The “investigation of the investigators” that Trump demanded has found no evidence of political bias against Trump within the FBI.
As part of our review, we also sought to determine whether there was evidence that political bias or other improper considerations affected decision making in Crossfire Hurricane, including the decision to open the investigation. We discussed the issue of political bias in a prior OIG report, Review of Various Actions in Advance of the 2016 Election, where we described text and instant messages between then Special Counsel to the Deputy Director Lisa Page and then Section Chief Peter Strzok, among others, that included statements of hostility toward then-candidate Trump and statements of support for then-candidate Hillary Clinton.
In his review, we found that, while Lisa Page attended some of the discussions regarding the opening of the investigations, she did not play a role in the decision to open Crossfire Hurricane or the four individual cases.
We further found that while Strzok was directly involved in the decisions to open Crossfire Hurricane and the four individual cases, he was not the sole, or even the highest-level, decision-maker as to any of those matters. As noted above, then CD AD Priestap, Strzok’s supervisor, was the official who ultimately made the decision to open the investigation, and evidence reflected that this decision by Priestap was reached by consensus after multiple days of discussions and meetings that included Strzok and other leadership in CD, the FBI Deputy Director, the FBI General Counsel, and a FBI Deputy General Counsel.
We concluded that Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision. We similarly found that, while the formal documentation opening each of the four individual investigations was approved by Strzok (as required by the DIOG), the decisions to do so were reached by a consensus among the Crossfire Hurricane agents and analysts who identified individuals associated with the Trump campaign who had recently traveled to Russia or had other alleged ties to Russia. Priestap was involved in these decisions. We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations.
Trump attacked and maligned FBI agents for years with zero evidence. It turns out that the FBI investigation wasn’t a conspiracy against Trump. The FBI agents weren’t out to get his campaign. Trump’s daughter Ivanka had a friendly relationship with Christopher Steele for years, and all of the conspiracy theories that Trump and the conservative media were spouting for years were lies.
Donald Trump demanded that the DOJ conduct this investigation, and it blew up in the president’s face.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association