tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN June 14, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
anthk you so much for being with me. here's the breaking news on the justice department's internal report into how the fbi handled the hillary e-mail investigation. the official report is expected to be released to the public at this hour, but we are learning from our sources that the inspector general here concluded that fired fbi director james comey was not biased in his handling of the investigation but that he did in fact deviate from department norms. this sweeping 500-page report is expected to detail a series of failures by top federal officials, including comey, ahead of that crucial 2016 presidential election. a lot of democrat, including hillary clinton herself, blame her election loss on comey's decision to reopen the investigation just days before that election in 2016 and a lot of republicans felt comey gave
clinton a pass when he didn't charge her. this i.g. report is supposed to reveal more critical information against trump. all of this as the white house gets ready to hold its very first press briefing since the president returned from singapore to meet eye to eye with kim jong un. our reporters and legal experts will be combing through the report the moment it's released. let's start with what we know so far. for that our lead reporter laura jarrett, live at the department of justice. laura, you know what's in this thing. let's start with what did the report find? >> reporter: well, brooke, after 17 months, over 100 witnesses and 1.7 million documents reviewed, these are the top findings from the top watch dog at the justice department. i want to read one of thei itke
lines from his report. he said we found in evidence that the considerations were influenced by bias and we determined that they were based on the prosecutors' assessment of the fact, the law and past department practice. the republicans have said this investigation was rigged from the very beginning, said that it was biased in favor of clinton and clearly here now this is the first non-partisan assessment from the justice department watch dog that looked at all the evidence and sad that is simply not true. in fact, brooke, he looked at a number of different key moments on the investigation, a number of different controversial moves that had been under scrutiny and he said not only were those not affected by bias, but they also followed past historical approaches this prior cases under different leadership. now of course the report does not hold back. it is scathing on former
director james comey, it is scathing in certain parts on attorney general loretta lynch, but most specifically, brooke, the new news here is on the current fbi counterintelligence agent peter strock. we've heard a lot about these text messages because the president and republicans have latched on to them. this is the key exchange, i want to read for you, brooke. this is in august of 2017. page says, "trump's not ever going to become president, right?" and strzok says back, "no, no, he won't.
we'll stop it." these messages cast a cloud of doubt on their state of mind and that's the part that's problematic. >> we'll get into all of that. what about you mentioned the former attorney general loretta lynch, her half hour meeting on the tarmac in arizona with former president bill clinton. what did the i.g. report find on her? >> on that one he looked at it at length and he interviewed the attorney general and bill clinton and found that they did not discuss the merits of the investigation during that controversial tarmac meeting, no matter how bad it looked and he certainly realizes the appearance of impropriety there but, brooke, the inspector general is really focused on how loretta lynch decided not to recuse from the investigation and instead even after that tarmac meeting, she said that she was going to defer to the career folks at the justice department and at the fbi but that she was also still going to
receive briefings on the matter. so the inspector general said that led to a lot of public confusion that was unhelpful. >> public confusion. and lastly, so this 500-page report official lily comes out the public this hour. what now? >> at this point, brooke, we are learning more and more, we're doing a deep dive on this. one of the issues that had been sort of unknown up until now is what exactly happened with the leaks between the fbi and the media during the clinton investigation. and on that score there's a little bit of a question mark. he says that the leaks are obviously abundant but he says the investigation on that point is ongoing. so still some further questions. >> all right, laura jarrett, you and the team going through the 500 pages. we're already getting reaction from folks on capitol hill on the left and the right. let's go to our senior
congressional correspondent manu raju. what are you hearing? >> coming out of a briefing, we're hearing reactions along party lines. democrats saying that what they saw here was an fbi that did make mistakes but to the benefit of then-candidate trump in 2016 and republicans saying there was significant misconduct in the way that this investigation happened and that hillary clinton was inproperly -- improperly exonerated. trey gowdy, chairman of the house oversight committee, he says this taking aim at the fbi agent peter strozk who laura was talking about. "the report also conclusively shows an alarming and destructive level of animus displayed by top fbi officials.
