Grassley: Comey Wrote Clinton Exoneration Statement Before Email Investigation Ended
“…in early April or early May 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton.”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray to inform him that the committee found in unredacted parts in transcripts that former FBI Director James Comey decided to write a statement to exonerate then-presumptive Democrat presidential candidate before the FBI finished its investigation into her emails.
According to the unredacted portions of the transcripts, it appears that in early April or early May 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. This was long before FBI agents finished their work. Mr. Coney even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership. The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts.
OSC [Office of Special Counsel] attorneys questioned two witnesses, presumably Mr. [Jim] Rybicki [Comey’s Chief of Staff] and Ms. Trisha] Anderson [Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw], about Mr. Comey’s July 5, 2016, statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. The transcript of what appears to be Mr. Rybicki’s interview contains the following exchange:
This is the portion of the transcript that Grassley provided:
Here is a portion from what may be Anderson’s interview:
Grassley and the other senators have asked Wray to provide the committee all drafts of Comey’s statement that closed the investigation, including the one from April or May, along with all of the records “related to communications between or among FBI officials regarding Comey’s draft statement closing the Clinton investigation. These documents include “all memoranda or analyses of the factual or legal justification for the announcement.”
The committee also wants the records “provided to the Office of Special Counsel in the course of its now closed Hatch Act investigation of Mr. Comey.”
Does this add new credence to those who suspected the fix was already in for Hillary to get off? It’s possible. After all, a week before Comey’s press conference, a local news crew discovered that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with Hillary’s husband Bill on a tarmac at an Arizona airport. As Professor Jacobson noted at the time:
Neither Lynch nor Bill Clinton are dummies. They both know that such a private meeting creates the appearance of impropriety regardless of what was discussed. Bill Clinton’s wife is being investigated by the FBI — why do you think he dropped in for a chat with Lynch?
Of course they didn’t discuss the case. They didn’t need to.
If there was no appearance of impropriety, why did Lynch wait until a local news crew, apparently tipped off, asked her about it?
It feeds a narrative of the Clintons acting like the fix is in, with Hillary repeatedly bragging that there is no way she’s going to be indicted.
On July 5, 2016, Comey gave a detailed press conference to exonerate Hillary even though the found found serious problems and mishandling of classified information. He said he could not recommend charges because “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case because no bad intent.”
Lynch decided the following day to accept Comey’s recommendation not to prosecute Hillary.
Earlier this month, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) published 413 pages of memos from the DOJ that showed the tarmac meeting was planned. The ACLJ wrote:
We have just obtained hundreds of pages in our ongoing investigation and federal lawsuit on former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton while the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI had an ongoing criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. The results are shocking.
First, the Comey FBI lied to us. Last July, we sent FOIA requests to both the Comey FBI and the Lynch DOJ asking for any documents related to the Clinton Lynch plane meeting. The FBI, under the then directorship of James Comey, replied that “No records responsive to your request were located.”
The documents we received today from the Department of Justice include several emails from the FBI to DOJ officials concerning the meeting. One with the subject line “FLAG” was correspondence between FBI officials (Richard Quinn, FBI Media/Investigative Publicity, and Michael Kortan) and DOJ officials concerning “flag[ing] a story . . . about a casual, unscheduled meeting between former president Bill Clinton and the AG.” The DOJ official instructs the FBI to “let me know if you get any questions about this” and provides “[o]ur talkers [DOJ talking points] on this”. The talking points, however are redacted.
In January, the Justice Department inspector general announced “he will investigate the actions of the Justice Department and FBI in the months leading up to the 2016 election.” The investigation includes if Comey followed department policies. Comey, who was still FBI director at the time, promised cooperation. CBS News reported at the time:
The review will examine Comey’s news conference in July 2016 in which he said that the FBI would not recommend charges. During his announcement, Comey delivered an unusual public statement for an FBI chief by chastising Clinton and her aides as “extremely careless.”
It will also review the two letters he sent to Congress about the case in the final days before the 2016 election. Clinton and her aides said the disclosure of “new” emails – found on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin – less than two weeks before Election Day hurt her in several battleground states.
