Count the editors of the New York Times among those who see the IG’s report as complete exoneration. Here’s a round-up of the NYT’s opinion page this morning:
Editorial, “No, Hillary Clinton’s Emails Will Never Go Away”
David Leonhardt, “The Report’s Real Message: Trump Is Lying”
James Comey, “This Report Says I Was Wrong. But That’s Good for the F.B.I.”
The reaction of the editors of the Washington Post is somewhat more balanced:
The valid, nonpolitical lesson arising from the inspector general’s report is that the FBI needs to be better prepared to handle politically sensitive investigations. The agency must take special care not to affect elections. It should shy from making statements about people not charged with crimes, and major announcements should be vetted carefully through the Justice Department hierarchy. As for FBI officials, they can have personal views, but they should refrain from saying careless things even in private.
While the editors of the Wall Street Journal saw the report quite differently:
The long-awaited Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation makes for depressing reading for anyone who cares about American democracy. Self-government depends on public trust in its institutions, especially law enforcement. The IG’s 568-page report makes clear that the FBI under former director James Comey betrayed that public trust in a way not seen since J. Edgar Hoover.
We use the Hoover analogy advisedly, realizing that the problem in this case was not rampant illegal spying. Though IG Michael Horowitz’s conclusions are measured, his facts are damning. They show that Mr. Comey abused his authority, broke with long-established Justice Department norms, and deceived his superiors and the public.
While the IG says Mr. Comey’s decisions were not the result of “political bias,” he presided over an investigating team that included agents who clearly were biased against Donald Trump. The damage to the bureau’s reputation—and to thousands of honest agents—will take years to repair.
The issue of political bias is almost beside the point. The IG scores Mr. Comey for “ad hoc decisionmaking based on his personal views.” Like Hoover, Mr. Comey believed that he alone could protect the public trust. And like Hoover, this hubris led him to make egregious mistakes of judgment that the IG says “negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice.”
I’ll quote blogospheric reactions as time allows.