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Friday, June 15, 2018

A professional review of the IG report

I have the best readers. Physicists, engineers, medical doctors, and even a woman who worked with Jim Comey many years ago. Then there is my general...

So when a reader who has issued similar reports in corporate life took issue with my dismissal of the Inspector's General report on the Department of Justice (I want indictments), I was intrigued.

And now I post his remarks. Please note that his opinions are his alone and not those of his employer.

By David Held.

The more I read about this, the more I admire IG Michael Horowitz.  I have been involved in corporate governance and compliance for almost 20 years and I’ve never seen a better example of self-preservation than the OIG report.  Please allow me to explain how much there is to learn from Horowitz.

Imagine that you are the head of compliance and audit for a publicly-traded corporation (Horowitz), and the CEO (Trump) hates the former head (Comey) of a once-successful business line that has fallen on hard times (the FBI).  He was vainglorious and the CEO fired him for his well-documented incompetence.  You have been tasked with writing an audit report about that major business line, which has had some issues in the past, and the CEO wants to make some big changes there which do not yet have the support of the board. Needless to say, the CEO ignored his general counsel and has already announced what he wants to do on Twitter.  This report is going to be publicly reported, so there’s a lot of attention on what you do.  Research analysts now know who you are.  The CEO is not against you, but he’s not your friend either, and you cannot count on him to save you from your immediate boss (Rosenstein) who has made it very clear that he doesn’t support this change and your immediate boss is responsible for your compensation.  He can and will hurt you.  He is never going to agree to hire an outside auditing firm to handle this, so you’ll have to take a position on the future of this business line.

Rumors of this business line’s incompetence have gotten to the Wall Street Journal, which everyone reads every day.  This business line’s issues weren’t a secret despite the fact that not everyone talks about it publicly.  Your boss totally knows that there are problems but you cannot really tell just whose side he’s on because he’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut.  He might be with the CEO, or he might be in with the fired head and the other corporate raiders out there (Mueller) who are looking to change CEOs.  Your boss is probably keeping his options open.  If you dissatisfy the CEO and produce a report that exonerates the business line, the CEO may lose his job because he’s counting on this, but if he doesn’t, you’re dead and unlike your boss and the CEO, you do not have a golden parachute waiting for you. Because you publicly screwed this up, no other similar company will ever hire you again.

What do you do?  You look to Michael Horowitz as the gold standard for political acumen.  Horowitz knows about the bias, so does Rosenstein and Sessions, Mueller and Comey.  They all know.  They may not always consider it bias and could have ivory tower syndrome but they aren’t idiots.  Whatever he does, Horowitz knows that he potentially angers someone who can hurt him.  He has to worry about both Team Trump and Team Mueller and maybe even Team Rosenstein.  Someone is going to be mad and that’s bad for his career.  Who is the only person he doesn’t have to worry about?  Obviously, James Comey.

Horowitz’s report looks like two reports in one – the summary and the body of the report.  The summary is toned down and acknowledges only the appearance of bias and of weak policies.  It’s “pareve” as we say in the mother language.  The really bad criticism stops with Comey and allows Yates and Lynch to emerge relatively unscathed for a lack of supervision.  As I said, no one cares about Comey anymore and his deputy will probably end up in jail.  The body of the report, however, describes shocking outright bias in detail and how FBI agents basically accepted gifts from the media covering them.  The body seems to be ignored in the summary and could support much stronger conclusions that condemn both the FBI and the DOJ.  Because the same guy oversaw the writing of both the summary and the body, this is not an oversight – the disconnect is by design.  Why?

Horowitz is perfectly well aware of what’s in the body and that the team covering the Clinton email investigation was biased.  Those people moved onto Team Mueller, so Horowitz knows that those guys are biased, too.  Horowitz knows that the odds of the public and MSM listening to a narrative that it doesn’t want to accept is zero, so he gives everyone a piece of what they want.  He gives his CEO the body of the report, which is truthful and acknowledges that this business line has been very poorly run.  No one will criticize the auditor for giving straight facts. 

Horowitz gives his immediate boss (Rosenstein) the option of using the summary to exonerate the incompetence of the business line (the FBI).  It looked bad, sure, but things happen and we’ll clean this up in the future.  If he wants, he isn’t yet forced to go through the total reorganization that the CEO had planned.  The immediate boss is happy because he has something to hang his hat on, the summary, and he can save face in public.  He can still urge the CEO to be prudent and take things slow.  He didn’t give the CEO enough ammunition and the immediate boss knows that.  The immediate boss can make his own decision about the reorganization because the research analysts are reading the summary anyway – they’re ignoring the facts in the body for now.  Sure, the CEO will be citing the negative facts from the body of the report, but he had been talking about the reorganization for years and he’ll probably retire some day.

