Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Inspector General Found No Political Bias?

 

The FBI IG did a deep dive into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton e-mail investigation and concluded, “we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed in Chapter Five, or that the justifications offered for these decisions were pretextual.”

On Monday of this week, the FBI IG released its report into the FBI’s handling of the Trump campaign. Again, it concluded, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations.”

Yet if you read the Executive Summary of the two reports and compare and contrast the treatment the FBI gave the Democratic Presidential candidate and the treatment it gave the Republican Presidential candidate, the disparity is glaring and obvious.

Hillary Clinton was treated as innocent even after being proven guilty and exonerated on a crime that requires no intent on the basis of lack of intent. Clinton was treated with kid gloves and given every courtesy plausible during the investigation. Trump and his campaign were treated as guilty, even as evidence piled up that both were innocent of the accusations and that the FBI put people in jail for not remembering dates of various meetings in a strong-arm technique to intimidate witnesses.

You have two concurrent investigations into the two major party nominees for President of the United States, but one investigation was in the extreme left tail of investigatory concession and the other was in the extreme right tail of investigatory aggressiveness, including falsifying evidence submitted to the FISA court to justify a wiretap. No rational person could read those two reports together and conclude there was no political bias in the disparate handling of the two investigations. No rational person.

One wonders what type of “documentary or testimonial evidence” would have been required for the IG to conclude there was political bias.

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  1. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Damaging, hurting, destroying GOP / Conservatives is not a bias, it is a default position in the government.

    • #1
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:25 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Horowitz was limited in that many major players were no longer DOD employees. Comey declined to restore his security clearance and would not look at classified documents. It’s a good argument for Trump to declassify everything.

    • #2
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:30 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  3. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Horowitz was limited in that many major players were no longer DOD employees. Comey declined to restore his security clearance and would not look at classified documents. It’s a good argument for Trump to declassify everything.

    I think the problem is that the IG looked at the two cases in isolation and refused to take the obvious step of directly comparing them.

    FWIW, his denial is also notable saying only that he found no “documentary or testimonial evidence” of political bias, which merely means no one wrote an e-mail “we need to exonerate Clinton because she is a Democrat” or “We need to convict Trump because he is a Republican.”

    Having said that, there was obviously documentary evidence of political bias in the Strzok / Page texts that the IG dismissed for rather weak reasons (IMHO.)

    • #3
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:38 AM PST
    • 16 likes
  4. Hoyacon Member

    I don’t have much of a problem with the IG on that count, but I do have a problem with those who treat the “political bias” issue as some kind of vindication of the FBI. IG’s are strongly inclined to very strict “fact-based” findings, and are not prone to anything inferential. The latter is left to the reader, and we are in the process of that discussion. I suppose one could claim that some facts (e.g., Page-Strzok emails) support political bias, but, in the absence of Comey or McCabe saying something like “We need to overturn that election,” Horowitz was probably content to let us draw our own conclusions.

    It would certainly be helpful if media types who are claiming some type of vindication for the FBI would point out the context in which an IG operates.

    • #4
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:41 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  5. ctlaw Coolidge

    A-Squared: One wonders what type of “documentary or testimonial evidence” would have been required for the IG to conclude there was political bias.

    You miss the point. The actual passage is a clear admission that there was documentary and/or testimonial evidence of bias. Horowitz also appears unwilling to deny such evidence showed that the bias at least indirectly affected the specific decisions or directly affected other decisions.

    He does not deny the overwhelming circumstantial evidence (including direct evidence that Horowitz may redefine as circumstantial).

    • #5
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:47 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Stad Thatcher

    He found bias, all right. He used his own bias not to label it as such . . .

    • #6
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    A-Squared: One wonders what type of “documentary or testimonial evidence” would have been required for the IG to conclude there was political bias.

    You miss the point. The actual passage is a clear admission that there was documentary and/or testimonial evidence of bias. Horowitz also appears unwilling to deny such evidence showed that the bias at least indirectly affected the specific decisions or directly affected other decisions.

