review will determine if the agencies acted improperly when it sought warrants to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The FBI is said to have relied on the discredited anti-Trump dossier funded by Democrats to secure the warrant.

Mr. Horowitz’s review of the Clinton investigation, which began last year, has already had an impact. It has lead to a separate report concluding former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to investigators about leaking information to the press about the email probe. That conclusion led to Mr. McCabe’s firing and a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The review also uncovered anti-Trump texts from FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were briefly part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Ms. Page has since left the FBI and Mr. Strzok has been reassigned.


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