In our fact pattern, the CEO wanted you to make the decision for him, to make it obvious and you couldn’t do that because there are too many dangerous people out there.  So your response to the company, in effect, this is a decision to be made at a higher pay grade than me.  You have really issue no opinion, because the people who hate the business line will be angry at you no matter what you do.  On the other hand, you can tell them that you gave them an abundance of facts, that some of them are damning, that there will be people who are subject to discipline and that the wheels of justice turn slowly.  You didn’t hide anything but you cannot tell people which facts are important – they have to decide that for themselves.  You didn’t hide anything because the question of prosecution is up to other people, not you.  The CEO can always fire your boss if he really wanted to do so.  And the CEO and your boss will work things out on their own without you, which is the best result possible for you.

***

OK, that was the report from a professional. Quite an insight. Diplomacy. Just the fact. Very good.

I still want prosecutions. Maybe the report leads to that.

###

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47 comments:

  1. In other words, the IG Report is as whitewashed as Aunt Polly's fence. - Elric

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    Replies
    1. That's not my understanding of what he said at all. The body of the IG Report is damning. The summary, and the summary only, is the whitewashing worthy of Tom Sawyer himself.
      -TK

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    2. Agreed. As I told people at AoSHQ multiple times yesterday and today, there are 500+ pages in that report, and there will be plenty of people reading it carefully for names, dates, things said and done, and what rules/laws have been violated.
      At best people will just be demoted, at worst many people will be indicted - just from this little sample we have reporters bribing federal employees. There is no First Amendment protection for any of that! The biggest take away is that people got lazy, sloppy, complacent and let their personal lives slop over into their professional lives with the resulting display of stupid. If I miss my guess at the temperment of Donald Trump there will be memos coming out of the White House to DoJ and the FBI directing the specific things that the Golden Scalp Weasel wants to see done, all backed up by specific facts in this report, and God help them if they are not followed through on.

      -Mikey NTH

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  2. Horowitz: the gold standard of moral corruption

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  3. As a retired federal employee, I want to say the report is written in the very usual bureacracy-speak and in this case the sub-genre of legal language with a huge amount of adminstrative regulatory-eze thrown in. It is really very critical, throws some of the FBI to the dogs, and the recap or executive summary was obviously NOT written by the OIG staff but rather Rosenstein and Wray who are trying to launch a salvage operation for the wreck of the FBI/DOJ which are going to be public objects of derision, deservedly, for a long time. Clip their wings, cut their budget, and rein them in Congress. OR end it and start over.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "the recap or executive summary was obviously NOT written by the OIG staff but rather Rosenstein and Wray"

      Interesting bit of speculation.
      And thanks Mr Held for the informative analogy!
      JimNorCal

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  4. Quite possible as I don't work for the OIG but the lesson for people in difficult corporate conflicts remain: don't make the call on a conflict above your pay grade.

    This is why Horowitz has a job and Comey doesn't.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to do this analysis. It's all so obvious ... but only after you went to the trouble to point it out.
      -TK

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    2. Imagine the position of the OIG and its people - since when has a sizable portion of the public waited, eagerly, for an OIG report? The 12th of Neverember? They are all in the spotlight so of course they took a long time: ass + sling = very bad place. Yes, they are threading their way through some very bad politics, so every sentence is going to be said in the dullest, laconic, bureaucratic manner and backed up by a cite to a fact. But the facts are there, and have at them.

      -Mikey NTH

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  5. What Trump needs to do is can Mr. Magoo and get an AG who will clean up the mess at the DOJ and the FBI. Mr. Magoo has been AWOL.

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    1. And if his board with power to remove him (senate GOPe led by Vichy Mitchy) would allow a replacement for Mr Magoo (Vichy said in public he won't), you'd be right. If Trump fires him anyway, Rosenstein becomes AG and Trump has an open traitor in the Cabinet.

      Delete
    2. Trump smashes conventions regularity. You may be right but I am not certain that Trump would avoid firing Rosenstein if he wanted.

