The Justice Department’s ethics watchdog reportedly found no evidence that the political leanings of two FBI officials, who exchanged text messages critical of 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 during the 2016 presidential race, directly affected the FBI’s investigations, while noting that their conduct “cast a cloud” over the bureau’s actions.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz did not find that the conduct or potential political bias of FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page “directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” according to the report’s conclusions, which were obtained Thursday by Bloomberg.
“We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed,” Horowitz’s report conclusions reads, according to Bloomberg.
“The conduct by these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.”
Page and Strzok have faced a barrage of attacks by conservatives who say their “anti-Trump” text messages serve as proof of systemic bias against the president.
Conservative critics have homed in specifically on the fact that they served on two key investigations: the probe into Hillary ClintonRobert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE ‘s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, including any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.Hillary 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 handling of classified materials while secretary of State and special counsel
Mueller promptly removed Strzok from his investigative team after an internal review conducted by Horowitz discovered the texts. Page has since left the bureau.