Former FBI Director James Comey said he acted appropriately in his handling of the Clinton email investigation, disagreeing with some conclusions in the lengthy report the Justice Department inspector general’s office released Thursday.
“Nothing in the inspector general’s report makes me think we did the wrong thing,” Comey wrote in an op-ed published by The New York Times.
“The inspector general’s team went through the FBI’s work with a microscope and found no evidence that bias or improper motivation affected the investigation, which I know was done competently, honestly and independently,” Comey wrote.
The Justice Department’s inspector general released an exhaustive report detailing a series of ways Comey overstepped his authority on the Clinton email probe. But the IG ultimately concluded that political bias did not taint Comey’s ultimate conclusion, that no reasonable prosecutor would recommend criminal charges against Clinton for her handling of classified information.
Comey added he felt vindicated by that judgment, saying the report “resoundingly demonstrates that there was no prosecutable case against Mrs. Clinton, as we had concluded.”
He adds, “that probably will not stop some from continuing to claim the opposite is true.”
Donald Trump, both as a candidate and as President, has continued to assert — without any factual support — that the FBI’s investigation was “rigged” in Clinton’s favor.
The President has also regularly singled out Comey’s conduct during the email probe and briefly used it as justification for his abrupt termination in May 2017 but admitted that he would have fired him anyway and the “Russia thing” was on his mind.
While the report hits Comey for violating departmental norms, the former FBI director said he believes his decisions were “consistent with institutional values.”
“With the added benefit of hindsight, the inspector general sees some things differently,” Comey wrote. “My team believed the damage of concealing the reopening of our investigation would have been catastrophic to the institution. The inspector general weighs it differently, and that’s OK, even though I respectfully disagree.”
Comey insisted the IG report “should serve to both protect and build the reservoir of trust and credibility necessary for the Department of Justice and the FBI to remain strong and independent and to continue their good work for our country.”