I’ve been working my way through the 500 pages of the Inspector General report, and at the same time, listening to FBI Christopher Wray and the Inspector General Michael Horowitz in the congressional hearing. Occasionally, I listen to Fox News nonsense, to hear Lou Dobbs and Ed Rollins tell me what a horrible state we are in with subversive Democrats pulling the strings, operating in some deep state cabal.
Cabal: a secret political clique or faction. “a cabal of dissidents” synonyms: clique, faction, coterie, cell, sect, junta, camarilla;
We were doing just fine with James Comey, as Director of the FBI, and Christopher Wray is also very capable. I’ve included Director Wray’s biography. I think Trump believed he could change the course of the Russian investigation with Comey, and was upset when this wasn’t working. He won’t have any better success with Wray and can’t afford to fire Wray.
The chief complaint against FBI Director Comey was excessive transparency. His disclosure to Congress in October 2016 of reopening the email scandal likely hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of being elected. Director Wray spoke about the need for balancing two essential competing requirements – the need to keep the Congress’s oversight committees informed on FBI work in general, and the need to keep FBI sources and methods confidential during an ongoing investigation. I call this the simultaneous need for transparency and opaqueness. At some point, he will be accused of concealment of vital information sought by Congress. It’s all part of the job.
Finally, the texting stuff between FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok. In hindsight, the chief crime in all this, was their decision to use FBI issued cell phones to carry on personal conversations. They did this because they were in a relation and did not want their spouses to know. In one exchange on Aug. 8, 2016, according to the IG report, Page wrote, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok’s response: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” It should be remembered this was supposed to be a personal private conversation, and joking, exaggeration or excessive chutzpah are allowed. The inspector general conducted over 100 interviews, and ultimately cleared Page and Strzok of any political bias in the decisions they were involved in.
Revealing the personal chatter between these two individuals gets pretty silly at some point. It was a relationship for god sake- they were sharing intimate secrets and passions. Peter Strzok by August 2016, had potentially damning information on Trump’s campaign officials, but it was complicated and highly circumstantial. If he wanted to, he could have done severe damage to Trump’s campaign. He and everyone at the FBI kept a tight lid on what they knew at the time. Strzok chose opaqueness, as any other decision would compromise his professionalism at the FBI. Yet, partisan Republican are going after Strzok big time, because he was part of the Mueller investigation, and the only one they have some dirt on. He is the Director of Human Resources at the FBI, so there is nothing in his current work they can attack.
Everyone in the FBI is entitled to personal political opinions. They can love or hate the current or future president. But, what will not be repeated for a long time, is personal conversations on government issued cell phones. There is spying on employees at work in private businesses, and cellphones become much more of a liability than an asset.
Director Comey would have been blasted by Republicans for concealment of critical information, had he not gone public with his announcement in July 2016, Loretta Lynch was also routinely attacked by Fox News and conservatives in Congress in 2016, for what appeared to be a rubber stamp of Comey’s clearing Clinton of wrongdoing. There wasn’t a winning option in all of this.
Trump has gone off into another orbit on this, saying the IG report exonerates him of firing Comey and that Comey’s conduct was criminal. Wrong on both accounts. The firing of Comey was pretty close to obstruction of justice, as Trump was asking for Comey’s loyalty in the investigation of Michael Flynn. That’s why Comey was fired and not his excessive transparency in July 2016.
What the IG didn’t find is likely why the Democrats are embracing the report. The IG found no evidence that the political bias of FBI agents had any role in the investigation. The email investigation was done thoroughly by the FBI.
Bottom line: All evidence points to an honest and hardworking FBI in 2016, 2017 and we still have one today.
See link below:
Factcheck.org: Trump Misleads on IG Report
Director Wray – Wikipedia:
Wray joined the government in 1997 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he moved to the Justice Department as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.
On June 9, 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Wray to be the 33rd Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Wray was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on September 11, 2003. Wray was Assistant Attorney General from 2003 to 2005, working under Deputy Attorney General James Comey. While heading the Criminal Division, Wray oversaw prominent fraud investigations, including Enron. In March 2005, Wray announced that he would resign from his post. His last day at the Justice Department was on May 17, 2005.
In 2005, Wray received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Justice Department’s highest award for public service and leadership.