The long-awaited Department of Justice report on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was released Thursday, and there was something for everyone.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz found fault with a number of FBI actions, including an exchange of anti-Trump text messages between disgraced FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who were having an extra-marital affair. (Strzok was removed from the investigation.)
"[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Page wrote to Strzok.
"No. No he won't. We'll stop it," Strzok replied.
But the inspector general also was sharply critical of former FBI Director James Comey's public announcement days before the November election that he was re-opening the Clinton email investigation — widely credited with costing her the presidency.
In the end, Horowitz concluded that Comey had not followed FBI protocol and that he was insubordinate, but that his actions hadn't been politically motivated, for or against either party or presidential candidate. That is not a conclusion that is likely to be embraced by either the left or the right.
The report is already becoming something of a Rorschach test. People on the right, including those in the White House, are touting it as proof that the FB, and other federal officials and agencies are biased against the Trump administration. There are already attempts being made to link Horowitz's criticisms of the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation with the investigation into Russian interference in the last presidential election.
People on the left see the report as confirming their stance that Comey was out of bounds in announcing the re-opening of the investigation just before the election and that he caused her defeat.
Horowitz deserves credit the for thoroughness and integrity he brought to the 18-month investigation. It may not have been a pleasant job, but it was a necessary one. The important thing now is to use the findings to improve federal law enforcement systems, making whatever changes are needed to reassure Americans of the integrity of these systems, not as as excuse to cut off other federal investigations — including the ongoing one on Russian interference in U.S. elections.