California’s GOP Rep. Darrell Issa said the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation shows evidence of politically motivated “bias” and “conspiracy” against President Donald Trump.
“When people say there was no evidence of bias, just the opposite, there was evidence of bias,” Issa said Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”
“But they couldn’t get enough on one person, with the possible exception of Peter Strzok, to say that there was clear bias that was acted on.”
Issa said officials from the inspector general’s office informed him Thursday that the FBI’s conduct was biased overall but that there was not enough evidence of biased activity by individuals to prosecute them.
“I was given an unambiguous, straightforward ‘yes,’ there was a bias if you look at it all” by officials, in terms of “the group activity, the preponderance of what happened,” he said.
The report said the investigation found “no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations.”
However, Republicans immediately seized on a text exchange between FBI agent Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who were having an affair. In that exchange, Page expressed concern Trump would become president, to which Strzok replied, “No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”
Issa alleged that Strzok and Page were involved in a “conspiracy” to block Trump from being elected.
“You have a clear conspiracy by Strzok,” Issa said. “He said he was going to ‘stop it,’ meaning the election of President Trump, and he did that with Lisa Page. That is all you need to have, in fact, a conspiracy by two high-ranking officials in the Department of Justice.”
However, while the report found the Strzok and Page texts “cast a cloud” over the credibility of the probe, investigators found no evidence “that these political views directly affected the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed.”
In a statement, Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman said there was “no evidence” Strzok’s political views affected the handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Strzok himself told investigators he didn’t want to prevent a potential Trump victory, arguing the proof of this rested in the fact that the investigation into potential Russian collusion with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election remained confidential.
Issa also focused on Strzok and others’ slow reaction to new Clinton emails found on the seized laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
“Strzok and a number of other people became aware at various times that Anthony Weiner’s computer was sitting there with classified information on it,” he said. “They allowed them to sit there for about four weeks not being touched. Four weeks in October of an election year is not just any four weeks.”
Issa cast doubt on whether Comey’s decision to announce he had reopened the Clinton investigation 11 days before the November 2016 election swung the election results, claiming 25% of California voters had already voted.
Issa called for reforms and accountability at the Department of Justice.
“We don’t expect prosecutions to come out of what happened today; we do expect real changes to be done at the highest career level, as it should be,” he said.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett, Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju contributed to this report.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of FBI Agent Peter Strzok's name.