Obama had direct contact with Clinton on private email server: IG report

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

It was one of the most controversial investigations in modern FBI history and entangled the bureau, which usually stands apart from politics, in the 2016 presidential election.

The inspector general's report concluded that Comey, who announced in the summer of 2016 that Clinton would not be charged with any crime in the email probe, departed from normal Justice Department protocol numerous times.

But the report found no evidence to support Donald Trump's claim that the agency was motivated by political bias against him as it investigates potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

While some of their messages were anti-Trump, others took aim at lawmakers such as USA senator Bernie Sanders, whom Mrs Clinton defeated for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"This was a cabal", he said of officials who included fired FBI Director James Comey, officials Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and others.

President Trump is likely to seize on the report to argue he was right to fire the former FBI director, who had been leading an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "The report does identify errors of judgment, violations of or even disregard for policy, and decisions that at the very least - with the benefit of hindsight - were not the best choices", Wray said.

The report also criticizes Comey for not keeping then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other Justice Department superiors properly informed about his handling of the investigation.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation continues to move closer towards the President's inner-circle.

The IG report's criticism of Comey's late October 2016 re-opening of the Clinton email investigation, and its findings of Comey's own private email use, certainly qualify as "damning revelations" against the legitimacy of the 2016 election. "The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation", the report reads.

The DOJ watchdog also concluded that Comey was out of line in informing the public about an investigation into Clinton at any point in time, since it is FBI policy not to disclose anything about an investigation that may or may not be taking place. Wray also stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation "accepted" the findings and suggestions made by the inspector general, including the part of the watchdog's report which found that Federal Bureau of Investigation employees "at all levels of the organization" were in "frequent contact with reporters".

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees, in a memo obtained by Fox News, outlined their findings in their separate investigation on decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016 and 2017.

This report makes clear that FBI Director Comey and FBI personnel failed to follow the rules, and in doing so, hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign and helped Donald Trump's. Cases that end without charges are rarely discussed publicly.

Comey declined to comment when approached Thursday in Minneapolis.

"I chose to speak and tell the truth", Mr Comey wrote.

Lynch had announced that she would go along with whatever Comey recommended with regard to the Clinton case, although she didn't formally recuse herself. An earlier inspector general report criticized McCabe and led to his firing on allegations that he misled internal investigators about his role in a news media disclosure.

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