    He does not deny the overwhelming circumstantial evidence (including direct evidence that Horowitz may redefine as circumstantial).

    Maybe I’m missing your point. Would you elaborate please?

    • #7
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:01 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Jager Coolidge
    Jager Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    FWIW, his denial is also notable saying only that he found no “documentary or testimonial evidence” of political bias, which merely means no one wrote an e-mail “we need to exonerate Clinton because she is a Democrat” or “We need to convict Trump because he is a Republican.”

    Yeah, I guess we should be happy that a bunch of people with educations and important jobs were not dumb enough to explicitly write down their plans to sink Trump. 

    I am not sure that the IG report finding no bias is a “good” thing for the FBI. Doesn’t this mean that the FBI did not have that many errors because of bias , it was just run of the mill incompetence?

    • #8
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:04 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  9. Barfly Member

    I want to echo @hoyacon at #4 and @ctlaw at #5. The IG’s role isn’t to make determinations or conclusions, it’s to gather facts.

    I’m ok with Horowitz’ work, and I didn’t expect that given he’s an Obama appointee. I think he played it straight, and that’s what we needed. If he’d concluded that bias played a role, that would have been editorializing outside his proper scope and the left would have real grounds to discredit the report.

    • #9
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:08 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  10. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared

    Jager (View Comment):
    I am not sure that the IG report finding no bias is a “good” thing for the FBI. Doesn’t this mean that the FBI did not have that many errors because of bias , it was just run of the mill incompetence?

    As Jim Gerahty pointed out in the Three Martini Lunch, there were 17 material errors in the Trump process and every one of them went against Trump, that is not incompetence.

    And my point is, every single error or questionable call in the Clinton investigation was in favor of Clinton. That is not incompetence.

    Combined, they are irrefutable evidence of blatant political bias.

    • #10
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  11. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared

    Barfly (View Comment):
    The IG’s role isn’t to make determinations or conclusions, it’s to gather facts.

    I’m not sure I follow. The IG made a number of explicit conclusions.

    • #11
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:13 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  12. Barfly Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):
    The IG’s role isn’t to make determinations or conclusions, it’s to gather facts.

    I’m not sure I follow. The IG made a number of explicit conclusions.

    Cite one or two that you think show him making conclusions (perhaps “judgments” is a better word) as opposed to findings of documentary fact, and I’ll see if I can refine my statement.

    • #12
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:16 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Barfly Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):
    I am not sure that the IG report finding no bias is a “good” thing for the FBI. Doesn’t this mean that the FBI did not have that many errors because of bias , it was just run of the mill incompetence?

    As Jim Gerahty pointed out in the Three Martini Lunch, there were 17 material errors in the Trump process and every one of them went against Trump, that is not incompetence.

    And my point is, every single error or questionable call in the Clinton investigation was in favor of Clinton. That is not incompetence.

    Combined, they are irrefutable evidence of blatant political bias.

    Yes they are, I agree. But it’s not the IG’s job to make that call – that’s the AG’s job.

    • #13
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:18 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  14. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared

    Barfly (View Comment):
    Cite one or two that you think show him making conclusions (perhaps “judgments” is a better word) as opposed to findings of documentary fact, and I’ll see if I can refine my statement.

    I listed the two conclusions about political bias in the OP.

    He also concluded that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly predicated (after apparently receiving advice from Durham that he disagreed with that conclusion.)

    • #14
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:28 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    As Bill Whittle has argued, the number of “errors” necessarily affect reasonable believability of their accidental nature. If a dozen procedural errors all favor the conclusion that Trump is guilty, then the math alone is evidence of bias. 

    • #15
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:32 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  16. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):
    I am not sure that the IG report finding no bias is a “good” thing for the FBI. Doesn’t this mean that the FBI did not have that many errors because of bias , it was just run of the mill incompetence?

    As Jim Gerahty pointed out in the Three Martini Lunch, there were 17 material errors in the Trump process and every one of them went against Trump, that is not incompetence.

