In a stinging rebuke, the Justice Department watchdog declared Thursday that former FBI Director James Comey was "insubordinate" in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in the explosive final months of the 2016 presidential campaign.
The records of the messages were published in a report from the Department of Justice's inspector general, which conducted an internal review of the FBI's handling of the inquiry into the Clinton email investigation.
The report also criticized FBI agent Strzok and former FBI lawyer Page, who were having an affair, for exchanging anti-Trump text messages that "cast a cloud" over the credibility of the investigation, but found no evidence "that these political views directly affected the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed". "It's like, we'll stop him with the power of the vote?"
His report about the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server is the Ulysses of government reports - a universe in microcosm, a bottomless trove, an opus that will be studied for generations. or at least until the next big flap blows up on TV.
"The IG Report is a total disaster for Comey, his minions and sadly, the FBI", Trump wrote.
In his first public comments on the report, Trump said in a pair of tweets early Friday that he had done "a great service" for the American people by firing Comey past year.
The report blasts Comey for deviating from Justice Department guidelines when he held a July 5, 2016, news conference to announce that there would be no criminal charges brought against Clinton and also to accuse her of carelessness in her use of the private email server.
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The FBI is now led by someone Trump picked, Director Christopher A. Wray. In October 2016, less than two weeks before election day, Comey sent members of Congress a letter disclosing that a probe into Clinton's e-mails was being reopened after new e-mails were found.
The report says the exchange is "indicative of a biased state of mind" and "implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate's electoral prospects". He told investigators the FBI found itself in the middle of a "500-year flood" and that he "weighed the need to preserve the credibility and integrity of the Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation". "The sandernistas have the potential to make a very big mistake here", Page texted.
In a wide-ranging interview Friday morning with Fox and Friends, Trump said that he did not want to get involved in Justice Department matters but that what former FBI Director James Comey had done "was a awful thing to the people".
Bill Clinton, also interviewed in the IG investigation, said he had "absolutely not" discussed the probe. I did a great service to the people in firing him.
The FBI's inspector general released a report this week that revealed previously unreported text messages between Strzok and Page while the two worked on the investigation, in which Strzok assured Page that the investigation would "stop" Trump from becoming president. Strzok has become a special target of President Donald Trump, who has used the texts to question the Russian Federation investigation.
He later headed a separate investigation into alleged ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian Federation. His advisers had suggested that a decision would be delayed until after Trump's summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore, which the president completed earlier this week.
In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the report shows "a number of significant errors by the senior leadership of the Department of Justice during the previous administration".