his bias was so pervasive and toxic as to call into question any other investigations he was part of his role in the very long of what russia did in 2016." that's a key statement because other conservatives emerged from that briefing saying something similar, saying they believe this goes against the russia investigation. top democrats in the house say the stark conclusion we draw after reviewing this report is that the fbi's actions helped donald trump become president. so clearly this report, despite its findings, despite its exhaustive nature and not resolving the political debate on capitol hill and to that point ron johnson, the senate homeland security and government affairs chairman just told me
nothing beside an outright confession, that this was a politically bias investigation could lead the inspector general to reach a conclusion like he did where he said there was no political bias in this investigation. he is disputing that key finding. so some members are raising questions about what the inspector general found himself. but we'll hear hearings, horowitz, the inspector general, expected on capitol hill next week for multiple rounds of hearings. so this debate only bound to intensify in the coming days, brooke. >> it is indeed. thank you on the capitol hill reaction. i've got some great voices now just standing by to walk through what we know so far from this huge i.g. report, all 500 pages. jeffrey toobin joins us, gloria borger, our chief political
analyst. i want to go round robin. i want everyone's first big takeaway just from what we know so far, jeff toobin, just starting with you. >> plenty of ammunition for both sides. if you think the fbi didn't like hillary clinton and didn't want her leaked president, you can find that in this report. if you think the fbi was dias against donald trump and there were agents there he hated him and didn't want him there, you can find that there. it's not a glowing day for either scenario but i doubt many people whose minds haven't been made up will be changed by what's disclosed today. >> gloria? >> well, i think what we're seeing in the reaction here is a very partisan reaction and predictable. the democrats are saying that hillary clinton was badly treated and the republicans are saying, you know, wait a minute, james comey did not adhere to
protocol and, therefore, the president, a, was right to fire him and i'm sure we'll hear more about that from the president himself. however, the inspector general could not have been more clear about the fact that he says there was no conspiracy here within the fbi. we'll see how that plays with the president, who has said, yes, there's a conspiracy and it has moved over to the russia investigation. >> phil? >> the other shoe didn't drop. we knew there was really poor judgment by loretta lynch, by james comey, stupid e-mails by fbi agents. i thought the inspector would come out and say and then i saw
some of this bias reflected at the core of the investigation that questioned the integrity of the investigation. i expected a sledge hammer. we just got a hammer you use to hammer a painting on the wall. i was surprised at how mild it was. >> you also referred to the text messages as stupid. it was the first time we saw the text, the language between page and strzok. "tru "trump's never going to become president, right?" "no. no, he won't. we'll stop it." >> you cannot say that on a government phone. the point here is not that americans including those working at the places like the fbi either despise hillary
clinton or despise donald trump, a lot of people did. the point is you can't exchange those messages on the phone. you're going to go back to the question of did the inspector general then say i saw that kind of language as pervasive enough that it affected the investigation as a whole and he very clearly said that didn't happen. >> that's the question as to whether or not these two and their views clearly were emblem att emblematic of a conspiracy? >> i think that the e-mail exchange was kind of dumb and following up on what phil said, it it shouldn't have happened. it shouldn't have happened. it's not as if -- you know, when you serve on a jury, you're allowed to have your opinions going into a jury but you kind of check them at the door. when you work at the fbi, you're allowed to have opinions but you check it at the door. that did not happen. but the inspector general did not take it to the next step and
say that there was a conspiracy, that it was pervasive throughout the fbi, that it did affect either the hillary clinton investigation or it did run over into the russia investigation, which the president has said is rigged because these same people were investigating him. so, you know, the inspector general stopped short of doing that but that will not stop political opponents from saying it. >> which is exactly where i wanted to go next. we had this first press conference. we're going to see sarah sanders in that white house briefing room momentarily. let me just go out on a limb, everyone, and assume that they're going to take this victory lap, right? we keep hearing these words witch hunt from the president. she'll say it's justified, but i think also, jeff toobin, you've been so great on this, it's so important not to conflate. comey can screw up, violate the
