By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former FBI Director James Comey made a “serious error of judgment” when he announced shortly before the 2016 U.S. presidential election that he was reopening an investigation into candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog said on Thursday.
The 500-page report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that Comey did not exhibit any political bias or try to influence the election.
However, it criticized him for violating Justice Department policies and accused him of usurping the authority of Attorney General Loretta Lynch when in July 2016 he announced there would be no charges against Clinton for her email use as secretary of state.
In addition, the report was highly critical of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI staff members who exchanged highly charged political messages, finding their texts cast a cloud over the FBI and created the appearance of bias.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)