Why The IG Report Undermines Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation

Below is my column on the implications of the IG report for the obstruction allegations being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  I have previously written how the most likely explanation for actions taken by this Administration will be found in Ockham’s Razor and that theory that requires the least number of assumptions.  The IG report is an example of following such logic rather than assumptions.

 

Here is the column:

James Comey once described his position in the Clinton investigation as being the victim of a “500-year flood.” The point of the analogy was that he was unwittingly carried away by events rather than directly causing much of the damage to the FBI. His “500-year flood” just collided with the 500-page report of the Justice Department inspector general (IG) Michael Horowitz. The IG sinks Comey’s narrative with a finding that he “deviated” from Justice Department rules and acted in open insubordination.

Rather than portraying Comey as carried away by his biblical flood, the report finds that he was the destructive force behind the controversy. The import of the report can be summed up in Comeyesque terms as the distinction between flotsam and jetsam. Comey portrayed the broken rules as mere flotsam, or debris that floats away after a shipwreck. The IG report suggests that this was really a case of jetsam, or rules intentionally tossed over the side by Comey to lighten his load. Comey’s jetsam included rules protecting the integrity and professionalism of his agency, as represented by his public comments on the Clinton investigation.

The IG report concludes, “While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice.”The report will leave many unsatisfied and undeterred. Comey went from a persona non grata to a patron saint for many Clinton supporters. Comey, who has made millions of dollars with a tell-all book portraying himself as the paragon of “ethical leadership,” continues to maintain that he would take precisely the same actions again.

Ironically, Comey, fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok and others, by their actions, just made it more difficult for special counsel Robert Mueller to prosecute Trump for obstruction. There is now a comprehensive conclusion by career investigators that Comey violated core agency rules and undermined the integrity of the FBI. In other words, there was ample reason to fire James Comey.

Had Trump fired Comey immediately upon taking office, there would be little question about his conduct warranting such termination. Instead, Trump waited to fire him and proceeded to make damaging statements about how the Russian investigation was on his mind at the time, as well as telling Russian diplomats the day after that the firing took “pressure off” him. Nevertheless, Mueller will have to acknowledge that there were solid, if not overwhelming, grounds to fire Comey.

To use the Comey firing now in an obstruction case, Mueller will have to assume that the firing of an “insubordinate” official was done for the wrong reason. Horowitz faced precisely this same problem in his review and refused to make such assumptions about Comey and others. The IG report found additional emails showing a political bias against Trump and again featuring the relationship of Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. In one exchange, Page again sought reassurance from Strzok, who was a critical player in the investigations of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, that Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

The IG noted that some of these shocking emails occurred at that point in October 2016 when the FBI was dragging its feet on the Clinton email investigation and Strzok was a critical player in that investigation. The IG concluded that bias was reflected in that part of the investigation with regard to Strzok and his role. Notably, the IG was in the same position as Mueller: The IG admits that the Strzok-Page emails “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” This includes the decision by Strzok to prioritize the Russian investigation over the Clinton investigation. The IG states that “[w]e concluded that we did not have confidence that this decision by Strzok was free from bias.”

However, rather than assume motivations, the IG concluded that it could not “find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions.” Thus, there was bias reflected in the statements of key investigatory figures like Strzok but there were also objective alternative reasons for the actions taken by the FBI. That is precisely the argument of Trump on the Comey firing. While he may have harbored animus toward Comey or made disconcerting statements, the act of firing Comey can be justified on Comey’s own misconduct as opposed to assumptions about his motives.

Many of us who have criticized Comey in the past, including former Republican and Democratic Justice Department officials, have not alleged a political bias. As noted by the IG report, Comey’s actions did not benefit the FBI or Justice Department but, rather, caused untold harm to those institutions. The actions benefited Comey as he tried to lighten his load in heading into a new administration. It was the same motive that led Comey to improperly remove FBI memos and then leak information to the media after he was fired by Trump. It was jetsam thrown overboard intentionally by Comey to save himself, not his agency.

The Horowitz report is characteristically balanced. It finds evidence of political bias among key FBI officials against Trump and criticizes officials in giving the investigation of Trump priority over the investigation of Clinton. However, it could not find conclusive evidence that such political bias was the sole reason for the actions taken in the investigation. The question is whether those supporting the inspector general in reaching such conclusions would support the same approach by the special counsel when the subject is not Comey but Trump.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

233 thoughts on “Why The IG Report Undermines Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation”

        1. David Benson still owes me two citations after three weeks and now he owes me a quotation – Sadly for both of you, we have plenty of ammo and our powder is dry. 🙂 The OIG report was just full of goodies.

      1. FishWings – I have always considered matryoshka dolls to be annoying, but not dangerous. 😉 Are you sure you are not mixing metaphors?

  1. I.G. REPORT CRITICIZES OFFICIALS FOR GIVING TRUMP PRIORITY OVER CLINTON

    YET CLINTON HAD BEEN EXTENSIVELY INVESTIGATED DURING OBAMA’S SECOND TERM

    From Wikipedia’s article on Benghazi Attack:

    “There were ten investigations into the Benghazi matter: one by the FBI; one by an independent board commissioned by the State Department; two by Democrat-controlled Senate Committees; and six by Republican-controlled House Committees. After the first five Republican investigations found no evidence of wrongdoing by senior Obama administration officials, Republicans in 2014 opened a sixth investigation, the House Select Committee on Benghazi, chaired by Trey Gowdy. This investigation also failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing by senior Obama administration officials. A possible political motive for the investigation was revealed on September 29, 2015, when Republican House majority leader Kevin McCarthy, then vying to become Speaker of the House, told Sean Hannity on Fox News that the investigation was part of a “strategy to fight and win,’ adding “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping”.

