The Inspector General's Report, what it is and what it is not

I thought I would do a short essay on my own understanding of what the Inspector General's report is and is not. I have read at several places that people are disappointed at the most recent report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Without passing judgment on the content of the IG report, which I have not yet read, I am going to try lay out a framework for understanding what we have seen thus far from the OIG.

First, we must understand that under the Obama administration, the role of all Inspectors General had been effectively neutralized. However Horowitz,an Obama appointee, went to war against the Obama administration for tying the hands of all 73 Inspectors General.

Throughout Horowitz’s tenure he has continuously fought for the legal rights of all Inspectors' General to have unobstructed access to information.

This was something AG Holder had specifically limited – and the FBI had embraced. Holder used this tactic to delay the IG’s Fast and Furious Investigation.

So now we know something about Horowitz and his relationship to the Inspector General process. So what is the charge for an Inspector General?

Established by the Inspector General Act of 1978, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) examines all actions of a government agency or military organization. Conducting audits and investigations, either independently or in response to reports of wrongdoing, the OIG ensures that the agency's operations are in compliance with the law and general established policies of the government. Audits conducted by the OIG are intended to ensure the effectiveness of security procedures or to discover the possibility of misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency's operation. Misuse of agency funds or equipment is often revealed by OIG audits.

When reviewing the current report by the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, we must understand that his report is based upon the above criteria for an Inspector General's office. Therefore his scope of reporting will be based upon how it affects the operations in the Department of Justice, which also includes the FBI.

The most recent report focuses mainly upon the FBI and the actions of James Comey who was its director at the time of those actions. This is the second OIG report of what is expected to be at least four or five reports. The first report focused upon the actions of the FBI's #2 man, Andrew McCabe and that report was unredacted and contained criminal referrals.

In order to understand the impact of this most recent report, it may help to know that the version that has been released is the most redacted version of the three versions that were given to President Trump. Those versions included (1) the unredacted version from IG Horowitz with no changes by the DoJ; (2)the DoJ version written by Asst. Att. General, Rod Rosenstein; and (3) the redacted Rosenstein version, which is the one that was released to the public. The President also received the IG summary notes re: obstruction(s) to obtain select info (classified).

In November, Inspector General Horowitz began working with US Attorney John Huber of Utah who was appointed by Attorney General Sessions as the lead attorney for prosecuting crimes resulting from the IG's investigation. At this point, no one knows if there are any grand jury indictments associated with this investigation and no one has yet been publicly charged. That does not mean that there may be much more going on in the background. We only can wait to see if any indictments are made public.

In summary, the Inspector General (Horowitz) functions as the investigator and the US Attorney (Huber) is acting in the role of the charging attorney. If there is information that has been uncovered by the Inspector General that could and will be used in the charging of criminal offenses, it probably will not have appeared in the publicly released version of the Inspector General's report. In other words, there may be a lot more under the surface that the public is currently aware of.

I hope this essay will clarify why we may not be getting the entire story just yet.

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studentofearth's picture

have enough information at this time to make an informed opinion. Perfect for politicians and MSM (main street media) to create a desired public opinion. Thanks for the explanation.

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snoopydawg's picture

@studentofearth

And it's exactly what is happening. The media and many sites are already spinning just certain parts of the report and taking them out of context.

Nice summary, gulfgal. Let's let it play out and see where it goes. The GOP is telling RR that if he doesn't turn over the information on the Clinton email investigation that they will move to impeach him. I'm not holding my breath on the threat, but it's past time for the FBI to be cleaned up.

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edg's picture

Thanks for writing this. You're a great writer and this essay clearly explains a complicated subject.

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gulfgal98's picture

@edg

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

for your name, gulfgal98, in the comments about the Report because I've felt you had both a keen eye for all the details and a level head about the possibilities, so thank you, I really appreciate your stating this.

That said, I find it frustrating that I have to look at Fox News and Conservative Treehouse to see any discussion of the criminal behavior in the evidence. And based on the lifetime of get-out-of-jail-free cards that seem to be available to our political leadership, it's hard not to feel disheartened. Also, I think the fact that the evidence is presented in 568 pages, meaning even people like myself who anxiously awaited the Report have only read to page 12, I wonder how many Americans will actually read it. But I'm relieved to read that you are keeping a steady focus. Thanks again.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Linda Wood the Rod Rosenstein redacted version, I had considered trying to go through the report and summarizing what this report covers and what we do know from it.

