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The Justice Department’s inspector general released its long-awaited report into the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on Thursday, releasing a nearly 600 page report with eight attachments and two indices.
Below are the five most important takeaways.
The inspector general found that it was “extraordinary and insubordinate” for Comey to do his July 5 news conference without telling his bosses at the Department of Justice. That news conference was the one in which Comey announced that no reasonable prosecutor would charge Hillary Clinton with a crime — but called Clinton’s actions “extremely careless.”
The inspector general concluded that “we found none of [Comey’s] reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies in a way intentionally designed to avoid supervision by Department leadership over his actions.”
Clinton has said that Comey’s decision to announce that he was re-opening the investigation in the days before the 2016 election may have cost her the race. The inspector general called Comey’s announcement “a serious error in judgement,” and found that the FBI had no good explanation for not acting sooner.
By the end of September, the FBI “had learned virtually every fact that was cited by the FBI in late October as justification for obtaining the search warrant” to access a laptop containing emails from Clinton, the inspector general wrote.
Comey told the inspector general that when he first learned of the emails, they “didn’t index” with him. He told the inspector general that if he had known the email review could have been completed before the election, he may not have notified Congress.
While the inspector general largely found that the investigation into Clinton’s emails was free from bias, there was one notable exception.
As part of his investigation, the inspector general reviewed more than 40,000 text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, two senior Justice Department officials who were involved in both the Clinton email investigation and the investigation into Russian meddling.
Some compromising text messages had already been made public, but one in which Strzok said that “We’ll stop” Trump from becoming president is new.
The inspector general found the messages “cast a cloud” over the FBI, and did not rule out that Strzok may have failed to aggressively pursue the Clinton investigation as a result of political bias.
The investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server was conducted by a number of FBI investigators, including Comey, who were using personal email addresses, the inspector general found.
Comey, Strzok and Page all at times used personal email addresses to conduct government business, according to the report.
“We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business,” the report found.
The report noted that at a 2016 FBI conference in San Diego, Comey had said he had received “emails from some employees about this, who said, ‘If I did what Hillary Clinton did I’d be in huge trouble.'”
“My response is you bet your ass you’d be in huge trouble,” Comey said.
A twist that surprised nobody: Republicans and Democrats are both claiming vindication following the release of the report.
“The consequence of these serious errors of judgment, however, is now clear: the actions of the FBI and DOJ in the run up to the 2016 election benefited Donald Trump’s candidacy and harmed that of Hillary Clinton,” Adam Schiff, D-CA, said in a statement.
According to Bob Goodlatte, R-VA, the report “confirms that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received special treatment from the Obama Justice Department during its investigation of her use of a private email server.”
James Comey, for his part, wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times that “even in hindsight I think we chose the course most consistent with institutional values.”
Another winner: Clinton. The report found that the FBI was correct not to prosecute her.
In a post on Twitter Thursday evening, Clinton issued a three word statement: “But my emails.”