Monday, October 15, 2018
Miles from the Mainstream
D. R. ZUKERMAN, proprietor

The Inspector General's investigation --is it to be limited just to Comey and his actions on the Clinton emails?

January 19, 2018 --

It's been a year since The New York Times reported, in its print edition January 13, 2017, that Justice Department Inspector General Michael R. Horowitz "will review actions" taken by FBI Director James Comey that HIllary Clinton and many of her voters believe cost her the election: the July 2016 news conference in which Comey called Mrs. Clinton "'extremely careless,'" his October 2016 decision to to look into the e-mail situation again, and his decision to end the probe just before the election.

The IG's investigation has apparently gone beyond probing Mr., Comey's actions on the Clinton e- mails. Last month, Mr. Horowitz responded to an inquiry from Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman about politicized text messages exchanged between Peter Strzok, a a senior FBI agent, and his paramour Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer. Strzok, as reported in The New York Times, April 23, 2017, led the Clinton investigation, then supervised the investigation of allegations about Trump-Russia collusion, and headed the team that looked into the renewed review of Clinton emails.

Senators Johnson and Grassley wanted to know when the inspector general's office "became aware of the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page." Mr. Horowitz answered in part: "After finding a number of politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok, the OIG [Office of Inspector General] sought from the FBI all text messages between Strzok and Page from their FBI-issued phones through November 30, 2016, which covered the entire period of the Clinton e-mail server inv stigation. The FBI produced these text messages on July 20, 2017."

The answer, at least to LPR, does not make clear the date when the FBI found the "politically-oriented text messages between Page and Strzok." Was it July 27, 2017, or earlier?

The two chairmen also inquired as to whether "the OIG received any similar allegations involving other government officials?" Here is the substantive part of the IG's reply: " The OIG's review is ongoing, and we currently are in the process of completing our witness interviews and document review. Thereafter, we intend to issue a public report with our findings on these and the other issues we are reviewing, and we would be pleased to discuss them with you at that time."

It would seem that the OIG is now probing issues beyond the conduct of James Comehy on the Clinton email investigation, and, significantly, Democrats are irate that Republicans are raising questions about the fairness of the FBI's investigation of the Trump-Russia collusion allegations.

The unilateral action taken by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, releasing, January 9, the transcript of Glenn Simpson's testimony to the committee clearly reflects Democrat anger that Grassley dares question partisan motives at the FBI and Justice Department. Simpson heads Fusion GPS, the company that hired former British agent Christopher Steele to find information that would hurt the Trump presidential campaign. Democrats are only interested in information about Trump-Russia collusion. Clearly, Democrats are not interested in information that would lead people to conclude that claims about Trump-Russia collusion are merely political propaganda intended to bring down the Trump presidency.

Reporting on Feinstein's unilateral release of the Simpson testimony, January 10, The Washjington Post noted, "Through much of 2017, Feinstein and Grassley made joint requests for information about Russia and the FBI's investigation of election interference." Feinstein, the Post added, did not join Grassley in his requests for information about anti-Trump messages at the FBI.

Here for example, is the opening paragraph of Grassley's December 13, 2017 letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, not co-signed by Feinstein:

"Yesterday, the Justice Department released a subset of text messages requested by the Committee. The limited release of 375 text messages between Mr. Peter Strrzok and Ms. Lisa Page indicate a highly politicized FBI environment during both the Clinton and Russia investigations. For example, one text message from Ms. Page proclaims to Mr. Strzok. 'God(,) Trump is a loathsome human,'"

In this letter, Grassley stated his understanding "that the Inspector General's current investigation is limited to the handling of the Clinton email matter only." His inquiry to Rosenstein continued "What steps have you taken to determine whether steps taken during the campaign to escalate the Russia investigation might have been a result of the political animus evidenced by these text messages rather than on the merits?" This seems to be a question that Democrats would prefer is not asked, let alone answered.

As The Wall Street Journal noted , in its lead editorial January 11: "Speculation over the Trump-Russia probe, the dossier and Robert Mueller's investigation has become politically polarizing and the country needs the real facts." The American people deserve no less, along with a bureaucracy that doesn't play politics.