James Comey Claims Exoneration Despite Damning Inspector General Report

Former FBI Director James Comey kicked-off his Senate testimony with a bid to set the record straight about the state of the bureau he led until he was sacked last month
© AFP Brendan Smialowski

Former FBI Director James Comey claimed he was exonerated by the Inspector General report on Monday, despite significant findings of mismanagement by Justice Department IG Michael Horowitz.

In an op-ed published by the Washington Post, Comey denied that there was a “criminal conspiracy” to get Trump and argued that there was no “illegal wiretapping,” and claimed the FBI was not “spying” on the Trump campaign.

In fact, the report details significant missteps by FBI officials in the process of the investigation under Comey’s tenure, specifically regarding the process of obtaining FISA warrants.

The report showed that Comey knew that the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele was flawed, but inexplicably judged it worthy enough to obtain FISA warrants. The FISA application was found to be inaccurate and unsupported by the evidence presented to the judge.

Comey was dismissive of the details of seventeen critical errors found by the Inspector General in the FISA applications to spy on members of Trump’s campaign advisers.

“That’s always unfortunate, but human beings make mistakes,” he wrote.

The Inspector General report found “numerous instances in which factual representations in those applications were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation.”

Horowitz specifically called out senior leadership at the FBI, including Comey, for the badly mismanaged process.

“In our view, this was a failure of not only the operational team but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command,” the report read.

The report also criticized Comey’s FBI for using the intelligence briefings given to Trump as a presidential candidate as a method of collecting information for the investigation.

“The supervisor memorialized the results of the briefing in an official FBI document, including instances where he was engaged by Trump and Flynn, as well as anything he considered related to the FBI or pertinent to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation,” the report read.

Comey was correct that the Horowitz report claimed that the investigation was opened without evidence of political bias. But that conclusion was disputed by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who cited their ongoing investigations as evidence that the investigation was not complete.

Comey used that aspect of the report for a victory lap — and accused Barr of acting as a “spokesman” for Trump by continuing the investigation.

“The FBI fulfilled its mission — protecting the American people and upholding the U.S. Constitution,” Comey wrote. “Now those who attacked the FBI for two years should admit they were wrong.”

Comey’s op-ed earned him derision from critics on Twitter.

“I see James Comey has a victory lap op-ed out, making it clear he didn’t read the report,” Rep. Mark Meadows wrote on Twitter. “Which is at least consistent with his management style of apparently not reading FISA applications.”

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