President Donald Trump on June 5 questioned the delayed release of a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general on how officials handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
For over a year, Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been investigating alleged misconduct in the handling of the Clinton-email probe. The report was expected to be released to the public in May, but has most recently been pushed back after the Senate judiciary committee rescheduled its hearing with Horowitz to June 11.
The draft version of the report has been submitted to the FBI and the Justice Department so that authorities can determine what information needs to be redacted. The document is reportedly extremely long and detailed, which may account for the delays.
“What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. Numerous delays,” Trump wrote on Twitter on June 5. “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!”
What is taking so long with the Inspector General’s Report on Crooked Hillary and Slippery James Comey. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
The inspector general’s investigation has already resulted in the firing and criminal investigation of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Horowitz found that McCabe authorized a self-serving leak to the media and lied about it under oath to investigators. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington has already questioned McCabe’s former boss, former FBI Director James Comey, as part of the case that sprung from Horowitz’s referral.
Clinton sent thousands of classified emails using an unsecured personal email server. When Clinton was facing scrutiny over the mishandling of classified documents, it was reported that more than 30,000 emails were wiped from her server, adding potential charges of destroying evidence and obstructing justice.
The FBI handled Clinton’s case in part during the 2016 presidential election. The agency took several steps that thrust the email case into the national spotlight.
Comey publicly exonerated Clinton in July 2016, in contradiction of Justice Department policy. A Senate judiciary committee investigation has since determined that Comey drafted his exoneration letter before completing the investigation and before interviewing key witnesses, including Clinton herself.
The agency interview of Clinton raised additional questions. The interview took place less than a week after Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a private meeting with former President Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac.
During the 3 1/2-hour interview with the FBI, Hillary Clinton was not placed under oath or recorded. Meanwhile, the agent who conducted the interview, Peter Strzok, has since been revealed to be biased against Trump. Early in 2016, Strzok exchanged text messages with his mistress, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, indicating that both thought it would be advantageous to go easy on Clinton, since they thought she may be the next president.
Comey reentered the national spotlight on Oct. 28, 2016, with the announcement that he would be reopening the Clinton email investigation. At least a month earlier, FBI agents in New York had discovered thousands of Clinton’s emails during their investigation of former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s communications with underage girls. Weiner is the husband of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton.
Comey’s announcement came less than two weeks before the presidential election, triggering a media firestorm about the timing. But now the question is, why did the FBI sit on the new emails for nearly a month, and who is responsible for the delay?
Two days before the election and 10 days after reopening the investigation, Comey again closed Clinton’s case, saying that no problematic emails were found after agents had worked around the clock to review more than 650,000 emails.
It turned out that the agents reviewed less than 1 percent of those emails.
“Thanks to the wizardry of our technology,” Comey told lawmakers last year. “We’ve only had to personally read 6,000.”