>> Former FBI director James Comey made a serious error of judgement during the 2016 election as he investigated Hillary Clinton's email practices. But he didn't try to sway the outcome of the race. That's the conclusion of a much-anticipated report by the Justice Department's internal watchdog. I'm Andy Sullivan in Washington, where Democrats are saying the 500-page report is further proof that Comey was out to get Clinton.
Republicans are saying it's proof that the FBI was out to get Donald Trump. It's a sign that Comey continues to be a lightning rod more than a year after Trump fired him. This report makes the case that Comey, however inadvertently, helped Trump win the White House even as he was investigating his campaign's ties to Russia, a probe that continues to this day.
The justice department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, rejected Trump's claim that Comey or others at the FBI were trying to help Clinton get elected. The report did not criticize Comey for not recommending criminal charges against Clinton for using a private email server while she was Secretary of State. But the report doesn't let Comey off the hook.
The watchdog says Comey deviated from FBI guidelines when he decided to go public with his findings, undercutting the authority of then Attorney General Loretta Lynch.>> They were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly- classified information.>> Horowitz wrote, quote, we found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors.
>> The President was briefed on the IG report earlier today and it reaffirmed the President's suspicions about Comey's conduct.>> The report also says Comey's decision to reopen the probe just weeks before the election may have cost Clinton the White House, a sentiment shared by many of Clinton's Democratic supporters.
For Trump's Republican supporters, the most interesting part doesn't involve Comey at all. The report finding that two FBI agents involved in the probe exchanged text messages. One of them asked if Trump will become president, the other responding quote, no he won't, we'll stop it. The Inspector General said that exchange cast a cloud over the FBI, those two agents now facing possible discipline.