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Cummings and Nadler Issue Statement on DOJ IG Report on FBI Actions Before Election

Jun 14, 2018
Press Release

 

Cummings and Nadler Issue Statement on

DOJ IG Report on FBI Actions Before Election

 

Washington, D.C. (June 14, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, issued the following statement in response to the release of the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FBI activities prior to the 2016 election:

“The stark conclusion we draw after reviewing this report is that the FBI’s actions helped Donald Trump become President.  Director Comey had a double-standard:  he spoke publicly about the Clinton investigation while keeping secret from the American people the investigation of Donald Trump and Russia.

“The FBI should not have spoken publicly about the case after recommending against criminal charges.  They should not have revealed that they had reopened the case just days before the election.  These actions violate longstanding guidelines designed to protect citizens from unfair attacks and avoid influencing elections.

“We understand that the Bureau was under great pressure from Republican Committee Chairmen with subpoena power who spent two years engaged in incessant, cynical, and false attacks about the Clinton investigation itself—but these DOJ and FBI policies exist to help law enforcement officials resist exactly that sort of pressure.

“The great irony today is that Republicans in Congress are now engaged in the same kinds of attacks—abusing their Majority status to lean on investigators—only this time they are aimed at Special Counsel Mueller.  We have no doubt that the Special Counsel has the judgment and integrity to continue to follow the facts where they lead, without consideration for politics, and reserving comment until his prosecutors appear in court.”

 

KEY QUOTES FROM INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT

 

Decision Not to Prosecute Clinton Not Affected By Political Bias

 

  • “We found no evidence that the conclusions by Department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations; rather, we determined that they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law, and past Department practice.”

 

  • “None of the witnesses we interviewed could point to specific examples of anyone involved in the investigation allowing political or other improper considerations to impact the decisions on how best to obtain evidence.”

 

  • The prosecutors’ interpretation of the legal standards in the Clinton case was “consistent with the Department’s historical approach in prior cases under different leadership, including in the 2008 decision not to prosecute former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for mishandling classified documents.”

  

Comey’s Double Standard in Publicly Discussing Clinton But Not Trump

 

  • “We concluded that Comey’s unilateral announcement [regarding the Clinton investigation] was inconsistent with Department policy and violated long-standing Department practice and protocol by, among other things, criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.”

 

  • “Much like with his July 5 announcement, we found that in making this decision, Comey engaged in ad hoc decisionmaking based on his personal views even if it meant rejecting longstanding Department policy or practice.”

 

  • “We found unpersuasive Comey’s explanation as to why transparency was more important than Department policy and practice with regard to the deactivated midyear investigation, while, by contrast, Department policy and practice were more important to follow with regard to the Clinton Foundation and Russia investigations.” [emphasis added]

 

  • Comey “chose to deviate from the FBI’s and the Department’s established procedures and norms and instead engaged in his own subjective, ad hoc decision making.”

 

  • “These decisions usurped the authority of the Attorney General and upset the well-established separation between investigative and prosecution functions and the accountability principles that guide law enforcement decisions in the United States.”

 

  • “No rule, policy, or practice is perfect, but at the same time neither is any individual’s ability to make judgments under pressure or in what may seem like unique circumstances. It is in these moments—when the rationale for keeping to the ordinary course fades from view and the temptation to make an exception is greatest—that the bedrock principles and time-tested practices of the Department and the FBI can serve their highest purpose.”

 

  • “[T]he problem originated with Comey’s elevation of ‘maximal transparency’ as a value overriding, for this case only, the principles of ‘stay silent’ and ‘take no action’ that the FBI has consistently applied to other cases.”

 

  • “Comey’s description of his choice as being between ‘two doors,’ one labeled ‘speak’ and one labeled ‘conceal,’ was a false dichotomy.  The two doors were actually labeled ‘follow policy/practice’ and ‘depart from policy/practice.’  Although we acknowledge that Comey faced a difficult situation with unattractive choices, in proceeding as he did, we concluded that Comey made a serious error of judgment.”

 

Texts from Strzok and Page

 

  • “[W]e found that Strzok was not the sole decisionmaker for any of the specific Midyear investigative decisions.”

 

  • “We further found evidence that in some instances Strzok and Page advocated for more aggressive investigative measures in the Midyear investigation, such as the use of grand jury subpoenas and search warrants to obtain evidence.”

 

  • “[O]ur review did not find documentary or testimonial evidence directly connecting the political views these employees expressed in their text message and instant messages to the specific investigative decisions we reviewed in Chapter Five.”  

 

Missing from Inspector General Report

 

The Inspector General’s report issued today identified no evidence to support any of the following claims made by President Trump:

 

  • Tweet on February 2, 2018:   “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans—something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”

 

  • Tweet on October 17, 2016:  “Crooked Hillary colluded w/FBI and DOJ and media is covering up to protect her.  It’s a #RiggedSystem!  Our country deserves better!”

 

  • Tweet on October 18, 2017:  “As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton.  He was the best thing that ever happened to her!”

 

Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation has produced 18 indictments against 20 individuals and 3 companies, encompassing 75 criminal acts, and has yielded 5 guilty pleas

115th Congress