WASHINGTON – Four days after the release of a damning Justice Department Inspector General report, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Monday that agents who violate Bureau protocol will be held accountable.
“We are going to hold accountable any employee for potential misconduct. We have already referred conduct highlighted in the report to our Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR),” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Wray added: “We’re going to make sure that every FBI employee understands the lessons of this report through in-depth focused training starting first at the top with all our senior executives from around the world and then every FBI employee to make sure that we do not repeat the mistakes identified in this report.”
The 500-page report heavily criticized decisions made by the FBI and DoJ ahead of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.
The report said in June 2016 then-FBI Director James Comey violated Bureau protocol by publicly announcing that Hillary Clinton would not be charged for sending and receiving classified information on a private email server.
The report said Comey again violated Bureau protocol by sending Congress a letter in October 2016 announcing that the FBI had decided to reopen the Clinton probe after having discovered more than 500,000 emails of interest in a related investigation. Comey closed that investigation two days before the election.
The report said Comey did not act out of political bias.
The report said FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page exchanged text messages in August 2016 in which he said they should try to prevent Donald Trump from being elected president.
The agents, who were dating at the time although both were married, were dismissed from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigative team last year after it was discovered they had exchanged anti-Trump texts. Strzok was a lead investigator in the Clinton email probe.
The text messages were provided to Congress in February and have become the focus of Republican claims of political bias at the FBI and DoJ, but these latest messages were not part of that package sent to Congress. They were provided to Attorney General Jeff Sessions a few days ago.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Wray if he agrees with President Trump’s contention that Mueller is on a witch hunt.
“I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt,” Wray replied.