      Delete
    3. At some point, perhaps after the midterm election and depending on how Mueller's "investigation" goes, Trump will almost certainly fire Rosenstein. Rosenstein knows that, so he is probably hoping the election goes badly for Trump or that Mueller is willing to precipitate a Constitutional crisis by issuing a subpoena on Trump if the President refuses to have a sit down with Mueller's investigators. Sessions has said he would quit if Trump fired Rosenstein. That's fine with Trump because he wants to fire Sessions anyway, but not in a way that promotes Rosenstein to AG. By firing Rosenstein, Trump collects two scalps at once. Winning!

      How this plays out will depend a lot on whether Trump decides against sitting down for an interview with Mueller and, if he chooses not to, whether it's more strategic to fire Rosenstein before or after Mueller issues the subpoena. Trump has to take into account whether Mueller is politically biased enough to issue it before the election or would wait until after the election. There are a heck of a lot of moving parts! I suspect Trump and Giuliani are up to the task of dealing with all of them.

      Delete
  6. This IG was personally hindered by Obama's White House. The entire independent oversight and Congressionsal oversight was blocked by Obama's White House.

    In our past, most White House illegal actions have been ignored save for a few lowly people getting jailed.

    In Andrew Johnson's administration, the Radical Republicans in Congress forced a law through that stated a president has no authority to outright fire any Executive head.

    Moreover, the head he fired, Secretary of War Stanton, illegally had a replacement jailed.

    It wasn't till decades later that the US Supreme Court stated that the President, as head of the Executive has plenury power to fire executive officers.


    Nothing happened to Stanton.

    I expect the same here, sadly.

    Obama, Holder, Brennan, etc will be condemned, but not a damn thing will happen to them.


    And they all realize it now.

    I think just after the election, the hammer would drop and arrests would occur (as should have happened since Hillary, Obama, and the Democrats were in open Sedition).

    But now, theybare confident save for a few lower level types, nothing is going to occur.


    I blame intrasigent, Republican Trump haters.

    They purposely tried to derail Trump's conservative agenda and sided with Obama/Hillary's people and made justice all but impossible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction ...

      "I think just after the election, they (Obama et all) thought the hammer would drop a

      Delete
    2. Correction ...

      "But now, they are confident save for a few lower level types, that nothing is going to occur."

      Delete
    3. Whoreawhiz deep state Horse Apples, no one will be held to task. The country is finished, special laws for the mandarins in District of Criminals and all State govt.

      Delete
  7. After Trump hyped the IG report, it's all sad trombone music. So sad. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort sleeps in jail tonight. Here's to keeping that trend rolling up to the top. Might want to invest in sad trombone futures.

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    1. No, the report is bad, very bad.

      In a normal world that puts America first, this part of the IG report would lead to criminal prosecutions of Obama's top level White House and may still, but we live in a world whereby Demorats, government staff, and a significant amount of Republicans are in open opposition to the President.

      This is just one part of the IG report, it is not the last.

      Delete
    2. You are the sad trombone,Also Don all that this guy wrote,that you posred here, is a bunch of gobble gop

      Delete
    3. TexasDude, you're dealing here with a commenter (Anon @ 6:13) who's a sad excuse for a human being, the kind who's happy when an innocent person is led off to jail or worse, just so long as said person is from a different political party or the like.

      This Anon would have been, in the 1600s, the kind to stand there cheering as accused witches or heretics or Jews were burned at the stake; in the 1930s, to do the same at Stalinist show trials; in the 1940s, to see Jews and others herded into cattle cars; and so forth.

      So while it's perfectly true that this report is bad and shows the deep rot at all levels of government - to the Anons of the world it's good, because "their team" is winning, and justice be damned.

      Delete
    4. Envy is the ugliest deadly sin.

      Delete
  8. Best explanation yet I have read...

    Only piece missing is whom Horowitz is married too.

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  9. Yes indeed, the IG report seems to be a lot of smoke obscuring some genuine gems. The press can be impressed by the smoke; but if there's going to be any useful action, the gems will be worth examining.

    But until somebody's actually jailed, this is all just theater.

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    1. I completely agree that it's theater but if you were Horowitz the safest thing for you to do would be to let higher ups make that call.

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  10. Any parallels with CEO Trump not bringing up Human Rights with CEO kim ...

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  11. I still want prosecutions.

    A lot of us want EXECUTIONS.

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  12. Trump doesn’t strike while the iron is hot.

    He MAKES the iron hot by repeatedly striking it.

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  13. Trump should re-open the investigation of Hillary. Hers were the real, significant crimes; altho the coverup was also illegal.

    If Trump is unwilling to push to have Hillary indicted, it's no surprise few if any of the other crooks will be.

