On Thursday, the Department of Justice Inspector General released a report that found former FBI director James Comey had broken protocol by keeping documents in his home and releasing some to the media, including ones containing classified information. The documents had to do with President Donald Trump's alleged attempts to secure Comey's loyalty and shut down investigations into former security advisor Michael Flynn.
Writing in the Washington Post, conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin warned about the report, noting that the DoJ is hardly trustworthy under Trump.
"With William P. Barr as President Trump’s attorney general, one must always keep in mind that everything out of this Justice Department will be spun, shaded or, in the case of Robert S. Mueller III’s report, misrepresented with the sole purpose of exonerating Trump of any malfeasance and attacking his political opponents," Rubin writes.
"Unfortunately, the media, as it did with Barr’s letter and news conference about the Mueller report, too often accepts the spin without examining the underlying documents."
She points out that the report did not find Comey violated any law, a standard Trump continues to apply to investigations targeting his administration.
"Enter Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. His report reiterates that DOJ declined prosecution — which by Trump’s own standards is an exoneration. The DOJ could not find that Comey broke the law," Rubin writes.
"The president lied when he accused Comey of violating laws protecting classified information. In a lengthy recap of the memos, Comey’s copying of the memos, his providing memos to the press via a friend and Comey’s testimony, the inspector general repeats several times that there was no prosecution."
Rubin points out that the president's behavior is the real issue.
"In fact, the memos only lightly touched on Flynn; they related to the president’s illegality in handling the Flynn matter," she writes. "The inspector general nevertheless concludes Comey violated department policy by not getting a sign-off for release to the media."
Rubin has hopes that the media will get the story right.
"The headlines will dutifully report Horowitz’s finding that Comey didn’t get sign off under DOJ rules," she says.
"It would be helpful if they pointed out that the IG reaffirmed Trump’s lies about illegality. It would be even better if the media, which received the Comey documents and wrote stories critical to educating the public about Trump’s obstruction, reminds readers of the context for Comey’s actions."