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As Paul Mirengoff over at Powerline observes,
“It’s one thing for Comey to form a preliminary view of the likely outcome of a matter still under investigation and even to jot that view down. It seems like quite another to circulate draft “exoneration” memos within the agency, as Comey elected to do.”
This would seem to constitute grounds for re-opening the Clinton email investigation yet again.
It would also seem to motivate the snoozing Southern Gentleman Jeff Sessions to respond to the House Judiciary Committee request to appoint a Special Counsel to investigate Hillary, Lynch, and Comey.
You are absolutely right about “snoozing” Sessions, but no special counsel is necessary. Sessions can get off his duff and do it himself. Also, I thought Comey jumped in because of the tarmac incident – so why was he writing exoneration memos before that? Is he clairivoiant?
The Plot thickens to Stew!
I don’t agree that it is appropriate for the Director to ever form a preliminary opinion of the outcome of an investigation, especially in the Clinton e-mail scandal, for which no legitimate investigation was ever conducted. This move by Comey was obviously motivated by his desire to absolve Clinton of criminal liability for political expediency. His lightning-speed decision in his faux determination that the Clinton e-mails found on the Weiner laptop contained no new information supports my conclusion.
Comey clearly colluded with Clinton to advance her corrupt criminal schedule. Thank God he did not succeed in getting her elected.
james comey – straight arrow ///>
We already suspected that Comey would push the angle that Hillary’s alleged crimes weren’t serious, because the subsequent FBI interview with Hillary—in theory, an important part of the investigation—was a very un-serious pro-forma exercise. She was allowed to pack the interview with an entourage of nine lawyers—and the proceedings weren’t even recorded. Obviously, by that time FBI was just pretending to investigate, and not even bothering to put on much of a show as cover for the coming whitewash.
However at no point did Comey “exonerate” Hillary. Calling Clinton and her State Department minions “extremely careless” is not an exoneration. And he never claimed that such abuse of the classification system wasn’t a crime. He did claim that he didn’t believe that this failure to take her job seriously was prosecutable.
Hillary later called this an exoneration. There’s no good reason to accept her spin.
Gee, I must have missed the report on Comey’s before-the-fact memo on NBC news tonight. No worry, I’ll be able to read about in the Times tomorrow morning.
His statement still bugs me. The charge would have been “negligence,” which, by definition, doesn’t require “intent,” merely the “extreme carelessness” that he cited.
Everything that is required to prosecute and convict Hillary is already known, and not in dispute.
He claimed that long-standing DOJ policy is not to prosecute in such circumstances, and that he’d searched for even one precedent of such a prosecution and couldn’t find any. Are you aware of any such cases? (Note: Do NOT bring up cases prosecuted by DOD, or you automatically lose. DOD is not DOJ, and its policies were irrelevant.)
I’m sorry but to attempt to exonerate someone because the DOJ had refused to prosecute people who had clearly violated the letter of the law is ludicrous. In order for that argument to have any weight, you would need a court case which gave some actual legal reasoning for NOT prosecuting someone for violating the letter of the law. But, no such case exists. No court has ruled that the law is unconstitutionally vague or legally deficient in any other way. The precedent here is that the DOJ simply decided, unilaterally, to ignore the law, as written, and refuse to enforce it. And, the DOJ does NOT have that authority and especially not the FBI, including its director.
DOJ’s own view is that this law can’t be enforced as written, then the FBI director as well as all US Attorneys are bound by that policy. Only the AG or the president can change it, and they obviously weren’t going to. The fact that DOD has a different view is irrelevant.
What the hell are you talking about?
Comey clearly obstructed justice prejudicially in 2016.
We are discussing his statement that she could not be prosecuted because she had no clear criminal intent. This is not the standard in the statute, but Comey was bound by DOJ policy, which has been not to prosecute without evidence of such intent. He said he had looked for any previous case in which such charges had been brought and could not find one; this was not the case in which to break new ground. I asked whether anyone knew of any instance that would contradict him, and so far there are no takers. Instead I’m getting arguments that he should have defied department policy and recommended prosecution contrary to that policy; of course any such recommendation would have been turned down.