    Six Republican-Controlled House Committees had already investigated Hillary Clinton prior to the summer of 2016. And Majority Leader McCarthy admitted to Fox News that the entire strategy was to erode Clinton’s popularity, as much as possible, before the 2016 Election.

    Therefore one could say that Hillary Clinton was already the most-investigated candidate in presidential history. Which raises the question of ‘why’ she should have remained priority over Trump.

    By the summer of 2016, Trump was a stunningly controversial candidate. He had no experience in politics and kept uttering falsehoods on the campaign trail while refusing to show his income taxes. One could argue Trump deserved ‘priority’ investigation. Especially when Clinton had been so thoroughly scrutinized in the run-up to that summer.

    1. Mr. Hill, as you know with most of JT’s crowd they have a dislike of any thing that does not fit their predetermined opinion of HRC or the open wound that Trump has brought onto this country. They discount discomfiting evidence of anything Trump or his cabal. JT’s drum beat of ideology sedition to deflect, distract from the case that had this been a Democrat President the gallows would already been built.

      1. True, Fishwings.

        Republicans spent 4 years investigating Hillary over and over. And now we’re supposed to thing that Trump was given unfair ‘priority’.

        1. In this case, JT has not sided with caution until all the facts are out. He gave no quarter to HRC at all, but with Trump, more and more he has acted like the die is cast, and that anything that comes out is fake news. Sad to say but true.

          1. When Hill Peter and Fishbreath engage in their mutual self-stimualation, it begs the question, why don’t they get a room?

                1. Fishbreath wrote: “SAD VERY SAD”

                  translation: Hill Peter has a limp pecker and Fishy had her bottom wide open waiting for another load

                  you two sure have a strange way of dealing with your misery with Hillary losing but by all means, be fruitful and multiply. don’t forget to use latex

  2. As former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of NY – Andrew McCarthy has said and written many times – the order not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her illegal home brewed server came directly from Barack Hussein Obama. Because if Hillary was prosecuted, Obama himself would have exposure being he knowingly communicated with her – on her illegal server – in hostile foreign countries – using a pseudonym, as revealed by Cheryl Mills. That coupled with Obama lying about when he found out about her illegal server – saying on ABC he found out by watching the news like everybody else – would have crippled his coveted legacy, not to mention exposed him to a possible indictment/impeachment.

    Once Bill Clinton got caught secretly meeting AG Loretta Lynch on that Phoenix tarmac, Saint J. Edgar Comey saw his chance to push her aside and make himself a national hero – giving that now infamous televised presser on July 5, 2016 – believing (like everyone else on planet earth) that ole’ Hillary was a shoe-in for president and he hoped to reap the rewards for saving her ass, while at the same time blackmailing her just like his hero J. Edgar Hoover did 6 presidents.

    When Trump unexpectedly won, even surprising himself, he was woefully unprepared to take the reigns of office, proven by the many failures of his 2 transition teams. The first run by Chris Christie, until Jared Kushner had him fired because he sent his daddy to federal prison. The second led by VP Mike Pence who hadn’t the first clue what everybody under him was doing, like Mike Flynn, Don Jr., and a whole host of folk running around not knowing what they were doing.

    Once sworn-in, Trump hit a solid wall of resistance in the Senate trying to confirm Cabinet officials, not to mention legislative matters like repealing and replacing Obamacare. So while our good professor Turley and other critics point out Trump should have fired Come on day one, he couldn’t have. So he tired to get along with him until he was alerted Comey was keeping book on him, not to mention held a leading role in the axis of evil “Deep State” cabal along with John Brennan, James Clapper, MI-6, Christopher Steele, Peter Strzok and others trying to take him down – so he fired him on May 10, 2016 in the most humiliating way.

    So for retribution, Comey ran to his buddy Bob Mueller and together they strong-armed Rod Rosenstein to take Trump and company down via a Special Counsel “witch hunt,” that almost worked. But now it’s clean-up time for Mueller who just put Manafort in jail (not to flip him on Trump) sure that would be nice if Manafort had anything on Trump. But he doesn’t. Because if he did, Mueller wouldn’t be trying to get Trump to come in for a “perjury trap” interrogation, now that his only 2 witnesses on a possible obstruction charge, Comey and Andrew McCabe’s credibility just went down the toilet thanks to the IG’s report.

    And for those hyperventilating, sitting on the edge of their seat, hoping Manafort will flip on Trump . . . Never going to happen. Mueller put Manafort in jail to give him a taste of what it’s like behind bars living with the scum of the earth, so he takes a sweetened plea deal for reduced jail time like all the others: Gates, Flynn, Papadopoulos and van der Zwaan, while the pony indictment against the 13 Russians and 3 Russian corporations comes apart at the seams. Mueller like all prosecutors hate to lose. So they overcharge, over indict, revoke bail before trial, threaten family members with trumped up prosecutions – all in order to get defendants to plead to a single lesser charge, signing away their right for appeal and litigation for prosecutorial misconduct, so they don’t have to go to trial, where they may – and often do loose, especially on appeal, as Mueller’s number one henchman Andrew Weissmann knows all too well.

