Democrats have long complained that then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement in late October 2016 that he was re-opening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails cost them the presidential election.
But the report of the Department of Justice Inspector General, released Thursday, shows that the FBI may actually have neglected an investigation into emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop in an effort to stop Donald Trump from winning.
The report notes the FBI, working together with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York (SDNY), had begun investigating Weiner in September 2016. They realized as early as Sep. 26 that his computer had hundreds of thousands of emails, many of which were from Clinton-related or State Department domains. They informed FBI headquarters in D.C., but no one did anything for four weeks until a prosecutor in SDNY complained.
The Inspector General notes that the FBI had already prioritized the Russia investigation – i.e. targeting Trump – over the Clinton investigation. The report also expresses concern that the political biases of the agents involved – specifically, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – may have affected the decision to do nothing about Weiner’s laptop. The report specifically points to Strzok’s text message that suggested he would be willing to stop Trump from winning.
The complaint from SDNY triggered a series of events that convinced Comey he needed to act. Comey told the Inspector General he assumed Clinton would win and did not want her presidency to seem “illegitimate.”
In sum, the FBI may have neglected Weiner’s laptop to help Clinton win, and only took it up once Comey was convinced she would.
If Democrats have cause for complaint, it is that the FBI’s apparent efforts to help her were so inept.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.