Lisa Page: [Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!
Peter Strzok: No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.
Set aside --- for the moment --- the Inspector General’s perplexing minimization of the role played by political bias in the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s email case. (And perhaps you’ll want to take the opportunity to swallow some Pepto-Bismol to fight the waves of nausea.) This exchange of text messages in August of 2016, which for some reason wasn’t even discovered until last month, may speak more eloquently than the entire 568-page report about the political climate at the FBI.
Strzok and Page weren’t rank-and-file staffers at the FBI. Strzok was a top-level player, central to both the Hillary and Trump/Russia probes (he was even on the Mueller team till some of his anti-Trump text messages emerged), and, unbelievably, he's remained employed at the FBI with his security clearance intact. Lisa Page was the legal assistant to deputy Director Andrew McCabe –- surely the “Andy” referred to in another anti-Trump exchange with Strzok about the “insurance policy.” And these two weren’t the only ones; the IG report includes other anti-Trump texters. (No anti-Hillary or pro-Trump texts were to be found.) The report shows an FBI clearly infected with anti-Trump bias.
This report is so long that it’s going to take a while to work through it –- keeping in mind that it’s undergone weeks of DOJ “review” –- but we quickly see it does acknowledge that the FBI under James Comey went far afield of protocol in its investigation of Hillary, as we already knew it had done. Horowitz is firm in his condemnation of that, particularly in the damage it caused to the credibility of the FBI. The report is similarly stark in its comparison of the kid-glove treatment given Hillary and her witnesses to the unsparing approach taken with the Trump campaign, but we already knew about that, too.
We learn that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch showed “an error in judgment” in meeting with Bill Clinton in June of 2016 (gosh, really?) and “clearly did not understand the implications,” particularly in terms of bad optics. Sorry to disagree, but I think Loretta Lynch understands perfectly well the implications of everything she says and does, and that includes knowing when she’s going to get away with something.
Significantly, the report confirms that Hillary’s classified-but-nonsecure emails were indeed “compromised by unauthorized individuals to include foreign governments and intelligence services via cyberintrusion and other means.” One such document was even classified SECRET. Yet Horowitz bizarrely concludes that there's no proof of bias having any effect on outcomes in the Hillary case and offers no opinion on the question of whether, under the circumstances, her case should be reopened. She skates again.
Incidentally, Horowitz notes that “President Barack Obama was one of the 13 individuals with whom Clinton had direct contact using her clintonemail.com account.” Obama lied about not knowing about her private email acount. Think anything will come of that?
Horowitz actually admits that there was “a willingness to take official action to impact Trump’s electoral prospects.” Given that, and the way the Hillary investigation was handled, his conclusion that there’s no proof of bias driving the decisions regarding her case makes me feel as though we’re all being “gaslighted,” a reference to the classic film GASLIGHT with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. She clearly sees the lights in the house going down; he tells her they’re not. She clearly hears footsteps in the attic; he tells her she’s imagining things. After months of this, she doubts her own mind and even her sanity and becomes resigned to whatever fate her husband chooses for her. It finally takes someone else to come in and prove that she was right about those things and was being deceived.
Some of my readers feel that same resignation, thinking the swamp will never be drained and that we’re at the mercy of our once-cherished institutions from here on in. And they’re right to believe that without major intervention, this is a preview of America's future. The question is, who will provide that intervention and what form will it take? It has to happen now.
From Kim Strassel at the Wall Street Journal, here is much more detail on the bias found by Horowitz:
FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared at a press conference Thursday to address the problems outlined in the report. He said the FBI had not made “the best choices” (a masterpiece of understatement) but that they would hold employees accountable for any misconduct through the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Oh, and all senior executives from around the world will “convene for in-depth training, specifically focused on learning the lessons that we should learn from this report.” That should do it! (If senior executives still need “training” on something as basic as this, what does that tell you?) They plan to stress “the importance of objectivity, of avoiding even the appearance of personal conflicts or political bias in our work,” including with recusals.
Hey, does this mean deputy AG Rosenstein is finally going to recuse himself? No?
I’ll have a lot more later, but right now I have to go take a little more Pepto, to settle my stomach. In the meantime, in case you’ve already taken yours, here’s the entire report...