    For all those disappointed Michael Horowitz didn’t return a 100 count indictment followed by a perp walk of Comey and company, the IG’s report is nothing more than an internal human resources audit the DOJ under Rod Rosenstein (being Sessions is hiding under his desk) and the FBI under Christopher Wray are conveniently using to whitewash all the numerous criminal violations committed by many of their sworn personnel, while delaying as long as possible the inevitable, believing the American people are too stupid to see the difference, hoping to rehabilitate a woefully corrupt governmental institution – the FBI, that has been too powerful since its beginning under J. Edgar Hoover. Never gonna happen. Not under the current FBI Director that’s for sure.

    It should be noted that FBI Director Christopher Wray, was Chris Christie’s personal attorney during the Bridgegate scandal and it was Christie who recommended Wray to Trump as replacement for Comey. “Payback’s a bitch” Christie knew what he was doing, after being denied the promised VP, then AG digs. Wray was also Christie’s supervisor when Christie was US Attorney for New Jersey. At that time, Wray was number 3 at DOJ right under James Comey, with Rod Rosenstein just below them, as Robert Mueller was FBI Director. Wray also supervised 7 of the Attorney’s now working for Mueller. Raise your hand if you knew that?

    In other words, Christopher Wray is without a doubt, the last person you’d want to clean up a most corrupt FBI alongside a most corrupt DOJ.

    The answer would be for Trump to fire all of them: Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller and Wray. But he can’t. He can’t because King Corn Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee told Trump he would not hold confirmation hearings for their replacements. Thus, their replacements would be Obama holdovers until who knows when.

    Not to mention Never-Trumper Republican Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker, Ben Sasse, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham – all have threatened Trump not to fire Sessions and/or Rosenstein. With a one vote majority in the Senate, Trump is being held hostage by a most corrupt DOJ, FBI and Congress.

    Which is why he’s stated he regrets ever making the coward Jeff Sessions AG “who had the obligation to tell him before he was nominated he intended to recuse himself,” as he later testified.

    So boys and girls, fagetabout cleaning up a corrupt FBI or DOJ. Not in this lifetime.

    But one good thing came out of all this – Never, ever, talk to an FBI agent without having at the minimum 2 lawyers and a TV news team present. Never. Don’t even say hello. Nada. Zip them lips.

    1. Students of the coup d’etat in Dallas (11.22.63) are well aware of the critical role that the F.B.I. played in making sure that the majority of U.S. citizens still believe that HARVEY Oswald killed JFK and acted as a lone nut communist.

      To this day, even moderately informed people still insult people who dare speak the truth about Dallas, calling them conspiracy theorists.

    2. Fagetaboutit – where is Toshiro Mifune when you need him? 😉 He could clean up corruption like nobody else!!!

    3. Fagetaboutit. Excellent summation “When Trump unexpectedly won, even surprising himself, he was woefully unprepared to take the reigns of office, proven by the many failures of his 2 transition teams.”

      Amazing he’s still standing given all the corruption and opposition by the warmongering corporatists. If nothing else he has exposed the venality of the Deep State – if HRC had won it would have been “business” as usual.

    4. And think of that poor slob FBI agent who got drunk, did a backflip, lost his gun, shot someone etc., that guy is going to be dogged by shame for the rest of his life.

      But the Comey cabal? No problem! Because if he goes, if Hillary goes, they ALL go. Even Comey’s enemies, as they are, will protect him, and they will protect her and anyone else, as long as it fits their warped consciences.

  3. The IG report looks like it used the Comey report as a model so nothing happens and the coup continues.

  4. Remember the questions that Jay Sekulow wrote based upon his negotiations with Mueller for an interview with Trump? The following just so happens to be one of those questions:

    “What knowledge did [Trump] have of any outreach by [his] campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”

    Manafort knows the answer to that question. And so does Trump. The answers to that question go directly to a possible charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. If Mueller makes a case for ConFraudUS in his final report to Rosenstein, then the case for obstruction of justice will come along for the ride. And then yet another one of Turley’s finely hand-crafted false-equivalency defenses would bite the dust. You see, if Trump committed a crime the investigation of which Trump sought to obstruct by firing Comey, amongst other things, then Comey’s supposed status as “a leaker and a liar” will become as irrelevant as his supposedly inappropriate insubordination to AG Lynch.

    1. The answers to that question go directly to a possible charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

      Keep blabbing. Wish-fulfillment can be entertaining.

    2. And again – it is irrelevant what you think Trump or Manafort KNOW.
      What matters is what Manafort DID.

      Mueller thus far is not lleging anything regarding Manafort that has anything to do with the 2016 election.

      Until Mueller has evidence that Manafort had criminal contact with Russia in 2016, the question of Trump’s knowledge of what Manafort did NOT do, is ludicrous.

      There is no “ConFraudUS” crime – myriads of lawyers have noted that is just hyperbole.

      Again to obstruct Justice you must ACT outside your legitimate power and authority.

      Your or Mueller’s guesses about Trump’s state of mind do not make a legal act illegal.

      If you ever manage to prove that Trump conspired with Russia to hack the DNC this is all over.
      But the current evidence precludes that.

      Comey’s status as a leaker and liar will always be relevant so long as Comey’s testimony matters.

      Comey is never going to be a useful witness in any court ever again.

    3. ” Manafort knows the answer to that question”.
      In your conserversations with Paul Manafort and/ or his lawyers, did they tell you the answer?
      “If” you know that “Manafort knows the answer”, then it’s “possible” or “likely” that you have proprietary knowledge of Manafort’s ( and Trump’s) knowledge of the Russian “collusion” issue.
      And “if” you are concealing that information, you yourself could ” possibly” be a target for charges of ” obstruction of justice” when they take you “along for the ride”.😧

  5. JT stated, “Rather than portraying Comey as carried away by his biblical flood”

    There’s been a little bit of a disagreement & it’s bible based.

