Hatch Responds to Justice Dept. IG Report on Clinton Email Probe: 'This Is Appalling'

June 18, 2018

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) on Monday castigated the Department of Justice following Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, calling the findings "appalling."

Hatch addressed the report at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing during which both Horowitz and and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified. The Utah senator made clear to Wray that he is not satisfied with his response.

"This is appalling," Hatch said, "and the significance of these findings cannot be overstated."

The IG report revealed that the FBI mishandled the Clinton email probe and that bureau agents engaged in improper behavior. In one instance, FBI agent Peter Strzok sent a message to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, saying "we'll stop" Donald Trump from becoming president. Strzok also called Trump supporters "retarded."

"The report identifies missteps at every level of the Department of Justice—from our nation's chief federal law enforcement officer to special agents in the field," Hatch said.

The senator then called out Wray for his response to the IG report.

On Thursday, when the report was released,Wray pledged at a press conference that the bureau would learn from the report "so those mistakes will not be repeated," but insisted that the findings concern a small number of individuals and do not reflect the FBI as a whole.

"Director Wray, I have to say that I was disappointed by your response last week to the inspector general report," Hatch said, blasting the FBI chief for going out of his way to emphasize that the report focused on a small number of FBI employees.

"Well, let's remember who that small number of employees was," Hatch said.

The Utah Republican noted that included the director of the FBI, the deputy director, and leaders of the Clinton email and Russia investigations.

"So let's not pretend like this was some one-off problem," Hatch said. "There is a serious problem with the culture at FBI headquarters."

Hatch mentioned a key finding from the report, that more than 50 FBI employees had unauthorized media contact.

The report also mentioned reporters having golf outings, getting drinks, and giving sporting-event tickets to FBI employees for access.

Hatch said that he is "not interested in hearing about additional training, which is necessary but not sufficient," but wanted to know what Wray will due to identify and hold accountable employees that violate FBI policy.