Neither the AG, nor anyone else in the DOJ, has the authority to arbitrarily decide whether a law is enforceable or not. This is the job of the courts. And, as the DOD can successfully prosecute the same behavior under nearly identical laws and regulations would tend to torpedo the argument that this law is not enforceable and somehow legally deficient. So, I see no reason why the DOJ can not do likewise. Except that they simply refuse to do so for some unspecified reason. So, I believe that it is YOU who have failed to prove that the law in question is either unenforceable or not prosecutable. To charge that, you would have to have a test case, of this law, which would provide a legal basis for that claim, or precedent from cases, involving a similar law or laws, providing the same thing. You have none of that here. What you have is precedent that the law IS enforceable and prosecutable based upon the successful prosecution conducted by the DOD of similar violations of similar laws and regulations.
Also, the Director of the FBI has no authority to unilaterally decide which laws are enforceable and which are not. His job is to investigate suspected violations of law and forward the results of that investigation to the US Attorney, for a determination on whether to initiate prosecution. THIS is the policy within the DOJ and it has been so for decades. Federal investigators DO NOT get to make determinations on prosecution. So let’s just get that argument off the table right now.
Now, as to the argument that Servergate was NOT the case to establish precedent, this is only valid if one assumes that the same fix, which resulted in no prosecution to begin with, would be in for a trial. Comey himself laid out a prima facia case that Clinton had violated the letter of the law, knowingly. As intent is NOT requirement for violating this law, then her intent is irrelevant.
This was a totally transparent attempt to exonerate HRC for knowledgeable behavior which was contrary to a clearly written federal law. Comey did it in order to shield the AG and the President from culpability for the improper action. And, Comey did not act unilaterally. By his own testimony, he cleared his action with the AG, prior to his presser. And, considering how the Obama WH micromanaged the running of the country, it is almost assured that BHO also had input into this action. Now, in the words of BHO’s former pastor, the chickes have come home to roost.
On the contrary, it is DOJ’s role to decide what the law means, and whether it can or should be enforced, before any judge gets a look at it. They are the ones who decide whether to bring it to a judge.
The FBI doesn’t decide whether to prosecute, but it makes a recommendation to the US Attorney, and since both of them work for DOJ, they’re both bound by DOJ policy.
It is NOT the role of the DOJ, or any other prosecutor, to interpret the law. It is the prosecutor’s job to prosecute violations of the law, nothing more. The prosecutor does this by examining if the facts in the case prove that a person violated the language of the law; not its intent, its language. The prosecutor also has to weigh in any potential legal defense to the potential charge; such as self defense or mental incompetence. Prosecutorial discretion only applies to the whether the facts of an individual case support a violation of the language of the law and whether any legal defenses apply. It is the job of the court to interpret the meaning of the language of a law and to decide if an individuals actions violate that law.
Now, as you note, the DOJ has decided NOT prosecute anyone for a violation of the language of the applicable law. And, they not only did this unilaterally, without direction from the courts, but without giving a solid legal reason for doing so. Unless the DOJ articulates a valid legal reason for not enforcing this law, it is tantamount to nonfeasence in office. If they are doing it to protect someone from facing charges for violating the law, this is malfeasance as well as obstruction of justice.
The was a young man in the navy who wanted to show his family and friends where he worked. He took photos of the inside of a submarine. Photos that contained classified info. No criminal intent, but he was prosecuted, convicted and is spending years in prison despite no criminal intent. Hillary’s crime was many times worse.
Bzzt, you lose.
(Note: Do NOT bring up cases prosecuted by DOD, or you automatically lose. DOD is not DOJ, and its policies were irrelevant.)
So you’re saying the FBI can effectively nullify laws passed by Congress? When did the FBI develop the policy that authorized it to determine whether or not a prosecution would follow an investigation? Isn’t that the purview of the DOJ?