    Romans 13:1-2 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, there is no authority except that which God has established”

    Pastor Jentezen Franklin states, “It’s dangerous to take isolated selections of scripture & use it to justify political standings”.

    1. I agree with the pastor – although it’s odd to see a man of the cloth featured on CNN. Sessions needs to go – he is one of the biggest problems in the Justice Dept. Just ask Judicial Watch.

  6. The FBI did not publically reveal its counter-intelligence investigation of Russia’s efforts at cultivating members of the Trump campaign until Comey’s Congressional testimony in March of 2017. The FBI did not pursue any overt methods of investigation that either Russians or members of the Trump campaign could have leaked to the press until February of 2017. Peter Strzok argued strenuously in favor of overt and aggressive methods of investigation before the 2016 election, but Strzok lost that argument to Comey and McCabe.

    IG Horowitz quotes Sally Yates in his report as stating rather emphatically that the FBI was adamantly opposed to using any aggressive and overt methods in its Russia investigation that could have been leaked to the press, because the FBI was extremely wary of doing anything that could be misconstrued as intervening in, or interfering with, the 2016 election in favor of Clinton and against Trump. And that is why we the people of the United States of America did not know a damned thing about the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s effort at cultivating members of the Trump campaign until Comey’s Congressional testimony of 2017 some four months after election day on November 8th, 2016, and seven months after the FBI investigation began. And even then we were told only that there was an FBI counterintelligence investigation. The details were given to Congress in closed session.

    So, to review the bidding with the original inflection, the FBI/DOJ “conspiracy” to rig the 2016 election in favor of Crooked H and against the MAGA Trump is, was and ever will remain a complete and total figment of the MAGA Trump’s febrile imagination. And there goes your partisan political witch hunt and your deep-state coup d’état to boot. All of Trump’s MAGA tripe will meet the same fate someday. It’s what fate does.

    1. You are delusional.
      Clapper and others leaked to the press. News reporters were bribing FBI agents for leaks. Obama lied to the public about Clinton’s server.

      Trump 2020

        1. They are perfectly capable of both. The problem is that they are in a cult. And like all cultists they ignore facts and sling accusations against those who are not members of the cult: “Hillary supporter”, “deep statist” etc…..

          1. Thanks, Don de Drain. Given the operant conditioning already at work on the MAGA cultists, I’m seriously worried about a major epidemic of experimentally-induced psychosis when the cult is confronted with Mueller’s final report to Rosenstein.

            1. If Mueller’s final report concludes that there were no criminal acts committed by Trump, will your cult also be vulnerable to an epidemic of “psychosis”?

    2. “The FBI did not publically reveal its counter-intelligence investigation of Russia’s efforts at cultivating members of the Trump campaign until Comey’s Congressional testimony in March of 2017. ”

      That is a violation of the law that requires that congress be notified of significant intelligence operations, and were Congress as a whole (or the relevant intelligence committees) can not, then the gang of 8 must be.

      The failure to notify the gang of 8 atleast is a crime.

    3. I have not yet read the entire IG report.

      But I am highly skeptical of your claim regarding Yates.

      While I beleive she might have said that.
      The IG would not have reported it – the IG report is on the Clinton investigation.
      It only touches the Trump investigation when they were interfering with each other.

    4. Asuming Uated made the statement you claim, that would pose a problem for DOJ/FBI
      as the use of Halper is according to DOJ/FBI guidelines exactly the aggressive and overt methods that the FBI/DOJ are preclueded from using where alternatives are available.

      The issue is NOT just interfering with an election. Active measures are precluded when other means exist and require meeting HIGHER standards of evidence.

    5. Are you saying that if the FBI/DOJ had found evidence of actual collusion prior to the election, that they would have ignored it until after the election ?

      Get a clue. The Trump Russia investigation was improper from the start and was deliberate targetting of a political enemy.

      It does not matter whether the goal was to interfere with the election or to engage in a soft coup after.

      It really does not matter what the goal was at all.

      You are constantly fixating on WHY.
      If an act is illegal – WHY does not matter much.

  7. OT – WHY isn’t Professor Turley addressing the Awan bros scandal – the biggest cyber spying incident which implicates House Dims who utilized their “services” as well as other Dems and Republicans who are aware and failed to call it out??

    1. Please post more of this type of material. Also, kindly expound upon the WTC false flag attack, who was on the Grassy Knoll, how America was hoodwinked about Sandy Hook, and the Trilateral Commission. Thanks, I’ll hang up my untraceable payphone and listen.

      this is to “I also got a neato decoder ring” autumnic

      1. You’ve confounded Autumn with ‘Bill McWilliams’ and ‘Ken Rogers’. In re the Kennedy Assassination, you’ve confused her with ‘Ralph Adamo’ as well.

      2. Marky Mark Mark, deflect all you want. Awan scandal real and not going away as much as Sessions and the corrupt Dims and Reps would like it to.

        1. Haha; rich. I’m not sure what a private citizen has to do with wackjob conspiracies, but I do know that “MORE BENGHAZI HEARINGS” is certainly something you dream about.

          this is to “it’s not paranoia if they’re really out to get you” CL

  8. To a large extent the IG’s report was well done. It did an excellent job of establishing the facts.

    It gets weaker as it moves more deeply into analysis.

    It makes several large analytical errors – one of which Turley repeats.