I think the big problem here is that the Rod Rosenstein redacted version has completely re-written the executive summary and the conclusions based upon what I have read elsewhere. However I also believe that there is some meat within the body of the report.

I know what you mean about having to follow conservative sites, like Conservative Treehouse (Sundance is actually pretty good at breaking it all down) and commentators to get ANY information on this. Actually, when I filter out the Trump rah rah stuff and the evil left comments (which is misuse of the term left to describe establishment Democrats), I actually am finding some decent reporting on this. Like anything,having to filter out opinion from the news is still better than getting no news at all.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

travelerxxx's picture

@gulfgal98

Actually, when I filter out the Trump rah rah stuff and the evil left comments (which is misuse of the term left to describe establishment Democrats)...

Yes, especially "...misuse of the term left to describe establishment Democrats." Those who believe they are right-wing/conservative (in most cases simply because they are told that they are) face their own dishonest narrative purveyors. I haven't found many who are able to break free of the propaganda they're being fed. As an example, I'm not aware of any online sites where those on the right are pushing back against the think-tanks who are leading them around by their noses. The left is a mite better in this regard. I do know individuals who question what they're being told by their Harvard and Yale educated thought-masters, but nothing organized. If there is, I'd like to know of it.

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snoopydawg's picture

@gulfgal98

and the conclusion doesn't meet with what is in it. She should have been charged. Obama should have kept his mouth shut too. Because of what he said on 60 minutes basically saying that there is no there there, that set the mood for both how the investigation was to be run and how Hillary's supporters were able to say that what she did was no big deal.

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Deja's picture

I started reading the report at about p. 537 last Thursday, but when I left the page to text the following to a friend, I lost the whole report. Thought it was in my downloads, but never found it, and shingles agony flared up. Here's what I texted from the report:

Look what I found: Richmond-SAC said he did not have any
investigative concerns with him meeting the Governor or state legislators, although
he warned McCabe that if McCabe met with Governor McAuliffe, he would “be
tethered to the Clintons” forever, and this could impact McCabe’s future in
government.
p. 439A OIG report

Interesting, no?

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"The gatekeepers must change."
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gulfgal98's picture

@Deja You should be writing about this report. I started reading today and was already bogged down. My reading skills ain't what they used to be apparently. Blush

By the way, Here is a link to it.

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"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

Deja's picture

@gulfgal98

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

as I could today, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing entitled: “Examining the Inspector General’s First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election."

I thought Horowitz and Wray handled the questions pretty well, and neither of them made me angry. But I had the out of body experience of agreeing with the Republican Senators who questioned them and disagreeing with the Democrats, except possibly Sen. Whitehouse because he didn't waste everyone's time by blaming the fiasco on Trump. I don't believe a single Democrat that I saw made a single point worth mentioning or bringing up. The Republicans instead made strong points by repeating the biased views, and I think the incriminating views, spoken by FBI and DOJ agents advocating the prevention of the election Trump.

A few Democrats tried to distance themselves from Comey and to accuse him of malfeasance, no one tried to assert Peter Strzok wasn't guilty of whatever might have been objectionable, but only Republicans saw something to see here. The Democrats seem to be going with: if the prosecutors didn't show bias, then there was no bias in the investigation. Shameful. Seriously shameful.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Linda Wood from my limited viewing. I missed much of the first half due to my having to be out of the house then. However, I did see the second half and my impressions were very much like yours.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

snoopydawg's picture

and McCabe took the 5th. What's the matter, James? You can do all kinds of testifying when it suits your agendas, but not when your buttocks are on the line? That's okay. I'm sure that you're not out of the firing line yet.

Comey refuses to testify to Congress, Grassley says McCabe pleads Fifth Amendment

Fired FBI Director James Comey refused to appear before Congress on Monday to talk about his handling of the Clinton email investigation, and his fired deputy, Andrew McCabe, asserted his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, Sen. Charles E. Grassley said.

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch also declined to show up for a major hearing where the Senate Judiciary Committee was looking into the inspector general’s report detailing major bungles in Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.

Mr. Comey’s lawyer said he was out of the country — though Mr. Grassley, committee chairman, said he saw Mr. Comey was in Iowa over the weekend, visiting a key state in presidential campaigning.

He said he had sought to compel the three to show up to testify, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, blocked him. Under committee rules, the ranking Democrat must agree with the chairman in order to issue a subpoena.