department's norm but that has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the mueller russia investigation. >> right. although it will be easy for sarah sanders and the president to combine those two events. remember, one of the main issues in the mueller investigation is did president trump obstruct justice by firing james comey in order to interfere or stop the russia investigation? the president from the very beginning has said -- he said a lot of different things but the subsequent justification for firing has always been, no, i fired him because he was incompetent, because he skewed up the hillary clinton investigation. this report gives him ammunition to say, see, james comey deserved to be fired independent of the russian investigation. >> let's remind everyone what
the president has said on his firing of james comey. roll the sound. >> regardless of recommendation, i was going to fire comey, knowing there was no good time to do it. and, in fact, when i decided to just do it, said to myself, i said you know, this russia thing with trump and russia, it's a made-up story. it's an excuse for the democrats having ros an election that they should have won. >> that was so bad what happened originally and it took guts for director comey to make the move that he made in light of the of the kind. >> >> so trump can say, see, thank me for firing comey. and he told russians in the oval office, he saw that last clip, he praised comey's actions
during the campaign. >> and the answer is that was then. consistency is not something we can expect from donald trump. the point he will make now is, see, an independent authority said james comey made mistakes. i fired him. i was justified in doing it. >> but the democrats are going to read this and who did it impact the most? >> hillary clinton. >> hillary clinton. because of the ill-advised press conference he gave, calling her careless. because days before the election he decided to reopen part of the e-mail investigation, pee with loretta lynch, then attorney general. ul of these things, democrats are saying that hurt hillary clinton and, by the way, the
justice department and they were vetting drpt at the same time and the american public never heard about it. >> stand by, everyone. they're going to be holding a news conference. we're moments away from that. another huge story today, new york's attorney general is suing the president and his children, alleging their charity illegally used money for campaign purposes, among other things. let dive into that. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. ♪ ♪ don't juggle your home life and work life without it. business financing to help grow your business. another way we have your back. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. i'm trying to manage my a1c,
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we're back. you're watching cnn here. 18 months of waiting and now the breaking news in a much-anticipated report. the justice department's internal watch dog says firing james comey into how he handled the hillary clinton private e-mails claimed comey was not politically motivated. let's go to jim acosta ahead of this first briefing since he's been back from north korea. on this i.g. report, what are you hearing from the white house? >> they just pushed the briefing back to 2:45. i think they're loading more cannon balls into the cannons over here to respond to this i.g. report. obviously this is a big embarrassment for the fbi to have these texts going back and forth, talking about stopping trump during the 2016 election. that is obviously an embarrassment for the fbi and
the white house is likely to seize on that and say this is an example of what the president is up again and justifying all the president's tweets up until now saying that the justice department and the fbi have been biased against him. we should point out this watch dog report found no bias in the handling of the clinton e-mail investigation but there's plenty of fodder for the fbi to seize on. the deputy press expect hogan gidley was out a few minutes and asked to respond to this and he said the president wants transparency and all the findings of the i.g. report out there. they're certainly getting some and then some. during this briefing coming up at 2:45, it's not going to be just about the i.g. report, the trump foundation, what's happening, and what's happening in the trump foundation, mishandling of funds and so on. my suspicion is that sarah
sanders will defer that to outside counsel or officials of the trump foundation. and of course there are those pictures, that video of trump saluting the north koreans during his summit over in singapore. that's obviously going to come up as well. when hogan gidley, the press secretary, was asked about that, he was offered an opportunity to look at some pictures of that and he declined. it will be interesting to see how sarah sanders respond to all of that. in the past president trump has hit former president obama how he has bowed and offered gestures of friendship and so on when he's been overseas. so some of that may come back to haunt president trump in this briefing with sarah huckabee sanders coming up in a few moments. i think the real reason they want to come out and have this briefing this afternoon and they're all sleep deprived like the rest of us, is of course they want to fire off on this i.g. report which does not paint a very good picture of how the fbi handled things during the
2016 campaign. >> thank you very much. let's go back to laura jarrett. let's talk about the messages between peter strozk and lisa page. >> while the overall investigation outcome doesn't appear to be tainted based off the inspector general's review, he has zeroed in on a period of time from late september to october 2016 where you might remember there was a delay in reviewing the e-mails related to the clinton investigation found on former congressman anthony weiner's laptop. on that score he doesn't say that strozk is blamed for the delay, he said he can't rule out political bias from his mind.