    If the investigation deviated substantially from the law, ethics, and DOJ/FBI guidelines.
    It is not possible to conclude the effect on outcome.

    It is not legitimate to say “if James Comey had made these decisions differently, but not these others” this would be the result – that is far to hypothetical. Whatever Drove Comey to make the bad decisions also drove his other decisions. Get rid of the former and you have no idea what the effect on the latter.

    Once you conclude the significant Misconduct Horowitz found – there is no ability to say anything with confidence about the outcome.

    The next analytical issue that Horowitz missed was that as he found pervasive improper use of private communications for public business among the investigators – that along casts the entire rest of the investigation into doubt. You can not expect pick pockets to investigate burglaries.
    The further fact that some – including Comey had sent classified information via the internet, makes it completely impossible for Comey to objectively investigate Clinton for the same thing.
    Comey is hopelessly prejudiced to exonerate otherwise he too is guilty.

    The final problem – The mistake Turley also makes is confusing criminal and non-criminal standards.

    I get incredibly tired of this claim that Trump’s legal actions were obstructions because of his alleged motive. Absolutley not. No one – not Trump, not Comey, not Strzok should ever face criminal prosecution for a legal act – regardless of alleged motives. That is a ludicrously stupid claim. The fact that it has occasionally bled into our law is horribly destructive.

    Horowitz errs by using the criminal standard I just expressed in the non-criminal context.

    You can not criminally convict someone for legal conduct even if you can prove the most egregious of motives.

    But you can find very serious non-criminal error for legal actions where Bias is self evident, even though documentary evidence of bias in specific decisions is not present.

    Horowitz properly uses the criminal standards with respect to refering actions for further prosecution.
    But he fails by not using the broader standards to evaluate the investigation as a whole.

    The Clinton email investigation was a sham. We may not be able to determine what the outcome of a proper investigation would be, but we can reject this outcome as meaningful and we can conclude that the investigation was poluted by bias merely based on the expressions of participants and the fact that almost errors fell one way

    Horowitz should have been as brutal in his overall assessments as in his examination of narrower issues.

    Thought the report servered political purposes, the real reason is supposed to be learning and changes to preclude similar error in the future that requires more brutal overall criticism that Horowitz mustered.

  9. I wish you answered the headline question. How does the report undermine the obstruction investigation? We knew nearly everything in the report already, except for the salacious and damning text messages. We knew Comey broke FBI rules. That wasn’t even a question. We knew he acted in his own self interest. We knew he could have been fired at any time for his conduct.

    The reason there’s a credible obstruction investigation has nothing to do with the content of the IG’s report but the presidents own statements about why he fired Comey, as well as Comey’s own notes on his meetings.

    Trump himself said on why he fired Comey that Comey’s conduct (Rosenstein’s memo) had nothing to do with it: “In fact, when I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”

    Of course, he backtracked later in a tweet.

    1. There is almost nothing in the Horowitz report we did not “know” before.

      But the Horowitz report is a credible authoritative finding of fact.
      The NYT is not

      Many things that left and right have fought over are much more firmly established.

      A claim that you fired a violent, insubordinant, gay meth-head because he was gay, is not likely to prevail – even if you made anti-gay remarks

      1. A claim that you fired a previously insubordinate FBI Director because he had previously exonerated your political opponent of mishandling classified information is unlikely to prevail even if that same FBI Director had also announced the reopening of the FBI’s investigation into that political opponent’s mishandling of classified information just eleven days before you defeated that political opponent at the polls on election day and even if you had publically praised that FBI Director for that latter decision whilst previously campaigning that the fix was in, the system was rigged, she never should’ve been allowed to run etc.

        Out of curiosity, though, do you have any ideas on what Trump’s story might be tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that??? I love guessing games; you know.

        1. I generally don’t try to read 75-85 word sentences, even when the author is making sense.
          In the case of this 8:24 AM post, I have two reasons not to read it.

          1. So you look for punctuation marks first, and read the sentences second? But if, and only if, you had detected a sufficient number of punctuation marks. Otherwise, you’re just scanning the run-on for sensibility???

            1. Late4Dinner/ “Ramblin’ Prose”,
              “Why you wander, no one knows.”
              To answer your question, people don’t generally take notice of punctuation.
              The ABSENCE of punction when it is warrented in a mega-sentence is what is noticable.

          2. Tom,
            It really doesn’t matter how many words or punctuation marks Annie/Inga/L4D manages to put in her posts. I generally stopped even reading them or taking them seriously the moment she denied the existence of natural rights and concluded all rights come from government. It’s all in the archives.

            1. Olly,…
              I was just trying to get her to show some mercy on those who do read her posts.😉😄
              Just recommending that she familiarize herself with, and use, these tools
              .;:/?!- known as punctuation marks.😒

              1. You are far more patient than I would be. After years of reading her posts, it’s her tortured (or absent) logic, not punctuation that is her problem. I can assure you better punctuation will do little to improve the readability of her contributions.

                1. Olly,..
                  – If I enter a discussion on a thread, I try to read or at least scan all of the other comments before posting my own.
                  That includes scanning L4D’s comments; it’s a chore and a half to trudge through her acres of spin and word salad,but I do read her comments if she’s posted on a thread I’m commenting on.

        2. You keep fixating on the Reason comey was fired. That is wrong and irrelevant in some many ways.

          AGAIN – absent an actual bad act – motive is meaningless.
          Bad motives do not make legitimate acts illegal.

          Trump had the power to fire comey for NO Reason.
          That is the end of this.

