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What to look for in Thursday's release of Justice Department IG report

Parts of a letter written by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., to FBI director Christopher Wray are photographed in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

WASHINGTON (SBG) - On Thursday, the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice is expected to release long-awaited findings to the public. IG Michael Horowitz has been looking into whether the FBI acted improperly when it investigated Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In some ways, it all started July 5, 2016, when then-FBI Director James Comey gave a news conference and said this about Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, and the investigation looking into her use of a private email server: “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

That bombshell, followed by another one three months later, when the investigation was re-opened after classified emails were found on former congressman Anthony Weiner’s computer -- revelations many believe played a major role in Clinton losing the election.

“That is tampering with the electoral process, which is very troublesome to me,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

The IG report is also expected to shed light on the now-infamous meeting on the tarmac between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. It may also discuss now-public, anti-Trump text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, who were part of the investigating team at the time.

One thing many are watching to see is if any charges will be filed. Other central questions: did anyone at the Department of Justice or the FBI act improperly? And did politics play a role in any of these decisions?

“I think the big question for the Justice Department, given the mishandling of the Clinton email investigation, is are they going to re-open it?” said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. Its lawsuits exposed the initial Clinton email scandal.

“There’s a culture of corruption at the FBI that I don’t think has been eliminated with the firing of James Comey. The FBI put its own interests ahead of the interests of the American people, transparency and accountability,” Fitton said.

Transparency and accountability are a mission of the DOJ OIG report, though many say it will bring with it more questions than answers.

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