Beyond that, even if the FBI regularly made such recommendations, wouldn’t the DOJ, looking at the evidence and the law (a law that requires no “intent”) still have an obligation to prosecute because of the obligation imposed upon it by Congress (statute)? Wouldn’t it be up to a defendant to raise the question of “intent” and argue that the law was deficient or otherwise unenforceable for not requiring intent? I could understand it if the FBI and/or the DOJ refused to enforce a law they determined was unconstitutional, and their oaths prevented them from enforcing it, so long as their stance meant that it could not be enforced against anyone, ever. But this is not the case. No argument was put forward claiming the standard of “negligence” was in any way deficient or inadequate.
Prosecutors always form their own view of the law before ever putting it to a judge. If they all decide a law is not enforceable, no judge will ever get to say that it is.
Yes, that’s because he was part of the conspiracy. Mob lawyers claim all sorts of stuff that can’t be backed up by law.
Everyone can see quite clearly that Comey just made up his rationale as he went. You have no leg to stand on.
You’re talking out of your @$$, Milhouse. The DoD and DoJ don’t have different “policies.” DoD prosecutes people under the law, Milhouse, with full respect for the accused’s rights just the same as DoD. For starters it would have been the exact same law.
“18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information”
The military court system operates in parallel with civilian federal courts. A servicemember would have been tried at a general court martial. Then should the servicemember recieve a sentence involving a negative discharge or imprisonment of at least a year (violation of this Espionage Act law is a felony, so that’s a given) would have received an automatic appeal to their specific service branch’s Court of Criminal Appeals.
Failing that the next step would be to appeal the conviction to the United States Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces. And the final court of appeal for service member is the United States Supreme Court.
The same as for the the civilian federal court system.
It’s the exact same law being enforced. And it’s the exact same policy; the law must be constitutional. And since there have been several successful prosecutions under 18 U.S. Code § 793 – f which only requires gross negligence Comey was simply lying when he verbally rewrote the statute and declared the gross negligence standard unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court didn’t find the gross negligence standard unconstitutional. Otherwise the SCOTUS, the final arbiter of what is or what is not an unconstitutional law and certainly not the role of the FBI director, would not have let those convictions stand.
BZZZT, you lose.
The fix was in from the start.
“The Supreme Court didn’t find the gross negligence standard unconstitutional. Otherwise the SCOTUS, the final arbiter of what is or what is not an unconstitutional law and certainly not the role of the FBI director, would not have let those convictions stand.”
You can no more deprive a military member of their constitutional rights than a civilian of theirs. The Supreme Court has upheld or allowed to stand the convictions of military members under a standard that Comey claimed was unconstitutional.
Again, you are talking out of your @$$ when you claim that the DoD and DoJ have different “policies.” What do you imagine you’re talking about when you say that? That the final court of appeal, the SCOTUS, can decide the law is constitutional for Sailors or Marines on one hand but not for Secretaries of State on the other?
The Constitution doesn’t work that way.
Comey was appointed by Obama. I’d be shocked if the man demonstrated integrity. And, how many Comey clones are still in the FBI polluting the agency?
Comey has been at FBI/DOJ for years. Obdumbo’s appointment is irrelevant.
Prior to his exposure as a fraud, he had a spotless DC reputation as a “straight shooter” which no longer exists.
Spot: Went behind the back of Ashcroft and worked with Mueller to suspend the ‘enhanced interrogation’ program of the Bush administration. (later renegotiated to be less severe)
Spot: Went the extra mile during the Bush administration to cast doubt on Bush’s release of eight US attorneys.
Hang on a second. Mr. Comey was the DOJ attorney who reviewed the Marc Rich pardon, and found it perfectly legal and on the up-and-up. That right there should signal his lack of integrity. Drain the swamp. Lock him up. Or just deprive him of his pension.
I thought Eric Holder was the pardon attorney who facilitated the Marc Rich pardon…?
On the front end, then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was the shepherd of that project, piloting it to completion. Once done, another Federal prosecutor was reviewing the pardon. She stepped down. Comey, who had once led the team working to charge and convict Rich, ended up with no legal objections to the pardon once given.
Oh, so I was correct, Eric Holder fucked that up by nominating Rich, and then Comey confirmed that fuckup.
Thanks for clarifying.