          Others have also pointed out that Comey was the head of the FBI – he was not somehow critical to the investigation. It would continue or not after Comey whether Comey was fired or not.
          But it almost certainly would be better lead.

          When people are fired – it is rare that there is only one reason – there is merely the last straw.

          Even if Comey was fired for a WRONG reason – he was STILL legitimately fired and at this moment every person in the country should grasp that – even L4D.

        3. Unlikely you – with respect to potential crimes I DO NOT CARE WHAT TRUMP’s STORY IS.

          Before I care what Trump has said, I need proof that Trump has ACTED criminally.

          Crimes are ACTS not thoughts. This is NOT 1984, there are no “thought crimes”

    2. The reason there’s a credible obstruction investigation has nothing to do with the content of the IG’s report but the presidents own statements about why he fired Comey, as well as Comey’s own notes on his meetings.

      There is no credible ‘obstruction investigation’. The president had plenary discretion to dismiss Comey. The only reason we’re discussing an ‘obstruction investigation’ is that partisan Democrats are needy people requiring emotional validation and Mueller and his crew are crooked lawfare artists.

      1. You don’t understand. Trump and his lawyers are agreed that the President has plenary power to obstruct justice precisely and exactly just because the President has the constitutional authority to grant pardons, including, but not limited to, even himself.

        1. Actually you do not understand the argument.

          It is not that the President is permitted to obstruct (in this case)
          It is that he cant. there are actually multiple arguments, the pardon one is only one.

          They all center arround that it can not be obstruction if the president has the power to do something legitiamately.

          BTW that argument is not unique to the president – though the presidents powers are unique.

          No one can obstruct justice by acting in conformance with their legitimate rights and powers.

      2. There is no credible ‘obstruction investigation’

        Of course there isn’t. To believe firing Comey was an effort to obstruct justice, one would have to believe everyone remaining in the FBI/DOJ/Congress AND THE PLANET were going to give a collective shrug and simply move along.

        The only thing firing Comey guaranteed was an investigation on steroids.

    3. Yeah, that was the first thing that came to my mind.
      Even if Comey deserved to be fired, I guess the obstruction question would be did Trump fire him for those deserved reasons?

  10. to get it over with just suspend the securithy clearances of those obviously untrustworthy and replace them. The difficulty is how far afield of the WFO must one go to find such people?

  11. Just to be sure I read it again for objectivist evidence of your conclusion. So far…. zero, zilch, nada, goose egg.

    1. One sided only in that the one single un-investigated possibility stands alone and clear and still untouched. The initials to jog your memory are HRC in collusion with …. ahhhh but there the razor is needed once again.

        1. The lawfare article does little more than prove that Lawfare is untrustworthy.

          Ignore all the misconduct, error and conflicts, the results are all that count and we like them.

          There is a simple test. Is this the way you want the FBI to conduct investigations ?

          If as an example Mueller botches his investigation this badly and completely exhonerates Trump – would that be acceptable to you ?

          Get a clue – Both Horowitz and Lawfare made on fundimental error.

          When you botch the investigation so badly – the results have no meaning.

          1. dhlii – time after time, line officers noted that if they did what Hillary did they would be in prison.

    2. The report is NOT balanced – it is NOT hard enough. Given what he found Horowitz pulled his punches in his overall assessment. Further he essentially applied a criminal – beyond a reasonable doubt, standard to a government assessment where the goal IS to find mistakes and fix them.

    3. I’ve seen a pundit comment that the IG report did not find political bias, in the same vein that Comey did not find criminal liability for Clinton’s actions with her emails.

  12. We all have to remember that this is the redacted report. We need to see the raw report to see the original analysis and conclusions by Horowitz.

    1. Good point but he method of releasing the information seems to be a road map to a successful investigation thus allowing Horowitz to do the Potomac Two Step out of harms way.

    2. Agreed let the unsanitized version of the report be made public to the House committee(s) and the public and close down these stupid investigations; and get back to doing the proper work for the American people!

        1. The horowitz report is done, complete finito. There is no “getting to the bottom of it”
          We need not hash it again in the hopes the results will favor the left or right more.

          It is Mueller that should be replaced – by a congressionally run investigation.
          That is what would conform to the constitution.

  13. For your assumptions to be reasonably accurate it would seem that you must have private knowledge of Mueller’s case that have yet to be released. Of course that is not reality so, while your article is well written as always, it is simply your opinion based on assumptions and suppositions that are yet to be proven. I get the uneasy sense that you are trying very hard to create doubt in the special prosecutors case… for what reason I do not know. What I do know is that I find it perplexing, confusing, and gives me a sense of uneasiness.

    We must give Mr. Mueller all the time he needs to make his case(s), let the courts sort out the final results, and let the chips fall where they will. Anything less is a travesty to the concept of justice in America.

    1. Not to mention make more money and keep this going during the elections ending in a book deal or two and satisfying political bias.

    2. Mr Reece I also have a sense of uneasiness due to the totality of circumstances- ie demonstrated bias, unverified steele dossier used as probable cause for a FISA warrant, use of Logan Act violation to investigate General Flynn, use of spies / informants to gather intel after unconfirmed drunken conversations which are now being refuted by Downer and Halper, Comey’s failure to brief congress on a counter intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, etc, etc – which leads me to believe that this whole investigation has absolutely no merit. I worked for a major law enforcement agency in CA for 33 years and 20 of those years supervising investigations. If me or any one of my teams had used such flimsy evidence and unverified information to target even the most heinous of criminals, our bosses would have shut us down after a week of this nonsense and rightly so. When such shoddy investigative work is allowed to continue, the civil rights of the subjects and targets are violated and the law enforcement entity now becomes as crooked as the criminals they are investigating.

