The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Few IG Report Thoughts

1 The biggest misconception I’m seeing is that the report found that political bias did not affect the conduct of the Trump and Clinton investigations. See, for example, this write-up at the website Just Security. Kate Brannen notes that the inspector general worried that Peter Srzok’s bias contributed to the puzzling delay in examining Anthony Weiner’s emails. She adds, “Ultimately, the IG found that Strzok’s political bias, and its potential to influence decisions in the Clinton investigation, had no effect.” I don’t think this is correct. The report does not purport to show that his bias contributed to the delay, but does not exclude the possibility either. We are left with the fact of the delay, a number of proffered explanations for it, and the fact of his hostility to Trump.

2 The report has renewed the debate on whether Comey’s October 28, 2016, letter announcing the re-opening of the investigation into Clinton cost her the election. (One often-forgotten point: Clinton herself has reportedly also blamed Comey’s letter from nine days later, re-closing the investigation, for her defeat.) It was a close election, decided by fewer than 78,000 votes in three states, so it is certainly possible that but for the letter she would have won–which also means that but for her indefensible email conduct, she would have won. But her own flaws and choices as a candidate led to Trump’s being in striking distance in the first place.

3 President Trump’s comment that the report exonerates him on collusion and obstruction is baseless, as the report does not consider those questions.

 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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