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White House says report affirms Trump’s suspicions about Comey

White House says report affirms Trump’s suspicions about Comey

WASHINGTON — The Latest on a report by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

The White House says a report by the Justice Department’s watchdog on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation is reaffirming President Donald Trump’s “suspicions” about former FBI Director James Comey’s conduct.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the inspector general’s report is also reaffirming Trump’s suspicions about the “political bias among some of the members of the FBI.” She is deferring additional comments to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

The report says Comey was “insubordinate” in his conduct of the probe, but it didn’t find he was motivated by political bias.

Sanders says Trump was briefed on the report’s findings earlier in the day.

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2:55 p.m.

Former FBI Director James Comey says he disagrees with some of the conclusions of the Justice Department’s inspector general about his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

But Comey says in a tweet that he respects the inspector general’s work and believes the conclusions are “reasonable.” He says “people of good faith” can see the “unprecedented situation differently.”

Comey’s comments come in response to the public release of a report that is heavily critical of his decisions in the probe. The report says Comey was insubordinate and departed from established protocol numerous times.

The report does find that Comey’s actions were not politically motivated to help either candidate.

Comey also wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times responding to the report’s findings.

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2:40 p.m.

An FBI investigator who worked on probes into Hillary Clinton’s emails and into Russian interference in the 2016 election told an FBI lawyer “we’ll stop” Donald Trump from becoming president.

The inflammatory texts between Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page are highlighted in the report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which is critical of former FBI director James Comey’s handling of the investigations.

According to the report, Page texted Strzok in August 2016: “(Trump’s) not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Strzok responded: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

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.”

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2:05 p.m.

The Justice Department has issued a stinging rebuke to the FBI for its handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The report released Thursday calls former FBI Director James Comey “insubordinate” and says his actions were “extraordinary.”

But the report, by the department’s watchdog, does not find evidence that Comey was motivated by political bias or preference in his decisions.

The report criticized Comey for publicly announcing his recommendation against criminal charges for Clinton. It also faulted him for alerting Congress days before the 2016 election that the investigation was being reopened because of newly discovered emails.

President Donald Trump has been eager for the report in hopes that it would vindicate his decision to fire Comey and undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

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12:15 p.m.

The Justice Department’s watchdog faults former FBI Director James Comey for breaking with established protocol in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But it found that his decisions were not driven by political bias.

The report also criticizes Comey for not keeping then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other Justice Department superiors properly informed about his handling of the investigation.

That’s according to a person familiar with the report’s conclusions who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The person was not authorized to speak on the record because the report is not yet public.

The report’s findings are set to be made public later Thursday. It represents the culmination of an 18-month review into one of the most consequential FBI investigations in recent history.

__ Chad Day in Washington

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12:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump was expected to receive a briefing at the White House on a report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was spotted entering the West Wing on Thursday. White House officials have not yet confirmed that Rosenstein will be conducting the briefing.

The inspector general’s detailed report is set to be released later in the day. It will look at how the nonpartisan law enforcement agency became entangled in the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump is expected to use the report to renew his attack against two former top FBI officials — Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe.

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11:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is bashing the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling as a “pile of garbage” ahead of the release of a highly anticipated report looking into the Justice Department’s conduct during the 2016 election.

Trump says in a pair of tweets that now that he’s back from his summit with North Korea, “the thought process must sadly go back to the Witch Hunt.”

Trump is yet again insisting there was “No Collusion and No Obstruction of the fabricated No Crime” and is accusing Democrats of making up “a phony crime,” paying “a fortune to make the crime sound real,” and then “Collud(ing) to make this pile of garbage take on life in Fake News!”

The report by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog is being released Thursday afternoon and is expected to criticize the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

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11:35 a.m.

Two Republican-led House committees say their own monthslong probe into the now-closed FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails has so far shown “questionable decision-making” by the agency.

A document listing preliminary conclusions was obtained by The Associated Press ahead of a separate report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog. That much-anticipated report is due to be released Thursday afternoon. It is expected to criticize the FBI’s handling of the investigation.

Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees say they have “substantial questions about whether DOJ and FBI properly analyzed and interpreted the law surrounding mishandling of classified information.” They charge that the FBI did not follow legal precedent and treated the Clinton probe differently from other cases.

The Republicans allege bias against Donald Trump in his campaign against Clinton.

— Mary Clare Jalonick

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1 a.m.

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is releasing its much-anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

The report being issued Thursday afternoon is the culmination of an 18-month review of one of the most consequential FBI investigations in recent history.

Its findings will revive debate about whether FBI actions affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and contributed to Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.

Trump’s supporters have eagerly awaited the report in hopes that it would skewer the judgment of James Comey, who was fired as FBI director last year.

Among the actions scrutinized is Comey’s decision to publicly announce his recommendation against prosecuting Clinton, and his disclosure to Congress days before the election that the investigation was being revived because of newly discovered emails.

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