      Any respectable law enforcement agency must terminate such an investigation immediately lest they lose all sense of public confidence. One does not allow such an investigation to continue in any manner, shape or form. Instead this entire cabal must be shut down and thorough internal investigation must ensue whether it be a second special counsel or by some other competent authority.

    3. Actually not – we ALL know the facts. The only think Mueller could know – which we do not, and it is pretty clear Mueller does not know either, is Trump’s intentions.

      There never was Obstruction even if Trump litterally fired Comey to thwart the Russia investigation and cover his own ass. He was constitutionally permitted to do so.
      You can impeach based on your clairvoyant determination of Trump’s motives, but you can not claim a crime.

    4. For your assumptions to be reasonably accurate it would seem that you must have private knowledge of Mueller’s case that have yet to be released.

      His indictments secured to date have consisted of process crimes, Russian internet trolls, and a complex of dubious complaints about Paul Manafort’s (pre-2015) business dealings. That’s a tell, Mr. Reece, your hopes and dreams notwithstanding.

  14. Sorry I just remembered these other proofs of political bias: Comey wrote HRC’s exoneration prior to interviewing her. AG Low-retta Lynch ordered Comey to change the text “investigation” (of HRC) to a “matter.” “Investigation” implies crimes, “matter” does not.

    Anyone except a DNC sycophant is crystal clear the fix was in for HRC, immunity granted for nothing in return, no one charged, clearly she committed several felonies (confirmed in the IG report)….then the exact polar opposite with Trump and Russia investigation: they raided Manafort’s home at 4:30 am with guns drawn.

    And finally (for now), the IG report unequivocally proved that His Royal Majesty Geezis Soetoro Obama lied when he said he found out about HRC’s email problem by watching the news. Proof: Geezis himself used a private anonymous email to reply to HRC’s private email. The only way on earth this could occur is after HRC or her minion gave HRC’s private email account to Geezis or his minion, to add HRC’s private email to Geezis’ email access.

    And still to this day: no where in the criminal statute is it stated that “intent” to deceive is required to charge. Yet the MSM repeated constantly and still does, the lie that intent is required to be proved for the felony charge of revealing state secrets. And we know now, unequivocally, HRC and every MSM news source lied in saying that no Confidential secrets were hacked from HRC’s account, because the IG report documents the opposite. HRC lied in saying she thought the “C” referred to paragraph letters, when even an idiot reading the documents can see there’s not A,B,C, D, etc.

    If HRC did not know C meant confidential, she’s a blathering idiot and a felon, not brilliant as her sycophants say.

  15. I feel of all the possible charges against Trump et al, Obstruction in the firing of Comey may be among the weakest although Obstruction of the investigation in general will be noted. Following the money will be sufficient to take down several of the people involved, including the money launderer-in-chief.

    1. What a broken record. You’ve repeated this 100x, and we’re still waiting. What’s your current Rx for TDS? Oh, is Carter Page still a treasonous felon?

        1. A trail that leads nowhere.
          Page has testified repeatedly and been interviewed thoroughly.
          For an idiot he has unlike all the other smart people managed to not get tripped by by any “lies”.

          Either you must accept that he is telling the truth and most of your vehicle for Trump Russia collusion goes down the tubes,

          Or you must explain why Mueller has left him alone ?

            1. You need to check the time line.

              Even Steel requires Page and Papadoulis as the initial links to Russia.

              The truly dangerous “collusion” claim is that Trump had prior knowledge of the DNC hack.
              Everything related to Flynn, Gates, Trump Jr. Kushner, Manafort is too late.

              I would also note that Trump Jr, and Kushner have testified as have many others regarding their actions and again no indictments. That means you must presume that Mueller can not disprove even the smallest part of their testimony.

              One of the consequences of nailing Papadoulis, Flynn, Gates, and Van Der Zwann for very small testimonial errors, is that you know that Mueller will got often the tiniest discrepancy
              Therefore if he does not go after them, he can not have even the tiniest discrepancy.

    2. C’mon Enigma, again with the money laundering? Why are you so convinced about this? If foreigners purchased units in a Trump building to wash some money, how would citizen Trump be aware unless he was directly involved in the selling of a unit? That’s what he hires people for, to complete sales. The Trump Tower in Manhattan was sold out within the 1st year. So any units sold afterward would not involve him at all.

      Maybe you have a different angle that you want to discuss.

      Anyway, I think Mr. Comey originally spouted out because of AG Lynch’s concern about calling the investigation, a matter. I’m sure he felt that the fix was in so got off his piece of mind in laying out the particulars to charge Sec. Clinton and then somehow alleging ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ shtick. And of course it was called the Mid Year Exam because they knew the ‘matter’ had to be completed by June. Not a great way to investigate, when there’s a deadline.

      1. “How would citizen Trump be aware?” Because it was part of his marketing plan. Look at Trump Tower Panama and Trump Tower Toronto? He (and his son who talked about it) was aware it was Russian money funding his golf courses. Wouldn’t you be aware of your source of money when the world’sn banks stopped lending to you> Deutsche Banks record of money laundering Russian money was well known as was the Bank of Cyprus (where he picked up Wilbur Ross). Yeah, me again with the money laundering. Steve Bannon called it before the investigation even started rolling good.
        ““You realize where this is going,” Bannon said in the book. “This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to f–ing Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner. … It’s as plain as a hair on your face.” – Steve Bannon
        The part that follows is my favorite, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.”

