Anticipation builds for report on FBI’s Clinton probe
Conservatives on Capitol Hill are anxiously awaiting the imminent release of a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general scrutinizing the law enforcement agency’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
A spate of recent press reports suggesting that the document will be critical of top DOJ brass has raised expectations among some of President Trump’s most ardent defenders that it will provide fuel for an ongoing broadside against the department.
Congress will likely not see the document until shortly before it is made public on Thursday, with its official conclusions remaining the subject of intense speculation until then.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s probe has already exposed two incidents that Republican lawmakers say show malfeasance at the DOJ.
In April, Horowitz issued a scathing report on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, alleging that he authorized a leak to the media in order to “advance his personal interests” and then misled internal investigators about the matter.
It was also an internal referral from Horowitz that led to the public exposure of text messages between counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Those messages, which were critical of Trump and other political figures during the 2016 presidential campaign, have been a lightning rod among figures on the right.
Horowitz will almost immediately have to face Congress to defend his conclusions, with the inspector general scheduled to appear in a pair of back-to-back hearings early next week.
Although Horowitz himself is widely seen by lawmakers from both parties as nonpartisan and fair, his report is almost certain to become a political football in the ongoing fight over the department’s conduct in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
How he evaluates controversial decisions made by former FBI Director James Comey will be one of the most closely read portions of the report on Thursday.