13:44:42, to FBI Employee 1: “I mean, I never really liked the Republic anyway.”
13:44:52, to FBI Employee 2: “I mean, I never really liked the Republic anyway.”
14:01:52, to FBI Employee 3: “As I have initiated the destruction of the republic…. Would you be so kind as to have a coffee with me this afternoon?”
15:28:50, to FBI Employee 4: “I’m clinging to small pockets of happiness in the dark time of the Republic’s destruction”
What this mostly seems to reveal is both a streak of dark humor and a degree of self-awareness by an attorney who realized that FBI actions could tip the election. However, they didn’t attempt to interfere in the investigation or stop Comey from his poorly thought-out actions. Several of those big “concerning” moments happened immediately following the election when agents noted they were “shocked” or “sad,” results that indicated they were not, in fact, robots.
Although, it would be good if someone would read a few of these comments to Trump. Such as this unidentified FBI employee giving his post election summary.
11:02:22, FBI Employee: “Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm.”
The IG report finds that some of these messages merit possible penalties for misconduct. But again, there’s no evidence it had any affect on the investigation.
And then there’s the little matter of leaks. Specifically leaks from the New York Field Office. The leaks coming out of this office apparently got the agents there raked over the coals repeatedly by Lynch who used “forceful language” in telling them to shape up. Following up on this Comey looked into leaks by this office, especially around election time when Rudy Giulani was coming up with miraculous guesses about upcoming events, like Comey’s announcement, and the New York Times was citing FBI sources in saying that there was nothing to the Trump–Russia investigation.
In fact, it seems that leaks out of the New York office were a part of why Comey decided to make the October 28 election. Because he worried that the agents there would be on the phone claiming coverup if he didn’t talk publicly about reopening the investigation.
As then FBI General Counsel Baker starkly characterized that decision to us, “[I]f we don’t put out a letter, somebody is going to leak it.”
What they found was that the New York office seemed to be wide open, with more than 100 people aware of details on the investigation. And also wide open to the press.
Although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared to be widely ignored during the period we reviewed. We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters.
The New York Field Office’s wide-open flow, often from agents who were not part of the investigation but getting information second or third-hand, meant that information related to the investigation was circulating so widely, repeated by people like Giuliani, that it helped influence Comey to speak openly about the investigation. These leaks didn’t just misreport the information, they helped redirect the agency.
With more than 500 pages to sort, there’s a lot of information still to be weeded from this report. And tons and tons of cherry-picking ahead for Republicans who will now attempt to generate through selective editing, what they couldn’t find by investigation.