In his first public comments after making his report public, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz sustained that in his review of the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, there was no "documentary evidence" that political bias affected the investigation.
Fire everyone involved in IG report
The report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is disturbing. Americans expect the chief law enforcement agencies of the federal government — the DOJ and the FBI — to administer justice in an ethical, professional, objective, nonpartisan and above-board manner.
Horowitz investigated the government’s investigation of Hillary Clinton's email scandal. He found that FBI agents who “demonstrated extremely poor judgment and a gross lack of professionalism.” Their internal communications mixed their political opinions with their investigative duties, including “statements of hostility toward then-candidate Donald Trump and statements of support for then-candidate Clinton,” the focus of the investigation.
Text messages between two of the agents implied “a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s election prospects. This is antithetical to the core values of the FBI and the Department of Justice.” According to the IG, “the conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the FBI” and “sowed doubt (over) the FBI’s work on, and its handling of, the (Clinton) investigation.”
It gets worse. The IG also found that agents “widely ignored” the FBI’s policy against disclosure of nonpublic information. Additionally, the agents making these disclosures “received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.”
The disclosure of confidential law enforcement information in a criminal investigation can irreparably damage the reputations and livelihoods of innocent individuals. It can also unduly prejudice the due process rights of those targeted in a federal investigation and prosecution.
As the IG concluded, the damage done “goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral fact-finding and political independence.” The only way the FBI can restore its reputation for professionalism and objectivity is to discipline and terminate everyone that was involved in this abuse. And those who broke federal law must be criminally prosecuted.
Without such actions, the politicized “professionals” in the FBI and the Justice Department will be emboldened to bend and break even more rules to further their personal agendas and careers. Justice demands that they play — and work — by the rules.
This piece originally appeared in USA Today