        1. enigma – Trump brands buildings and takes the money. He doesn’t build them anymore. He franchises. Trump Moscow was to be a franchise.

        2. So the marketing plan consists of “Russian criminals, this is a great vehicle if you need to exchange rubles for dollars”

          1. ” ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.” – Eric Trump

          2. Ownership concealment. That’s how it works. Trump pretends to own things that Trump does not actually own. Somebody else own it. Trump pretends to sell things that somebody else is actually selling. Trump pretends to buy things that somebody else is actually buying. And Trump pretends to build things that somebody else is actually building. Trump, The Brand, is but a conduit for concealing the true ownership of Trump’s reported assets. If Trump actually owns ten-cents on a dollar of Trump’s reported assets, it will be a miracle. Chances are that Trump only owns about five-cents on a dollar of Trump’s reported assets. If so, then roughly 19 out of every 20 dollars that Trump reportedly owns is actually owned by . . . [“?”]

            1. You have no clue what you are talking about.

              The real world does not work as you described – but even if it did, there would be nothing wrong with that.

              Apple was not owned by Steve Job’s – though he owned a significant PORTION of it.
              Amazon is not owned by Jeff Bezos – though he owned a significant poriton of it.
              NewsOfTheWorld is not owned by Rupert Murdock – though he owns a significant portion of it.

              All of this is pretty normal.

    3. Money laundering requires the money must be the proceeds of a crime.

      Mueller seems to have failed to read that part of the law.
      As have you

        1. “Maybe the Russian mob is made up of honest citizens?”

          It does not matter, unless Russia charges them – there is still no crime and no money laundering.

        2. The MAGA cultists are so predictable. Now they’re seriously arguing that money-laundering ought not to be a crime. It ought to be just another business model, instead. Yes. A business model that shuffles invoices back and forth between umpteen shell companies set up by Joseph Mifsud and his cohorts at the London Institute for the Study of International Law ought not to be a crime. And who says Paul Manafort could not seriously maintain a collection of several thousand oriental rugs, anyhow? Stranger fetishes have happened; you know.

  16. Immediately after the IG published his report, NPR made it their life’s mission to announce several times per hour “the report revealed there was no political bias.” Of course, that’s pure unadulterated baloney. The IG said (grotesquely and egregiously wrong) “I found no evidence of political bias,” which is most definitely not that no such bias existed. A perfect analogy would be to say, “the only planet with beings on it in the universe is earth” (because there is no known contrary evidence).

    The lead investigator of HRC’s several un-charged felony crimes and the lead on the Russia investigation, Strzok typed he would “stop” Trump from becoming President. Also, another unnamed FBI schmuck said he visited a WV Walmart and “smelled the stench of his (Trump’s) voters.” Strzok said he had “an insurance policy” in the rare case that Trump won. (Trump haters: if the policy was not the Russia investigation, define the policy. I can’t wait to see Strzok’s sorry arse answering this question under oath.)

    Comey was “proud” his 4 daughters and wife attended the alleged “women’s march” the day after Trump’s inauguration. Mrs. Comey in an interview said she was deeply disappointed HRC lost.

    Pray tell, Trump haters, if the above is not evidence of political bias, give an example of such.

    1. Amen JJ. Just look at the name of the investigation, Mid Year Exam. Pretty simple to know that the ‘matter’ had to be finished by end of June. Not a great way to have an investigation.

    2. Actually horowitz asserted he found no testimonial and documentational evidence of bias – which is still wrong.
      And further he assertion was narrow. He specifically noted on many decisions he could not rule out bias.

  17. That dog won’t hunt. The Mueller investigation isn’t about obstruction per se; it was the FBl investigation for a year before that. lt’s about Putin’s (and others!) interference in our elections, & any other crimes found along the way. But you’ve become a Trump toady, sacrificing your integrity for boob-tube time. Sad. Bigly.

    1. Me thinks your Clintonesque posturing indicates an attempt to put a bright shine on a heavily tarnished effort, But the last three sentences show the effects of George Lykoff and overdoing it gave the game away.

  18. As I have Said, Professor Turley, you’re one of my most reads and I have periodically shared your insights in my WordPress Corner–but your views are of concern because in many respects they run contrary to the report which I have had a chance to review and the insightful commentary by the team at Lawfare addresses-your views, also, give fire to folks like Giuilani who’s an absolute disgrace..On a very crucial note, .Happy Fathers to you and all the Fathers here in the JT Community: https://www.lawfareblog.com/nine-takeaways-inspector-generals-report-clinton-email-investigation

    1. Those at Lawfare can not read.

      Actually read the report and answer a very simple question – is this how you beleive the DOJ/FBI should conduct all investigations ?

      Unless you can answer that “yes” in which case you are beyond hope, then the entire Lawfare analysis is garbage.

      You can not have both a keystone cops disaster circus, and a credible and trustworthy investigation.

      Mostly The IG report is excellent it has three serious flaws.

      It apply the criminal – beyond reasonable doubt standard where the burden is off 180 – if the investigation is not done with near perfection it is by definition flawed.

      It failed to note that the DOJ/FBI’s own mishandling of government communications created a conflict that should have barred most of those involved from participating.
      People who were engaged int he same misconduct on a smaller scale than Clinton can not judge Clinton.

      After finding the grand scale of error that the IG found, it was NOT POSSIBLE to draw conclusions about the outcome.

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