strozk's lawyer said that plhe cannot rule out political bias. in fact, all facts contained in the record lead to the conclusion that the delay was caused by a variety of factors and miscommunications that had nothing to do with special agent strozk's political views. in the inspector general report, they do find that he searched for evidence, sofs it was broader than just page and strzok. he said could i find no evidence in the e-mails, texts or other documents that suggested an improper purpose. >> laura, thank you for that. i want to get some quick
reaction over on capitol hill from democratic congressman david cicilline. i think what's very important is the president will try to conflate the two to undermine the ongoing investigation. this was about the handling of the clinton investigation. i think mr. comey departed from the practices and the norms of the department and that's clear and i think it disadvantaged
hillary clinton obviously and helped donald trump, but what's very important now is that we not allow the president or any of his allies to use the findings of the report to try to interfere with this separate investigation by mr. mueller, which is under way and serious and i think the president's going to just continue to attack the department and attack the fbi and attack robert mueller and we have a responsibility to stand up and be sure that that investigation is completed. >> on your first point going back to comey, u talk about this disadvantage, do you believe comey's actions cost hillary clinton the election? >> i don't know that we're ever going to know that but for sure they put her at a very incredible disadvantage. this was a a very close election. it was certainly a departure from the usual actions of the fbi. it was a very serious departure
and he has acknowledged that in the report. >> the word is violate and deviate from the norms of the department, so when the president come out and says he was justified in firing comey and you're critical of comey and you talk about the double standard, how can you argue against trump firing him? >> there's two different questions there, whether or not thome thud have been removed is that the reason president trump fired director comey is not because of the clinton investigation. he told us that live on television in the interview with lester holt. he tried would fire director comby because he thinks he -- we over director comey conduct
should be challenged. the president told us from his own mouth live on television. >> as a result of this report, you know conservatives are already pointing to the missteps by the fbi. on the senate side, republican lindsey graham is already calling for a second special counsel to investigate this further. do you think that is necessary? >> no, i don't think it's necessary. we've gone now another week where seemed you know what my consistents want to do? what is congress doing to drive down the cost of health care, make drugs more affordable. when is congress going to put together a bipartisan build to rebuild our country.
every week that we're obsessed with investigations means we're not getting the work done for the american people. >> congressman cicilline, thank you. we are now getting reaction from james comey himself. that is next. i've got to tell you something it's not going to be easy. quicksilver earns you unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere. actually, that's super easy. my bad.
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this report finds then fbi director james comey did not act with bias but did violate norms of the department of justice so we now have this reaction coming straight in from james comey himself. i just want to read part of this for you. this is an opinion piece just published in the "new york times." here's one quote we're pulling. i do not agree with all of the inspector general's conclusions but he writes i respect the work of his office and salute its profl i profl i professionalism. this is how the process is supposed to work. phil mudd and jeff toobin are with me. phil mudd, what do you think of comey's words? >> what he did violated principles. he should not have done it and you get a get out of jail free
card, you're allowed to not talk about those investigations. he continued to countritique hiy clinton after he said the case is closed. you don't play school principal once you decide not to press charges. he was wrong. get over it. >> jeffrey toobin? oh, we can't hear you. do you have a microphone on? >> i do. >> okay. now i hear you. go ahead, my friend. >> oh, well, i'll start from the beginning. i think comey made some terrible, terrible decisions during this investigation and i think hillary clinton was deeply damaged by it. i think the report is clearly correct in the sense that i don't think comey behaved with bias. i don't think he was trying to elect donald trump president, but i think he did the wrong thing and i think hillary
clinton paid a major, major price for it. i don't blame comey for defending his conduct in the "new york times." he's certainly within his rights, but i think the inspector general has the better of the argument about whether it was right, as phil said, to denounce hillary clinton in the course of announcing not charging her, and especially within a few weeks of the election, reopening the case. i think that will haunt his reputation forever. >> for the rest of his life. >> this i.g. report resoundingly demonstrates there was no prosecutable case against mrs. clinton as we had concluded, although that probably will not stop some from continuing to claim the opposite is true. this independent assessment will be useful to thoughtful people and an important contribution to the historical record. again, you understand he's defending himself, phil mudd,
saying ethey found there would have been no charges against hillary clinton when he came out, you know, controversially when he did and said no charges. >> i think he's dead on on that one. if you had looked over the past five to ten years, length, i'd hate to know what you'd see. when i esaw the judgment in that summer when comey came out, i looked at it and said if it weren't hillary clinton, you wouldn't have much to debate about this. i think the real issue was clinton herself and varying explanations. i didn't think the case was very significant. >> also, it wasn't just comey's decision. this was a considered judgment by a lot of senior officials in the fbi, not the problem wasn't necessarily the conclusion.
