Gerry Connolly on DOJ IG report on FBI actions before 2016 election

Gerry ConnollyCongressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Vice Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released the following statement on today’s release of the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report on FBI activities prior to the 2016 election.

“There is no way around it. Former FBI Director James Comey’s misconduct and profoundly bad judgement helped elect Donald Trump President of the United States. Inspector General Horowitz found that Mr. Comey’s actions violated FBI policy, practice, and protocol. Mr. Comey should not have characterized uncharged conduct by former Secretary Clinton. Mr. Comey usurped the authority of the Attorney General through his unilateral announcements on July 5 and October 28. Mr. Comey applied a double standard to the investigations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump by disclosing details of one and not the other. And Mr. Comey demonstrated a “serious error of judgement” when he made public announcements about an ongoing investigation in the waning days of the 2016 election. Furthermore, when Mr. Comey unveiled his October surprise, he neglected to disclose that the FBI had sat on the pertinent information for nearly a month before making an urgent and high profile disclosure in the waning days of the election. It is all the more maddening that the information in question amounted to nothing. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.

“This is not a good report for President Trump and the “Lock Her Up” crowd. The IG “found no evidence that the conclusions by Department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations.” Rather “they were based on the prosecutors’ assessment of the facts, the law, and past Department practice.” This undermines the central tenets of their conspiracy and should silence their rabid attacks on the rule of law.

“President Trump and Congressional Republicans will no doubt continue their assault on Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation in the same way they attacked the FBI and Department of Justice throughout the Clinton email investigation. But among the most important lessons of this report “is the need for the Department and FBI leadership to follow its established procedures and policies even in its highest-profile and most challenging investigations.” That is what we must insist upon amid the storm that lies ahead – a stubborn adherence to process in the pursuit of justice.”