    And my point is, every single error or questionable call in the Clinton investigation was in favor of Clinton. That is not incompetence.

    Combined, they are irrefutable evidence of blatant political bias.

    Yes they are, I agree. But it’s not the IG’s job to make that call – that’s the AG’s job.

    Then the IG should not offer an interpretation.

    • #16
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:33 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    The IG will not draw any inferences from the information collected – as we all know those inferences make it very clear bias was involved. As his report states (as have his prior ones) what would be required for such a finding was either testimonial (“I hate Donald Trump and did this to prevent his election”) or documentary (the same statement in writing) evidence of bias. I predicted his conclusion in a Ricochet post a few weeks ago.

    Dunham is not constrained by the direct evidence rule, though he may indeed uncover such in his investigation which is both broader and deeper. And his extraordinary public statement shows that indictments will be forthcoming. He would never have made that statement without the evidence already firmly in hand.

    As it is the IG report concludes that the FBI made massive errors, all ones that went against Trump. The only possible conclusions to draw are the FBI is incredibly incompetent or incredibly biased or both. 

    • #17
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:39 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  18. Hoyacon Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):
    I am not sure that the IG report finding no bias is a “good” thing for the FBI. Doesn’t this mean that the FBI did not have that many errors because of bias , it was just run of the mill incompetence?

    As Jim Gerahty pointed out in the Three Martini Lunch, there were 17 material errors in the Trump process and every one of them went against Trump, that is not incompetence.

    And my point is, every single error or questionable call in the Clinton investigation was in favor of Clinton. That is not incompetence.

    Combined, they are irrefutable evidence of blatant political bias.

    And that is your conclusion to draw. The IG report provided the info from which to make that call.

    • #18
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Barfly Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):
    Cite one or two that you think show him making conclusions (perhaps “judgments” is a better word) as opposed to findings of documentary fact, and I’ll see if I can refine my statement.

    I listed the two conclusions about political bias in the OP.

    He also concluded that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly predicated (after apparently receiving advice from Durham that he disagreed with that conclusion.)

    Huh? You mentioned he said he didn’t find documentary evidence – that’s not a conclusion, it’s a simple report of what he (didn’t) find. You compared this case with the Hillary case, but that’s even further afield. If I missed what you’re referring to, help me out.

    The job of the Inspector General is to inspect – that means to find the evidence. If he’d done any more than that, he’d have failed us all.

    I get that we want the criminals here punished. Nobody wants those people to suffer and bleed more than I do. That’s why it’s important to do it by the numbers – so they really do end up incarcerated, impoverished, and if it was up to me, castrated with a rusty spoon then sent back in time to get a Braveheart done on them. If the IG had tried to give you what you think you want from him, the whole enterprise would crash and they’d all walk.

    • #19
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:47 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  20. Bob Thompson Member

    I think sometimes we hear the Inspector General’s work referred to as an investigation. I would rather it be called a review to uncover and document factual events and deliver findings that display improper acts. An investigation, especially a criminal investigation, would necessarily include examination of motives and intent underlying actions (bias would be in there somewhere), and this is being done by John Durham. I accept Horowitz’s work product and await Durham’s.

    • #20
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  21. Bob Thompson Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    A-Squared (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):
    I am not sure that the IG report finding no bias is a “good” thing for the FBI. Doesn’t this mean that the FBI did not have that many errors because of bias , it was just run of the mill incompetence?

    As Jim Gerahty pointed out in the Three Martini Lunch, there were 17 material errors in the Trump process and every one of them went against Trump, that is not incompetence.

    And my point is, every single error or questionable call in the Clinton investigation was in favor of Clinton. That is not incompetence.

    Combined, they are irrefutable evidence of blatant political bias.

    Yes they are, I agree. But it’s not the IG’s job to make that call – that’s the AG’s job.

    Then the IG should not offer an interpretation.

    Yes. He probably should say in his preface that he doesn’t do bias, motives, or intentions – only descriptions of acts.

