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Did Former FBI Agent James Comey Take a Departure from Proper Procedures When Investigating Hillary Clinton?

According to a new watchdog report, former FBI Director James Comey may have deviated from normal FBI and Department of Justice procedures when he investigated Hillary Clinton. Even with this, the report notes that Comey did not appear to show political bias in probing the former Secretary of State's private email server. The report is supposed to be released on Thursday.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz of the DOJ conducted the report. According to Bloomberg, Horowitz concluded that Comey was 'insubordinate' when he handled the Clinton investigation. He allegedly damaged the FBI and DOJ's impartial image.

“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” reads the report's conclusion, according to Bloomberg.

Both Republicans and Democrats have slammed Comey for his handling of the investigation. Clinton feels Comey shares a large portion of the blame for her presidential election loss because the former director reopened the investigation just days before voters went to the polls.

“It was obvious at the time that Comey was completely deviating from department protocols and it had a fateful impact on the 2016 campaign and the long-term reputation of the FBI,” said Brian Fallon, a spokesperson for Clinton's campaign.

Trump and his supporters felt Comey was dishonest and that Clinton was given special treatment because of her status in politics. Trump blasted Comey May and fired him. Mr. Trump has been hoping that the inspector general's report would prove that anti-Trump bias played a role in Clinton being exonerated.

“What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey,” tweeted Trump last week. “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!”

When details about the investigation into the email scandal became public, it was found that several key players in the investigation had expressed anti-Trump sentiments. In the upcoming report, Horowitz will admit that the comments 'cast a cloud over the' investigation, however he notes that 'we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed'.

Lack of communication between Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch seems to be a key concern of the special investigator. “We found it extraordinary that, in advance of two such consequential decisions, the FBI director decided that the best course of conduct was to not speak directly and substantively with the attorney general about how best to navigate those decisions,” he wrote.

Lynch herself had come under criticism for taking an unscheduled, unannounced meeting with former President Bill Clinton on the tarmac at an airport in her plane just days before the decision to exonerate Hillary Clinton was announced. Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lynch insisted they did not discuss the case, however.

Horowitz opened yet another review, this one into the DOJ and the FBI followed appropriate procedures in obtaining a warrant to surveil Trump's campaign aide. Even with the upcoming report, it doesn’t look like things are close to being resolved.

Source: The Hill
Photos: Pete Souza, You Tube Screenshot

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