There are a lot of them.
That’s what makes it a “swamp”.
No, it didn’t. It claimed it had, but nothing in the memos backed that up.
No memo required to know with absolute certainty it was planned.
I’m actually leaning on the ‘unplanned’ end of probability. Perhaps planned on Bill Clinton’s end, but Lynch would have needed to be a blithering idiot to agree to a meeting with the husband of the target of an ongoing red-hot investigation. Nobody’s that dumb.
Lynch was/is an “blithering idiot,” and Comey probably arranged it.
DOJ tarmac meetings are operative for secrecy reasons – no surveillance.
From photo and video recaps, Phoenix Democrat Mayor Greg Stanton was on or near the plane.
He should probably be subpoenaed.
Does this mean you are willing to claim, that in matters of the Clintons, Lynch is not a blithering fool? These two individuals have lives too tightly scheduled to have their meeting be a coincidence.
Your question is nonsensical.
She is covering for him, and he was covering for apparently a whole host of others.
Are you seeking naivite, or just browsing?
Not really; there was a very good chance that nobody would ever find out. It’s only by chance that it did become public.
And if she were really cautious, when he showed up on her plane she should have refused to see him.
“Not really; there was a very good chance that nobody would ever find out. It’s only by chance that it did become public.”
This is not an argument for “unplanned.” Belief that the meeting would remain unnoticed is completely neutral. If Clinton “ambushed” Lynch, he did so believing it would go unnoticed. If they planned the meeting, they did so believing it would go unnoticed. Neither of them would have contemplated the meeting (as it was conducted) had they thought it would be noticed. Either or both would have made another, more covert, plan.
No, of course not. Why would you think it was? Look what it’s responding to. It’s an argument against “she’d have to have been a blithering idiot to have planned this”. She wouldn’t, because there was a high chance of getting away with it. So it’s entirely possible that the meeting was planned, but there is no evidence of this; the only reason anyone thinks it was is because ACLJ publicly claimed that this bombshell emerged from the memos they recently received, but the excerpts they published to back their claim up don’t do that. They’re lying liars who lie, and they’re leading all of you by the nose.
Uhh, Lynch wasn’t trying to be discreet.
Again, the fix was in. This should have been obvious, though. There’s no way you could interview the possible target of an investigation on a Sunday and issue a report clearing her on the next Tuesday.
I recognize that anybody can say anything on the internet. But I’ve been involved in a couple of these investigations. They always widen. It’s inevitable because as you investigate you develop leads. Such as violations of the Federal Records Act or obstruction of justice. I’ve never seen an investigation involving wiped servers, smashed blackberries, or mobile devices surrendered without SIM cards. It’s clear that when Comey was bragging to Congress about his personal interest in the case, his personnel interest only extended to making sure nothing came of it.
Actual investigations always widen. Comey rode herd on this one to remain certain it didn’t.
If you don’t believe me, just watch the contrast to how the Trump investigation goes compared to the Hillary! investigation. The FBI will continue to have no interest in the face of the obvious evidence that Hillary! destroyed everything from Blackberries to servers to obstruct justice. But Mueller will investigate everything Trump may have said or done back to the 1970s.
That’s as may be, but the claim that the memos provided proof for this was false.
And what non-redacted memo text have you seen in this matter?
I’ve seen the material ACLJ released, which is the supposed basis for their claim; it doesn’t support the claim.
Oh, so you’ve seen the redacted memos in this and the other cases?
Stop lying, prick.
I’ve seen what ACLJ published. That’s all I have to see, since it alone forms the basis for the claim. I express no opinion on whether the meeting was in fact planned; for all I or ACLJ know it may have been, but when ACLJ claims to have proved it the’re lying, and so are you.
Comey is a crook.
Lock Him Up!
Comey is in serious legal jeopardy right now, and Wray and Sessions are on the immediate hook to explain how this happened in their institution.
“Comey is in serious legal jeopardy right now”
I’d like to think so, but I doubt that he’ll get anything worse than a scathing Twitter tantrum from Trump, whose State and Justice depts are still fighting release of materials relevant to these matters. Trump’s in on this, too, just like the denizens of the swamp that he claimed he’d drain.
