Editor's note: No bias in FBI probe, but plenty in agents
The Justice Department has cleared the FBI of conspiring to deny Donald Trump the presidency, but the report from the inspector general falls well short of vindicating the bureau.
While the IG ruled former FBI Director James Comey insubordinate for not following the orders of superiors and inserting himself into the political fray, he found no evidence that bias impacted how the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server unfolded. It did, however, unearth plenty to verify the astounding personal bias harbored by top FBI officials.
The pages of personal texts and emails between agents and other bureau officials reveal they were often overwrought at the prospect of a Trump presidency, and while they may not actively worked to defeat him, they certainly fantasized about the prospect.
Private emails between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were engaged in an illicit affair, were cited by the IG as casting "a cloud over the entire FBI investigation.
The two exchanged numerous messages bemoaning the possibility of a Trump victory, including one that vowed "we'll stop" it from happening.
How could anyone have confidence in an investigation carried out by individuals with such strong anti-Trump sentiments. They need to go.
Equally disturbing is that Page, Strzok and at least three other FBI officials put these sort of thoughts in writing in the midst of the Clinton probe.
These are professionals who pride themselves on unlocking the most secret places of those they are targeting. They, more than anyone, should know that once words are typed onto the Internet, they never die.
That they were able to suppress their deep disdain for Trump and, as the IG concluded, carry out a fair and unbiased probe is a credit to them, I guess.
Still, new FBI Director Christopher Wray has a lot of work ahead in schooling the bureau on professionalism.
And given their intense partisan leanings and deep distress at the thought of Trump as president, it is not hard to imagine the FBI agents in question as active participants in the resistance movement.
That's what the inspector general will be looking at next, as he examines whether former FBI Director James Comey and other officials used doctored evidence to secure a FISA warrant to instigate Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. That eventually led to the appointment of special prosecutor Robert Mueller.
That report is yet to come. It'd be a good idea to wait until it comes out before exonerating Comey, the FBI and the Justice Department.