GuessWhite House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, responding to the Thursday release of the Inspector General’s (IG) report into the behavior of the FBI — specifically its former director James Comey — as it relates to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, said at the daily press briefing the president has been briefed on the report and he indicated it had reaffirmed what he already believed about Comey’s conduct and bias at the FBI.
The 500 page IG report was finally released after an 18-month investigation and Comey comes out looking less and less honorable as the report determines he was insubordinate for failing to inform supervisors Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates of his decision to speak publicly about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. That decision has long been thought by Clinton supporters to be a primary reason Clinton was ultimately unsuccessful in the 2016 election.
Additionally, the report states the investigation initially did not discover evidence of political bias against Donald Trump’s campaign, but later texts between FBI agents and lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page (texts written during the campaign but discovered in May after Trump had won the election) indicated a political bias bordering on “animus,” according to Rep. Trey Gowdy.
The Washington Post reported that Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report includes an August 2016 text message exchange between Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page about Trump’s chance of being elected president.
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok.
“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.
Horowitz’s review months ago revealed other anti-Trump texts between the two officials, who were romantically involved. The “stop” Trump text goes further, and is likely to fuel claims from the White House that the bureau was working against him.
Trump supporters see Strzok’s text, following the October discovery of Cinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s/Huma Abedin’s shared laptop, and Strzok’s subsequent decision to open an investigation into a possible Trump-Russia collusion rather than following up on the investigation into Clinton’s email investigation, as an indication of political bias.
The press briefing was surprisingly short on questions regarding the IG report, with reporters focusing more on the recent threats to sue the Trump Foundation and Trump’s recent meeting with Kim Jong Un.
When asked, Sanders said the president was concerned by the findings in the report and said he expressed pleasure that the matter is being looked into. She also indicated that the White House will be interested in FBI Director Christopher Wray’s press conference later this afternoon.