Awe what's the matter DiFi? Afraid that the truth might come out about how Comey once again covered up Hillary's crimes? No matter, this saga is far from being over. This might even blow Russia Gate wide open if it shows that the FBI was in a hurry to get Russia Gate started. And how one presidential candidate used her party's DoJ to get information on her opponent. This is a very bad thing to do, BTW Dianne.

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Deja's picture

@snoopydawg
No shows, a 5th plea, and a power play. Wow!

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

snoopydawg's picture

@Deja

seems to have come from her doing this. This article is from a year ago though and the judiciary committee was supposed to be looking into it. Hmm, I wonder what became of that investigation? And guess who she did speak with?

New holes in Loretta Lynch’s story on the Hillary probe

When former Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified last year about her decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, she swore she never talked to “anyone” on the Clinton campaign. That categorical denial, though made in response to a series of questions about whether she spoke with Clintonworld about remaining attorney general if Hillary won the election, could come back to haunt her.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has launched a bipartisan investigation into Lynch for possible obstruction of justice, recently learned of the existence of a document indicating Lynch assured the political director of Clinton’s campaign she wouldn’t let FBI agents “go too far” in probing the former secretary of state.

Lynch’s lawyer says she is cooperating with committee investigators, who are seeking answers to several questions, as well as relevant documents. Among other things, they want to know if she or any of her Justice Department staff “ever communicated with Amanda Renteria,” who headed Clinton’s political operations during the campaign. Renteria, who has been identified in the document as the senior Clinton campaign aide with whom Lynch privately communicated, has also been asked to testify.

Comey is also under investigation for leaking his information about his discussions with Trump that directly led to getting Mueller to start the investigation into Russian interference.

Oh boy. I'm sure hoping that we get to know all the juicy details about what really happened during the investigation into her private email server.

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Deja's picture

@snoopydawg
They aired their edited version of it. I watched it.

Juicy, indeed.

It's bittersweet, though. It's like the wikileaks emails. Nothing but more spinning and flinging of shit will come of it. Sad

The msm are already starting to repeat certain things as talking points that were once almost fringe. They scan, ya know? Then they take on our own phrases, just like Her Heinous did to Bernie.

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"The gatekeepers must change."
Prince

snoopydawg's picture

@Deja

Senate panel trashes Comey

WASHINGTON — Former FBI chief James Comey took more hits Monday at a Senate Judiciary Committee focused on the Justice Department Inspector General’s report of how the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton investigation in the run-up to the 2016 election.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz said that at key moments Comey clearly departed from FBI norms and his decisions negatively impacted the public’s trust in the Justice Department and FBI.

Horowitz warned there’s potentially more trouble ahead for Comey. He confirmed he’s conducting another investigation into Comey’s handling of his classified memos on his private meetings with President Trump.

“Are you investigating Comey’s handling of his memos and does that include the classification issues,” Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley asked.

“We received a referral on that from the FBI,” Horowitz confirmed. “We are handling that referral. And will issue a report when the matter is complete.”

Comey leaked his memos about his conversations with Trump, admittedly, in the hopes that an independent special counsel would be appointed to investigate Russian collusion. The Wall Street Journal reported in April that at least two of the memos Comey gave to a friend to leak to the press contained classified material, which caught the eye of the government watchdog.

Horowitz said that he was more interested in keeping his job than he was investigating Her and that he thought that Her would be his boss after she became president. I sure disagree with this statement. “I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt,” Wray said.

I am not at all surprised that the media is putting their spin on this at all. Some people will listen to what they are saying, but others are reading the report and probably wondering how Horowitz could come up with the conclusion he did. The real truth is getting out and that is that the FBI gave Her a pass for what she did. We'll see though how far the investigation gets to go.

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snoopydawg's picture

Follow the links he embeds in his tweets. There was is a lot of great information that came out of the congressional testimony today.

The person he's talking about is amazingly blaming Russia for it. Smile

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gulfgal98's picture

Forget snopes. Bad We've got snoopy! Dirol

Great work with the links! Good

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

is happening here:

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/

House Joint Committee Hearing With IG Michael Horowitz – 10:00am Livestream…
Posted on June 19, 2018 by sundance

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how the House Democrats who are questioning IG Horowitz today have swerved the narrative upside down and backwards re: Comey.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?446817-1/doj-inspector-general-michael-hor...

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/

House Joint Committee Hearing With IG Michael Horowitz – … Livestream…

The basic discussion, as I can perceive it, is that the Inspector General's Report found that there was bias against Trump becoming president in the investigation, presumably by the FBI, as the I stands for "Investigation," but no bias found in the documentation of reasons for the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton in the email/private server and handling of classified information matter.

