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Strzok was a lead investigator during the inquiry into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's past use of a private email server, and he worked with Mueller's team investigating any potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

In his report released Thursday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz rebuked Comey for violating longstanding tradition and usurping the attorney general's authority when he announced in July 2016 that Clinton would not face charges because there was no "clear evidence" that she "intended to violate" the law.

The report says the watchdog "did not find documentary or testimonial evidence" that political bias directly affected parts of the probe, it says Page and Strzok's conduct "cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation".

Clinton and her supporters, on the other hand, have complained that the timing of Comey's announcement that the investigation was being reopened badly hurt her chances to defeat her Republican rival.

And while the watchdog says Comey didn't act in a biased way to impact the election - despite allegations by Clinton and her supporters that Comey was part of her hell-freezing-over-type loss to a reality TV show star - it did say that "our task was made significantly more hard because of text and instant messages exchanged on FBI devices and systems by five FBI employees involved in the Midyear investigation".

"In one particularly shocking exchange, Strzok told Page "We'll stop it", after being asked, "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? "No he's not. We'll stop it".

The Horowitz report was also highly critical of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two Federal Bureau of Investigation staff members who exchanged highly charged political messages, finding their texts cast a cloud over the Federal Bureau of Investigation and created the appearance of bias.

Horowitz found a "troubling lack of any direct, substantive communication" between Comey and Attorney-General Lynch ahead of Comey's July 5 press conference on Clinton and his October 28 letter to Congress.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was "alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General's finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI" in the Clinton probe.

Ron Kaufman, a Quincy native who served as policy director in former President George H.W. Bush's White House, noting that President Trump has been heavily criticized for firing Comey, said the report "vindicates the president - Mr. Comey should have been let go".

Just hours after the Justice Department's internal watchdog issued a scathing report on how senior officials within the FBI and Justice Department handled several matters tied to the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday offered an unequivocal defense of the agency he now leads. Apparently, those officials now include Comey. "Right?!" the lawyer, Lisa Page, wrote to Strzok.

In particular, the report is said to focus on two controversial decisions Comey made.

Strzok tried to explain to investigators that his message to Page "was meant to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation".

However, Judicial Watch says that at least 18 emails containing classified information were found on Weiner's laptop that had been forwarded from his wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

The long-awaited findings of the inspector general at the Justice Department were finally released Thursday, and it reveals clearly that officials high up in the food chain were out to protect Hillary Clinton by any means necessary.

"Nothing in this report lays a glove on Mueller" or his investigation, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.

"In the August 8, 2016 text message Page questions whether Trump will become president saying, "[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right?

In its official response to report, the bureau emphasized that while it "recognizes mistakes were made...." "I think it will help us better fix any problems that we have and reassure the American people that some of the concerns that have been raised are not true". The report did not discuss the special counsel's investigation.


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