Caricature by DonkeyHotey flic.kr/p/Ct4G4K https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Yesterday, the DOJ IG released his long-awaited 500+ page report on the conduct of the FBI during the Hillary Clinton email investigation. It paints a rather ugly picture of an agency that ignores federal law and views itself as some sort of Praetorian Guard charged with ensuring the correct political outcomes happen. While the DOJ IG, Michael Horowitz, was literally correct in saying there was no documentary evidence of political bias, there is ample evidence in the words and actions of the agency, as a whole, and of individual agents to give the appearance that it saw its mission to protect Hillary Clinton and get Donald Trump. The best example of this, of course, is in the text messages exchanged between the adulterous couple Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Strzok, somehow, ended up being assigned a the lead FBI investigator for special counsel Robert Mueller from its inception until December 2017 when his text messages were discovered. Likewise, his girlfriend was also assigned to the investigation until her removal. The IG’s report reveals that there was an additional removal: the top FBI lawyer directing the investigators who also helped direct the Clinton email investigation.

“I am numb,” the attorney wrote on Nov. 9, 2016, the day after President Trump’s election.

“I am so stressed about what I could have done differently,” the lawyer continued, apparently referring to the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe.

The attorney’s messages show that he was distressed at the FBI’s decision in October 2016 to re-open the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Democrats have claimed that decision hurt Clinton at the polls.

The FBI lawyer also suggested that he would work to resist the Trump administration.

“Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?” one FBI lawyer wrote on Nov. 22, 2016.

“Hell no. Viva le resistance,” the future Mueller attorney responded.

During interviews with the office of the inspector general, the lawyer claimed that his “personal political feelings or beliefs … in no way impacted” his work on the Clinton or Russia investigations.

It is entirely possible that a person who seems to be a Clinton partisan who directed the investigation of her compromise of national security secrets, and who was upset when the case was reopened, and who was upset when Trump was elected, and who texted “Viva le resistance” was entirely above the fray and approached his job with no bias. But that really isn’t the issue. The standard federal ethical rule is that it isn’t sufficient to merely avoid a conflict of interest, you must avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. When you consider this alongside the fact that Strzok and Page, who held similar views, were on the Mueller investigation, Strzok leading the FBI investigative team and Page, apparently as the deputy to Mr. Viva le resistance, it calls into question whether some of the actions of the Mueller investigation, like charging Mike Flynn with lying to investigators after he had been cleared, were made for reasons of spite and payback and to try to manufacture a case for the impeachment of the president.

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