DoJ report slams former FBI director James Comey

DoJ report slams former FBI director James Comey

James Comey. AP/PTI file photo.

The US Department of Justice in a report has slammed former FBI director James Comey and alleged that its investigations have found that there were FBI officials willing to take actions that would hurt the then-candidate Donald Trump who is now the President of the United States.

"We concluded that Comey's unilateral announcement was inconsistent with the department policy and violated long-standing Department practice and protocol by, among other things, criticising Hillary Clinton's uncharged conduct," the report said.

"We also found that Comey usurped the authority of the attorney general, and inadequately and incompletely described the legal position of department prosecutors," it added.

The over 500-page report, issued yesterday by the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, said it had discovered text and instant messages between some FBI employees that expressed statements of hostility towards the then-candidate Donald Trump and that of support for then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

"We also identified messages that expressed opinions that were critical of the conduct and quality of the investigation," said the report, which the White House said vindicates the consistent stand of Trump in this regard.

"It reaffirmed the president's suspicions about Comey's conduct and the political bias amongst some of the members of the FBI. Director Wray, as you know, will be holding a press conference later this afternoon, and we'd encourage you to tune in for specific questions," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.

The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz is highly critical of Comey for poor judgment during the 2016 election. However, the report has found no evidence to show his key decisions in the Clinton email investigation were improperly influenced by political bias.

In a statement, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said the report made clear that Comey and FBI personnel failed to follow the rules, and in doing so, hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign and helped Donald Trump's.

"In a frenzy of tweets since taking office, the President has claimed a vast conspiracy in his own government against his campaign and administration, but this report found no evidence that political bias affected the FBI investigations," he said.

In the report, a paragraph summarising the factors that led the FBI to assess that it was possible that hostile actors accessed Clinton's server was added, and at one point referenced Clinton's use of her private email for an exchange with then President Obama while in the territory of a foreign adversary.

This reference later was changed to "another senior government official," and ultimately was omitted, it said.

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa said the report from the Department of Justice's Inspector General shed new light on the cumulative bias at some of the highest levels of the FBI during the lead-up to the 2016 election.

"Time after time, high-ranking FBI officials put politics before country and usurped their leadership responsibilities to protect themselves and their political allies," he said, adding that the report showed how the FBI had become infected with politics and continuously disregarded rules and procedures to the detriment of Donald Trump and benefit of Hillary Clinton.

"Furthermore, contrary to reports from the Clinton campaign and the Obama DOJ, we now know that Clinton's negligent e-mail security practices resulted in foreign actors attempting to breach high-level information," he said.