Former FBI Director James Comey deviated from the bureau’s norms in handling a probe into former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, but there is no evidence his actions before the 2016 election were motivated by political bias, a Justice Department watchdog report concludes, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
“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,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report’s conclusions, which were obtained by Bloomberg.
The report by Horowitz on the FBI’s handling of a probe into Clinton’s emails, is due to be released publicly at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT). It arose from a review he launched about a week before President Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
The inquiry has focused on whether Comey’s public statements about the FBI probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state were based on “improper considerations.”
In July 2016, Comey held an unusual news conference to explain why the FBI would not be recommending criminal charges against Democrat Clinton over her use of the private server, instead of a State Department server, for some official business.
He chastised Clinton for being “extremely careless” but said there was insufficient evidence to charge her with a federal crime. That upset Republicans who said Comey’s statement could have helped Clinton’s election campaign.
But in October 2016, less than two weeks before Election Day, Comey sent members of Congress a letter disclosing that the probe was being reopened after new emails were found on the computer of the husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Clinton has since said that Comey’s letter contributed to her unexpected defeat by Trump. Two days before the Nov. 8 election, Comey said the FBI had found no additional evidence in the new emails.
The Inspector General also examined whether FBI employees leaked information about investigations of the Clinton Foundation charitable organization and emails in a bid to help Trump’s campaign.
Law enforcement officials previously told Reuters the information was leaked to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, an adviser to the Trump campaign. He now represents Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
The report will also discuss Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI staffers whom Republicans accused of bias against Trump after thousands of text messages sent via their work-issued mobile phones were made public.
While some of their messages were anti-Trump, others took aim at lawmakers such as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, whom Clinton defeated for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Page and Strzok were involved in both the Clinton and Russia probes. Mueller removed Strzok from his team after Horowitz disclosed the texts to him.
Members of several key U.S. House and Senate committees are expected to be briefed on the report in the early afternoon before its public release, according to documents seen by Reuters.
Comey was fired by Trump in May 2017 while leading an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, an allegation the president has denied.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball; Editing by John Walcott and Alistair Bell
Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi collapses and dies in court, state TV says
Mohammed Morsi, the former Egyptian president who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after collapsing in court, state TV said on Monday.
Egypt's public broadcaster said the 67-year-old former president was attending a session in his trial on espionage charges when he blacked out and then died. His body was taken to a hospital, it said.
Morsi, who hailed from Egypt's largest Islamist group, the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president in 2012 in the country's first free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
NBC SCOTUS reporter Pete Williams: ‘I don’t know what the Court wins’ in anti-gay Sweetcakes case ‘except time’
NBC News' Pete Williams has won three national news Emmy awards. He has a reputation for offering very factual reports with little to no personal opinion. Williams for decades has primarily covered the U.S. Supreme Court and Justice Department.Monday morning on MSNBC Williams gave his report on the Supreme Court's order in the "Sweetcakes" case, involving an Oregon Christian couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The case is exceptionally more complicated than that – including alleged doxxing of the same-sex couple and the subsequent death threats they say they received.The U.S. Supreme Court set aside the $135,000 the anti-gay bakers, Melissa and Aaron Klein of Sweetcakes by Melissa, were ordered to pay to the same-sex couples they refused, and told the lower court to re-examine the case in light of the SCOTUS ruling in favor of Colorado anti-gay Christian baker Jack Phillips – which the court had originally made clear applied only to the Phillips case. The Court ruled Phillips was the victim of anti-religious animus by the state.Now, Pete Williams appears to be wondering about the Supreme Court's order, sending the case back to a lower court for review.Asked what today's decision means, Williams responds, "I'm not sure," then delivered his report."So today the Supreme Court sent this Oregon case back with instructions to reconsider in light of the Colorado case, but none of the infirmities that existed in the Colorado case are present in the Oregon case, so I'm not exactly sure what the Oregon courts are going to conclude from this," Williams told viewers."My guess is that if the state sues again, and it probably will, the Oregon courts will rule the same way and the case will come back here," meaning to the Supreme Court."I don't know what the [Supreme] Court gains here other than perhaps time, and letting other cases like this percolate up," Williams said.Exactly.It would appear the Supreme Court is attempting to lay the groundwork for special religious rights that would supersede the rights of LGBTQ people to not be discriminated against.It would appear Williams might agree.Watch:
Cops briefly suspended after video of them beating 16-year-old girl goes viral
Officers in Lansing, Michigan, were placed on leave after video appeared on social media showing them striking a 16-year-old girl, reports WILX.
The officers approached a home where they suspected the girl and a 14-year-old boy -- wanted on probation violations, escape from custody, and runaway warrants -- were staying, police said.
The teens tried to flee, but were captured soon after. After the girl resisted being put into a police car, video shows an officer beat her on the leg.