Inspector General Says Comey Blew It

Jeff Malet/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The 500-page (!) inspector general’s report on the FBI’s conduct during the 2016 presidential campaign will be released in a few hours, but I probably won’t have time to get to it today. Luckily, the New York Times has gotten a sneak peek:

The former F.B.I. director James B. Comey was insubordinate in his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, a critical Justice Department report has concluded, according to officials and others who saw or were briefed on it.

But the report, by the department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, does not challenge the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton. Nor does it conclude that political bias at the F.B.I. influenced that decision, the officials said.

“We found no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations,” the report said, according to one official who read the sentence to The New York Times. “Rather, we concluded that they were based on the prosecutor’s assessment of facts, the law, and past department practice.”

I assume that questioning the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton is beyond the scope of the IG’s remit. At least, I hope it is. But I don’t think it matters. Puerile chants of “Lock her up!” notwithstanding, it’s abundantly clear that Clinton did nothing seriously wrong. The FBI’s own reports leave no real doubt about that.

Beyond that, I’ll be curious to see if the IG draws the obvious conclusion about Comey’s conduct: it probably wasn’t motivated by crude political bias, but it was motivated by a fear of Republican reprisals. It was clear from the start that congressional Republicans wanted blood, and Comey felt like he had to deliver some to keep the FBI out of their crosshairs. Republicans worked the refs ceaselessly, and it worked out spectacularly for them.

Anyway, now we get to look forward to Donald Trump crowing about this, even though he egged on Comey’s actions and they were responsible for his election victory. I’m not sure I can stand that, so it’s just as well that I won’t be around this afternoon.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate