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In one Strzok-Page text exchange cited in the report, Page asked on August 8, 2016 whether Trump would become president.

The report also accuses Comey of "usurping the authority of the attorney general [at the time Loretta Lynch] and upset the well-established separation between investigative and prosecutorial functions", the report continued.

Though Trump has repeatedly lambasted Federal Bureau of Investigation leaders as politically biased against him, the inspector general's report - no matter how critical - is unlikely to endorse that conclusion, especially since some of the actions being examined broke from protocol in ways that may have harmed Clinton.

The inspector general's report was originally expected in May, and earlier this month, Trump questioned on Twitter whether its publication had been delayed because the findings were "being changed and made weaker".

Adopt a policy addressing the appropriateness of employees discussing the conduct of uncharged individuals in public statements.

But in October 2016, less than two weeks before Election Day, Mr Comey sent members of Congress a letter disclosing that the probe was being reopened after new emails were found on the computer of the husband of top Mrs Clinton aide Huma Abedin. His most significant report before this one was the 2012 study of the botched Obama-era gun operation known as Fast and Furious.

Comey has said it makes him "nauseous" to think his actions may have affected the outcome of the 2016 election, but he maintains that he did what he thought was right at the time.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was "alarmed, angered, and deeply disappointed by the Inspector General's finding of numerous failures by DOJ and FBI" in the Clinton probe. "As we warned before the election, Director Comey had a double-standard: he spoke publicly about the Clinton investigation while keeping secret from the American people the investigation of Donald Trump and Russian Federation". The report specifically points to Strzok's text message that suggested he would be willing to stop Trump from winning.

Comey, whom Trump fired shortly after taking office, bore the brunt of much criticism in the report, but not for political favoritism.

The watchdog report being released Tuesday said Comey was not motivated by bias at the news conference.

Sessions said before the inspector general's latest report was released that "if anyone else shows up in this report to have done something that requires termination we will do so". The report focused in part on Comey's announcement in July 2016 that Clinton acted improperly but did nothing illegal.

"[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right?" So, too, the witch hunt accusations slung Robert Mueller's way, for his ongoing failures to tie anything "Russia Collusion" to Team Trump - or "Russia Conflict of Interest", for that matter. The inspector general also concluded that the decisions made on how to conduct the Clinton investigation were reasonable. Another Democrat, Sen. Chris Coons of DE, tweeted that the report is not proof of a conspiracy and that Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the election should be allowed to proceed without interference.

Comey first recommended against prosecuting former Secretary of State Clinton then announced he was reopening the investigation just days before Election Day.