So my impression of the mainstream media and Democratic establishment fawning over James Comey was mistaken, because now in this hearing what I'm hearing from the Democrats is that James Comey is a Republican who destroyed Hillary Clinton's chances to become president, both by calling her extremely careless with classified material and by making public, to Congress and the public, that he was re-opening the Clinton email investigation just before the election, all of which was inappropriate because she was an uncharged person.

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@Linda Wood @Linda Wood @Linda Wood

depending upon what they focused on of what Comey came out with. They fawned on him for declining to use any evidence collected against Hillary, et al, or to prosecute her or the rest involved, but vilified him for saying that she was extremely careless without any intent of deliberately doing what she did and pretending that that somehow didn't count as a crime where The Right People were involved.

Edit: evidently, that lot failed to realize that there was no way of avoiding the fact that they were all going to come up smelling not like sweet roses but rather of sweaty toeses, so to speak. Toeses that had been used for climbing to the very peak of Swampy Bullshit Mountain - which activity could be seen by much of the public for mileses and mileses around.

Re-edit to make it clear that they objected to her criminal acts being presented even as carelessness, as they'd brook no criticism of her at all and apparently expected her to receive a Nobel Prize for hazarding National Security via abuse of her public office for personal gain.

After all, she was the 'best qualified President candidate ever' according to her own (and backing billionaires) PR and her ever-swelling financial status, due to her rabid venality and pathetic willingness to do anything to anybody perceived as being vulnerable to make a buck. Or to swipe White House furnishings, once the Clintons could no longer rent out rooms there.

But it was made clear that she was guilty as hell, and he'll never be forgiven for that.

Personally, I strongly suspect she was also helping to continually update the rest of a conspiratorial web of oligarchical self-interests in other countries in part by simply making confidential classified information easily available. And with that server gone, in came the DWS-protected Awans...???

And I'm not the only one wondering about that.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

gulfgal98's picture

@Linda Wood @Linda Wood Horowitz is having to thread a very fine needle here for two reasons. First, as Inspector General, his job is to present facts as they relate to the operations of the FBI and the actions of James Comey and second, he cannot divulge information that may be used in grand jury indictments.

I thought he was very clear that they found bias for Clinton and against Trump among the investigators for the FBI but that they did not find any verifiable bias on the part of the prosecutors in their decision not to prosecute Clinton. I personally disagree with the second part of that finding. I think there was extreme bias in that Comey wrote her exoneration letter before she was ever interviewed. I wonder if that part of the report was one of the things that was redacted.

Clearly James Comey's conclusion that Clinton was extremely careless but displayed no intent to violate the law is bogus. Her insistence upon using a private server to conduct department business when she had been informed of department rules shows her intent to circumvent those rules.

As an analogy, I worked for decades in local government and I had to sign an agreement that stated I could be fired for misusing the city's internet. And the city did enforce that agreement which led to some people being fired.

Hillary Clinton's "carelessness" could and probably did lead to multiple people and entities being able to see and use information that was classified. Like some people here, I believe that she was selling and sharing information on purpose.

But herein lies one of the big problems with this corruption. Most members of the Obama cabinet, including Obama himself, were also using private emails to discuss government business. So if Hillary went down, the entire Obama administration would have gone down. This is just how bad it is in our government.

I am very much looking forward to see what the OIG finds on Loretta Lynch.

Edit to add Jonathan Turley's analysis of the IG report as presented to the Senate. And as a bonus, his thoughts on the immigration policy that separates children from parents.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

@#11.2..
The idea that Clinton could take all of her State Dept. correspondence out of the control and record-keeping of the State Dept. is so glaringly criminal, it leaves one numb with anger. It's not just the classified material, it's her work. The intent to keep all of her work out of the National Archives, out of reach of the American people, out of reach of the Freedom of Information Act, was an intent to make all of it classified, in a sense.

And the suggestion that she just wanted to keep her hairdresser appointments and her daughter's wedding plans separate is an assault on women. It's the assertion that only a woman would be stupid enough to do this because, as a woman, she wouldn't get the subtle difference between the law and lawlessness, those grown-up ideas that are too amorphous for women, with their flighty minds, to focus on, all of which made American women seethe with anger and vote against her. The Democratic leadership STILL doesn't get this.

As likely as her wedding plans being on the server were her plans with Exxon and others in her State Department Global Shale Initiative, wherein American taxpayers underwrite overseas fracking. Are we going to be able to read this material?

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