    • #21
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:54 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Barfly Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I think sometimes we hear the Inspector General’s work referred to as an investigation. I would rather it be called a review to uncover and document factual events and deliver findings that display improper acts. An investigation, especially a criminal investigation, would necessarily include examination of motives and intent underlying actions (bias would be in there somewhere), and this is being done by John Durham. I accept Horowitz’s work product and await Durham’s.

    I agree.

    Suppose your neighbors complain to the cops about your stereo turned up loud at 1 AM. Do you want the police to restrict themselves to determining whether it was your music or somebody else’s, or do you want them to go further and decide you did it with malice to keep your neighbors awake?

    No, the IG’s investigation should not include motive. Sure, if there’s material fact that buttresses some conclusion about motive then they should gather that fact. But motive is for attorneys to argue and courts to weigh.

    • #22
    • December 11, 2019, at 10:03 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. Bob Thompson Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I think sometimes we hear the Inspector General’s work referred to as an investigation. I would rather it be called a review to uncover and document factual events and deliver findings that display improper acts. An investigation, especially a criminal investigation, would necessarily include examination of motives and intent underlying actions (bias would be in there somewhere), and this is being done by John Durham. I accept Horowitz’s work product and await Durham’s.

    I agree.

    Suppose your neighbors complain to the cops about your stereo turned up loud at 1 AM. Do you want the police to restrict themselves to determining whether it was your music or somebody else’s, or do you want them to go further and decide you did it with malice to keep your neighbors awake?

    No, the IG’s investigation should not include motive. Sure, if there’s material fact that buttresses some conclusion about motive then they should gather that fact. But motive is for attorneys to argue and courts to weigh.

    It’s interesting to note that Strzok, Page, and Clinesmith were dismissed from the Mueller Investigation when certain facts were revealed. I’m pretty sure the reason they were dismissed was that management reached a determination that there was an appearance of bias from their statements that had been made public. Had Horowitz’s fact finding been on the Mueller investigation instead of the FISA Carter Page Warrant process, he could have stated he found dismissals based on ‘bias’.

    • #23
    • December 11, 2019, at 10:12 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  24. Barfly Member

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    He also concluded that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly predicated (after apparently receiving advice from Durham that he disagreed with that conclusion.)

    I admit I’m less certain about that one. I suspect that is a rather narrow legal conclusion based on whether a few well-defined boxes were checked. But I only read the summary, not the whole godawful report.

    Anybody?

    • #24
    • December 11, 2019, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Cato Rand Coolidge

    I think the OP is exactly correct but let me say a few words about how “evidence” works in the law. Documents and testimony are “evidence.” Other tangible things (e.g. a gun or a baggie full of cocaine) can also be evidence. But to prove a state of mind (like bias) you almost always need something more than evidence. You do need evidence, but on its own, it’s never enough unless the accused is dumb enough to admit the bias or other guilty state of mind.

    That something else is called an “inference.” It is a conclusion rationally and reasonably drawn from evidence. It isn’t right there in the evidence itself, but it is a fact that can be believed based on the evidence. It might be strong. Sometimes the evidence points so strongly to it that it’s virtually unavoidable. Or it might be weaker. Sometimes the evidence points in a direction to some degree, but reasonable minds could differ about whether to draw the conclusion.

    I’d be curious to know what the IG’s mandate is. It’s possible that he uses this “documentary or testimonial evidence” terminology because he’s barred under his mandate from drawing conclusions from the evidence. It might just be that that function is for a higher up. The IGs job might just be to marshall the evidence itself.

    But at the end of the day, I agree that the inference of bias should clearly be drawn in this case, whether by the IG or whatever superior is charged with deciding what inferences to draw. Based on the evidence marshaled by the IG, I’d say the inference that there was bias in the conduct of the investigation would be a very strong one. And as far as I can tell, the IG doesn’t reject that inference. He doesn’t say there’s good reason to doubt it. He just doesn’t reach it. In that, I think, the mainstream media (perhaps out of ignorance of epistemology, perhaps out of bias) is misleading the public when it spins the conclusion as “the IG found no bias.”