it was the way that comey flounced it. he announced it with this barrage of criticism of hers, you put up or shut up. you file a case in which case you can criticize all you want or you don't file a case and then you say nothing. comey tried to have it both ways, by not filing a case and criticizing hillary clinton and that wasn't the way the system is supposed to work. >> let me bring in two more voices, including one guy who was actually with comey when he found out he was fired, josh campbell, former aide to comey and mueller at the fbi and steve cortes is with us, former trump spanish advise riff council. josh, what do you have make of this 500-page report faulting your former boss? >> well, it's certainly a day of reckoning about it looks like in
this case there was wrong doing. the inspector determined there was policies not followed. the question p second question is are these criminal charges or administrative charges? none are great. but are officials con dubbing themselves consistent with law and policy? this specific report, we have a team going through line by line. it does not appear there was any kind of criminal ak that has been the call of some of the opposition saying these are crooks, they're corrupt, which
you' you're. this report does not say that. again, a day of reckoning for the fbi. there's a lot to learn but it certainly we've been looking forward to. >> that is just not true. let me give you an actual quote from the report that refutes that exactly. i'm not talking about comey, i'm talking about strzok and page, what the head of counterintelligence, not a minor figure, what he was texting to his mistress quote, willingness to take official action to impact the candidate's electoral process. the report ffl refutes exactly what you're saying. >> what does it say before and after that, steve? >> actual bias. is it criminal? i don't know. i'm not biased. >> look, steve, we're sitting here in the middle of breaking news trying to unpack a 568 page documents.
thi thinkbut what we knew is peter strzok said in a text "we will stop this." who does he think he is? >> who do you think he's talking about? is he talking about himself? the fbi? we don't know. i'm not going to get into a political back and forth with you. our job was to protect him. what kind of a swamp rat this. those we now see it in person, in writing, that the swamp was doing everything possible to try to prevent drft from becoming american. thank goodness trump this thei
want to be able to respond to that and say these texts are abwho are ent. these two individuals have done more damage to the fbi, talking about page and strzok. my point to you and those who know the fbi will tell you they do not represent the heart and sole of that organization. i'll say that within the fbi you have to understand that there is simply no way that someone in the position that peter strzok and lisa page were in could have politically impacted an investigation. and hear me out. what i mean by that is the organization is built on a system of redundancy and checks and balances. the investigation wasn't done by peter strzok and lisa page. it was done by agents and analysts working hard to determine whether there was a fault here and.
>> steve, steve, let me stop you from jumping in. i do need to get a quick break in. but this conversation is emblememblem emblematic of what's going on around the country right now. it's not a good look. we're going to keep this conversation rolling. we're getting a quick break and we're waiting for sarah sanders to step behind that podium. how will the white house respond to that report today? 18 months in the making. we're back in a moment.