The ramification from this revelation is that Mueller should have a much more difficult task in charging Trump with obstruction in firing Comey –
Comey is not only unreliable, he was in on the obstruction.
Further, he was very likely in on the Phoenix tarmac meeting, and if it can be shown he arranged that via unredacted document discovery, he is about to go to jail for a very long time.
I want to know how many people Comey gave immunity to after he drafted that memo?
Has anyone FOIA’d the flight logs of Lynch, Clinton, Clinton 2, Comey, McCabe, and others leading up to this legal disaster?
Bottom line: it that scummy, treasonous cankle-carrying sleazebag clinton is not indicted before she drops dead, the fact of their being a two tier justice system will not be subject to debate.
Sessions: your legacy is beginning to look like this: you suck – you are the mcconnell/ryan/boehner oof AGs.
Very credible. After all we all know what the narrative is. If it doesn’t fit, make it!
The argument that the DOJ has never prosecuted an employee for a violation of security protocol the likes of which Sec. Clinton seems guilty of is, I believe, inconsequential.
Okay so the DOJ has never prosecuted an employee. But Sec. Clinton wasn’t a DOJ employee and the State Dept. does have a history of suspending and revoking security credintials. State Dept has sought prosecution of rouge employees. So is the issue that the State Dept IG should’ve taken the lead and not the DOJ? Moreover the inconsistent application of prosecuting violations has been on going for years and the DOJ had a great opportunity to address it, with crystal clear evidence, and they punted. Why?
IMO, saying the DOJ never prosecuted an employee is a cute trick. The DOJ and Dir. Comey are aware that people have been prosecuted. Isn’t that what legal precident rest on, that it has occurred before regardless of the jurisdiction?
When did the State Dept. seek prosecution of red employees? Isn’t that racist?
It’s got nothing to do with whether the person is a DOJ employee. DOJ doesn’t prosecute cases where there was no clear criminal intent. Its policy has been that such cases are not prosecutable. Since the FBI works for DOJ, it’s bound by the policy. More importantly, even if it didn’t work for DOJ it would still have to take that policy into account when making recommendations to the DOJ.
Is it your position that HRC’s actions do not show clear and convincing evidence of criminal intent?
I have to agree with moonmoth, here.
HRC was instructed on the law regarding dissemination of classified material, as well as all of the regulations regarding the storage of such material. Yet, she clearly and unequivocally violated those laws and regulations knowingly. There was no evidence that the storage and dissemination of classified material was an accident or that she had no knowledge that this illicit server existed in her home. So, even if the DOJ wants to argue that it needs evidence of intent to violated the law, something which does not exist within the law nor which any court has indicated is necessary for prosecution, there is still more that sufficient evidence that HRC intended to violate the laws and restrictions regarding storage and dissemination of classified material.
Her only defense was the incompetent boob defense. Which we know rarely works out for any defendant.
So this is what the NYT answers with (via MSN):
There’s a world of difference, however, that the NYT believes (probably correctly) that its base won’t care about.
Okay, could you tell me the policy number or where I can find the directive within the DOJ that intent must be part found to prosecute. I’m not an attorney (I did play one once in a stage play – summer workshop – and I have stayed at a LaQuinta Inn. . .). I looked through the DOJ prosecution handbook (9-27.000 – Principles Of Federal Prosecution) and maybe I missed it. Is there a pamplet, training manual, standard operating procedure or memorandum that directs prosecutors to only file charges if there exist evidence of criminal intent?
1. Judicial Watch filed suit Friday in conjunction with retired 30 year FBI veteran supervisory special agent Jeffrey Danik seeking records concerning FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/retired-fbi-special-sues-justice-department-records-top-fbi-official-ties-top-clinton-ally/
2. Andy McCarthy at NRO explains how COmey actually didn’t make the decision to exonerate Hillary, Obama did – http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/451053/not-comeys-decision-exonerate-hillary-obamas-decision
The Comey revelation and Grassley letter and demand for unredacted docs is very significant. We will see where it leads.