FORMER FBI director James Comey made a "serious error of judgement" when he announced shortly before the 2016 USA presidential election he was reopening an investigation into candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server, the Justice Department's internal watchdog said.
In the report, the Justice Department's internal auditor on sharply criticized Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe during the 2016 election, but said investigators found no evidence that his conduct was motivated by "political bias".
"I did nothing wrong, there was no obstruction".
"We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business", said Inspector General Michael Horowitz in the official report of the investigation.
It said Comey was insubordinate and guilty of bad judgement, and also showed several agents involved in the investigation repeatedly expressing anti-Trump bias in private text messages. Right?!" Strzok responded by saying, "No.
That's according to a person familiar with the report's conclusions who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
A May 2016 email from FBI investigator Peter Strzok shows the agency knew at that time some classified information had been hacked from Clinton's private server.
"I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off, "she later said".
The startling news of Comey's private email use is only one of several embarrassing revelations about the conduct of Federal Bureau of Investigation officials documented in the Inspect General's report.
The FBI is now led by someone Trump picked, Director Christopher A. Wray.
Among the actions scrutinized is Comey's decision to publicly announce his recommendation against prosecuting Clinton, and his disclosure to Congress days before the election that the investigation was being revived because of newly discovered emails.
Those text exchanges caused the inspector general to evaluate whether any of Strzok's decisions were affected by political considerations, and raised concerns that there was a "willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate's electoral prospects".
What does the report say about Comey?
"Peter Strzok should not have a job anywhere near our Justice Department", said North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican who is close to Trump, after a briefing on the report.
Mueller is investigating whether Trump associates coordinated with Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump took steps to shut down that investigation through actions including the firing of Comey.
Meanwhile, Mueller's investigation has recently taken on increased urgency and higher stakes.
U.S. president Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
Comey, of course, was sacked by Trump in May 2017, a move that helped prompt the Justice Department to appoint special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Russian election interference and whether any Americans took part.
"The IG report yesterday went a long way to show that, and I think that the Mueller investigation has been totally discredited", he said.
So the laptop's evidence simmered for a month until just before the 2016 election, Tapper tweets.
Comey has stood by his actions.