“…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.
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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