A new report from the Department of Justice inspector general found that former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeySessions defends firing Comey, warns DOJ report could prompt more terminations The Strzok-Page texts are enough to make us want less transparency in government – not more The Hill’s Morning Report – Ryan dodges disaster on immigration MORE and other bureau officials used personal email accounts to conduct government business.
The use of personal emails marks an ironic breach of protocol from Comey, given he oversaw the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSessions defends firing Comey, warns DOJ report could prompt more terminations Sanders gets best reception at early 2020 audition Hillicon Valley: DHS gets new cyber chief | White House warns lawmakers not to block ZTE deal | White nationalists find home on Google Plus | Comcast outbids Disney for Fox | Anticipation builds for report on FBI Clinton probe MORE ‘s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his eagerly anticipated report Thursday afternoon on the FBI’s handling of the investigation in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
The report found that Comey and FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page used personal email accounts to conduct official bureau business. The report is likely to fuel criticisms of each individual amid concerns from President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti: ‘I think that Michael Cohen is in a very, very bad spot’ MSNBC reporter: Detained immigrant children ‘effectively incarcerated’ in Texas facility GOP chairwoman: Anyone who doesn’t support Trump ‘will be making a mistake’ MORE and Republicans about DOJ conduct.
“We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account a (Gmail account) to conduct FBI business,” the report states.
In November 2016, Comey forwarded an email with the subject line “Midyear thoughts” to his personal account from his government account. The email detailed Comey’s reasoning for informing Congress that the FBI had restarted its Clinton investigation after initially finding no wrongdoing.
A month later, he forwarded another email to his personal account that proposed responses to two requests for information from the Office of Special Counsel.
Comey told the inspector general he did not use his personal email or laptop for sensitive or classified information, and had no security concerns about the practice of using a personal account.
“It was incidental and I was always making sure that the work got forwarded to the government account to either my own account or (Jim) Rybicki, so I wasn’t worried from a record-keeping perspective,” he told investigators.
The inspector general also found multiple instances where FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page used personal email accounts for government business.
“Most troubling, on October 29, 2016, Strzok forwarded from his FBI account to his personal email account an email about the proposed search warrant the Midyear team was seeking on the (Anthony) Weiner laptop,” the report states.
“The email included a draft of the search warrant affidavit, which contained information from the Weiner investigation that appears to have been under seal at the time,” the report continues.
Republicans have seized on text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page before and shortly after the 2016 election that were critical of Trump. The report found the messages did not impact their work.