    I want Hillary indicted -- and most of the top FBI folk who obstructed justice indicted, too. But Trump needs to push this, too.

    Maybe he's preparing his own October surprise? Maybe he's just sick of it and wants it to peter out on its own.

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  14. That is the funniest analysis I've seen to date, and all true :D

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  15. Mikey NTH ! I didn't know you were a fellow moron :)

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  16. Don...a d*mn fine thread tonight...arguably your best to date.
    The comments are thoughtful and there's not too much this aging Canuck can add that hasn't been hashed over already.
    If there ever is a Hollyblog Hall of Fame Mr Surber, you're bound to get a star!

    Oh and as an aside, IMO PDJT isn't done with this by a long shot, nor is he done with Canada & Free Trade. He'll get what's good for America AND Canada as well,(whether they realize it or not.)...The man is a wonder and knows his business and then some.

    Bring on the popcorn!

    SC

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  17. Takeaway for me? It’s business as usual in The Swamp, where the right thing is always the last thing on everyone’s minds.

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  18. Horowitz is the only the investigator, like a local police dectective. He can only put facts into the report. It is for the prosecutor, Huber in this case, to decide if any charges are warranted. Horowitz did a great job.

    And please note that Trump, as President, can blow this open at any moment by declassifying the documents that the DOJ is withholding. I do not believe that Trump will sit by passively and allow him and his family to be destroyed. He must have a plan, and is choosing to wait.

    Also note that a legitimate reason for DOJ to withhold certain documents from congress is if they are part of a criminal investigation. There were no leaks prior to the recent indictment of the Senate staffer for leaking, even though he was first approached by FBI /DOJ in December. Huber could already have grand juries (that are supposed to be secret) working on Horowitz report #1 (McCabe) and #2 (yesterday’s report), and is waiting for #3 (Russia and FISA abuse) before announcing any charges.

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  19. The President mentioned in his Presser yesterday that this is a process. This report is the start. There will be more reports coming. Only they know how many. The President has read the unredacted report and stated yesterday that he's been hands off because he didn't want to taint the investigation and get the results thrown out. I hinted that he may need to step in if they white wash the results or fail to move on the sins of the FBI/DOJ. More info will come out on a regular basis up to and after the midterms. It'll keep their sins in the news cycle and it will wake up the public to what's really happened...

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  20. Horowitz should not have been about making Trump or Rosenstein happy. He should have been about finding the truth and reporting it throughout. That he has attempted to save his own skin is a disgrace.

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    1. I understand your disappointment. My point is to explain the pressures felt by someone in that position. It isn't easy.

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    2. Mike, Horowitz did what you wanted, but he can't prosecute people- that is up to Jeff Sessions.

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    3. It was Horowitz' job to load the gun, not to fire it.

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  21. Unless there's something BIG coming down with the Spygate FISA abuse scandal Trump should fire Sessions and Rosenstein, make a recess IG appointment and clean out the DOJ and start the prosecutions.

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    1. Congress isn't giving him a recess to make appointments with. They are maintaining a pro forma session. No idea why except SWAMP.

      Delete
  22. Excellent commentary, and thank you Mr. Held for sharing your expert opinion with us.

    I like to think that Donald J. Trump is primarily a builder, of high and prestigious buildings. As such, he has understood all along that a tall, magnificent structure has certain requirements that MUST be met, or the structure will fail.

    Underlying every successful building is a strong foundation! Without that, the structure will topple, or crack, or collapse entirely.

    President Trump is setting a firm foundation to this investigation, and I have no doubt whatsoever that it will withstand the stresses imposed on it, and that the results- though not forthcoming as soon as I'd like, being impatient as I am- will be satisfying.

    I'm enjoying all the rats scurrying about, trying to excuse their wrongdoing. More likely they are walking into traps which will undo them even more! Of particular interest are all the named media people, the "journalists" who bribe and the "reporters" who connive.

    Lots more fun ahead! Blow the steam horn on the TrumpTrain, it's chugging right along!

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    1. I hear the rat traps snapping, too. When enough of them have snapped we get to inspect our catches.- Elric

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  23. IOW: Horowitz fears Hillary, fears Rosenstein, fears Obama. Horowitz fears, not for his job but for his life. We all know it.

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  24. This is more or less what I wrote on Althouse's site yesterday. Horowitz isn't the prosecutor. If you want indictments, then Sessions is going to have to be thawed out and reanimated in some fashion.

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