Who leaked portions of the IG report, and why?
Coverage of the leaked portions of the long delayed and much anticipated report from the inspector general of the Department of Justice has generally focused on how damaging it is to James Comey. But I think the leakers had an entirely different agenda.
ABC News, which received the leaks and broke the news, headlined, "DOJ watchdog finds James Comey defied authority as FBI director, sources say." Certainly, this conclusion is not complimentary toward Comey, but it seems to me that this is one of the most congenial to Comey of all the possible revelations that could be coming and may actually work to soften the coming blows when the report is released.
First of all, to whose authority was Comey insubordinate? That would be Loretta Lynch and Sally Yates, both of whom may well be subject to criticism in the final report. Neither woman is much admired by conservatives.
Second, who was harmed by Comey's insubordination? ABC reports:
The draft of Horowitz's wide-ranging report specifically called out Comey for ignoring objections from the Justice Department when he disclosed in a letter to Congress just days before the 2016 presidential election that FBI agents had reopened the Clinton probe, according to sources. Clinton has said that letter doomed her campaign.
This is exactly what Hillary partisans have complained about, even stating that this could have cost her the election. Now, who would have an interest in portraying Hillary as the victim?
ABC indicates that more than one source previewed portions of the report for the network, and they are almost certainly people mentioned in the report who have been asked to review portions of it mentioning them. Up until now, there have been no leaks at all from the I.G.'s office itself, so a leak at this late stage most likely comes from a subject asked to review it.
In other words, the leaks came from people anxious to minimize the impact of the report when it finally comes out and to shape its impact in a direction favoring a narrative hostile to conservative concerns.
As to the delay of the report, last night, Joseph DiGenova expressed my worst fears to Sean Hannity – that big-time pressure is being brought to bear on the I.G. to sanitize it:
As Judge Andrew Napolitano stated this morning on Fox & Friends, after the report is released, I.G. Horowitz is slated to testify before Congress. He can, at that time, be questioned as to what pressures were brought to bear and what excisions were made. That would be quite the spectacle, with potentially huge consequences.