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we're back now just going through all the findings of this report, 17, 18 months in the making from the government watch dog, inspector general here. as we're learning more as they've looked into the investigation into hillary clinton's private e-mail servers, we're getting some takeaways, mainly as it pertains to james comey and text messages between two folks of the fbi
highly critical of the president. evan perez is our senior justice correspondent. evan, you know more about this than most. what is your biggest takeaway? >> brooke, i think my focus and my interest here is looking at the key period in this report, they're try skrooiidescribing t period in which the fbi had discovered the hundreds of thousands of e-mails on the anthony weiner laptop and the three, almost four weeks it took the fbi do any serious investigative work to look into exactly what these were. that's a key period for all of this investigation, simply because obviously in late october james comey decides to send that letter to congress saying they're now going to take a look at it and investigate what was on the laptop. meanwhile the key people in the fbi, top leaders in the fbi, already knew that there was a lot of information that they needed to take a look at. what this really paints is a
terrible picture for the leaders of the fbi because it shows that there's a combination of incompetence. it appears they simply dropped the ball. they had no idea that people underneath them were not doing the work they were supposed to be doing. i'll read you a part of this. they gave various explanations for why they didn't take action on the weiner laptop but the inspector general says we found these explanations to be unp unpersuasive justifications for not acting sooner given the importance of the information and the clinton investigation kbro group had sufficient information to take action early in october and knew it would need a new search warrant to review any of the clinton-abedin e-mails. when october comes along, late october comes along, one of the reasons why comey decides to
send this letter to congress is he's afraid it's going to leak. he's afraid that this information is going to leak. according to the investigators from the attorney general, it looks like that was exactly what was going to happen. there were people in the fbi wondering why are we sitting on this, not doing something about this? it's clear there were people inside the fbi who were about to do something about this if the fbi hadn't started investigating the weiner laptop. so it tells us a lot about what was going on inside the fbi at the time. it appears that comey and some of the fbi leaders were more focused on defending the fbi, the fbi's reputation, their own reputation and were not paying enough attention to what really they should have been doing, which was investigating this laptop to see whether there was any good reason to reopen this investigation. again, three, four weeks would have made a huge difference, again because they send this
letter -- comey sends this letter to congress in late october, days before the election. perhaps this could have been wrapped up a month before and that perhaps changed the course of history. >> i mean, josh, evan gives yet another example. i was listening to your conversation with steve before we hit commercial break. of course you're proud of your work at the fbi. but coming out of this report, how concerned are -- that law enforcement agencies are coming out damaged because of this? >> it's extremely concerning. i would say this a damning report, that looks at the actions of the fbi and things that were done we and it took the fbi days to determine to the
there's the old add oj, don't chuck up to mallis, a my concern is you have these political types that looking at the fbi and say that there was some political malfeasance political in nature and it appears this happened to be incompetence, which again we have to take a look at and if we need to clear house and clean house and bring in people -- >> it not incompetent to say we will stop him. what does that have to do with the laptop thing we just talked about? >> it has fg.
>> with all the resources that the fbi has saying we will stop him and then being appointed to the mueller team. so i also will disagree with this idea that, well, maybe comey, mccabe, strzok, page, maybe it's there but it had nothing to do with the mueller probe. >> let me stop you. it so important not to mix these two up, right? this i.g. report was specifically on hillary clinton's private e-mail investigation. this is entirely separate from the russia mueller investigation. >> no, it isn't because strzok and page were on that team. it's not separate. >> but they're no longer with the fbi.
>> strzok is still with the fbi, which amazes me. >> in personnel. >> it indicates there waswide spre -- was widespread leaking in the fbi. if you say all the corrupt people were out to get president trump, there was widespread leak bug no one leaked that president trump's campaign was under investigation. if you wanted to stop him and go after him, that would have been the way to do it. what you would have us believe is that somehow they waited till the president got elected and then they would go after him. it's a house of cards. >> the reason that they didn't leak is because they were, by the way, spying on our campaign, totally illegally in my view. that's not debatable. >> it is debatable. it's high lie debatable. they were finding nothing, no collusion, no malfeasance, no corruption. >> there was no spying.
come on now. >> when you send in a human asset -- >> come on, you're on spygate. can you address the point i just made? >> at the direction of a government under false pretenses, i don't know what you call that other than a spy. >> so the fbi was out to get the president. >> evan, hang on. evan, evan. evan reports on this. evan knows the facts. there was no spying? >> correct, there was no spying. the problem for the fbi is these e-mails and tex met messages an pete strzok, that's what happens when you have conduct, misconduct frankly, that was going on behind the scenes that we had no idea was going on behind the scenes. the inspector general again, it
opens it up to these political arguments that are being made. >> quick break. everybody stand by. we're waiting for the white house briefing to begin momentarily. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. mayor maybe they're justnts posinan ordinary couple.uple. either way, this room came at an unbeatable price. no one looks out for you, like travelocity. with price match guarantee, you'll always wander wisely.
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> here we go, you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. got a lot to talk about, including the breaking news of the hour, this explosive report 18 months in the making, the inspector general at the justice department has determined former fbi director james comey was not biased in his handling of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation but that he did, in fact, deviate from department norms. just a reminder here, a lot of democrats, including hillary clinton herself, blame her election loss on comey's decision, remember, to