    • #25
    • December 11, 2019, at 10:52 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  26. Bob Thompson Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    I think the OP is exactly correct but let me say a few words about how “evidence” works in the law. Documents and testimony are “evidence.” Other tangible things (e.g. a gun or a baggie full of cocaine) can also be evidence. But to prove a state of mind (like bias) you almost always need something more than evidence. You do need evidence, but on its own, it’s never enough unless the accused is dumb enough to admit the bias or other guilty state of mind.

    That something else is called an “inference.” It is a conclusion rationally and reasonably drawn from evidence. It isn’t right there in the evidence itself, but it is a fact that can be believed based on the evidence. It might be strong. Sometimes the evidence points so strongly to it that it’s virtually unavoidable. Or it might be weaker. Sometimes the evidence points in a direction to some degree, but reasonable minds could differ about whether to draw the conclusion.

    I’d be curious to know what the IG’s mandate is. It’s possible that he uses this “documentary or testimonial evidence” terminology because he’s barred under his mandate from drawing conclusions from the evidence. It might just be that that function is for a higher up. The IGs job might just be to marshall the evidence itself.

    But at the end of the day, I agree that the inference of bias should clearly be drawn in this case, whether by the IG or whatever superior is charged with deciding what inferences to draw. Based on the evidence marshaled by the IG, I’d say the inference that there was bias in the conduct of the investigation would be a very strong one. And as far as I can tell, the IG doesn’t reject that inference. He doesn’t say there’s good reason to doubt it. He just doesn’t reach it. In that, I think, the mainstream media (perhaps out of ignorance of epistemology, perhaps out of bias) is misleading the public when it spins the conclusion as “the IG found no bias.”

    What I said in #23. 

    • #26
    • December 11, 2019, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 1 like
  27. Barfly Member

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    It’s possible that he uses this “documentary or testimonial evidence” terminology because he’s barred under his mandate from drawing conclusions from the evidence. It might just be that that function is for a higher up. The IGs job might just be to marshall the evidence itself.

    That’s my understanding, but IANAL. I poked about for a little while on the DoJ OIG site but didn’t find an explicit statement. 

    • #27
    • December 11, 2019, at 11:09 AM PST
    • 1 like
  28. Hoyacon Member

    Heard Andy McCarthy a little while ago say only a direct quote from one of the major participants (i.e., a fact) would have moved the IG to find political bias.

    • #28
    • December 11, 2019, at 11:38 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  29. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    As Bill Whittle has argued, the number of “errors” necessarily affect reasonable believability of their accidental nature. If a dozen procedural errors all favor the conclusion that Trump is guilty, then the math alone is evidence of bias.

    I am glad that the OP wrote the post – I was trying to figure out how to start, but the “No documentary or testimonial evidence of bias” has been driving me crazy all morning.

    On the other hand, the 17 errors and statistics indicating bias (as much as I think there was clearly bias) is not correct. For the math to work, it is necessary for the 17 errors to be independent. It is my understanding that the errors were in the first FISA application and the three succeeding renewals which were basically copies. I don’t think each application had independent errors.

    • #29
    • December 11, 2019, at 11:42 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  30. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Barfly (View Comment):

    I want to echo @hoyacon at #4 and @ctlaw at #5. The IG’s role isn’t to make determinations or conclusions, it’s to gather facts.

    I’m ok with Horowitz’ work, and I didn’t expect that given he’s an Obama appointee. I think he played it straight, and that’s what we needed. If he’d concluded that bias played a role, that would have been editorializing outside his proper scope and the left would have real grounds to discredit the report.

    Your comments in this thread (and other similar ones) have slowly brought me around to your position. Thanks for the clear and calm presention of your views.

    I also think that the IG operates under such constrained rules that the role isn’t worth much outside the specific institution. We (at least I) was expecting a more wide ranging approach and that wasn’t correct.

    • #30
    • December 11, 2019, at 11:48 AM PST
    • 5 likes