The July 5,2016 statement by James Comey declining to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information never passed the smell test.

After Comey spent 15 minutes laying out, in brutal detail, all of Hillary’s misdeeds and lies, Comey abruptly determined that no prosecution was warranted because no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges. Yet that wasn’t Comey’s decision to make as FBI Director, it was a decision for the prosecutors at DOJ.

Since then, we know that the investigation of Hillary was not bona fide, and certainly not what would have been conducted as to an average citizen. It has come out that the initial draft of Comey’s statement was drafted almost two months before the July 5 public statement, and before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses, including Hillary. The timing of the interview of Hillary being held just days prior to Comey’s statement raised suspicions that the interview was perfunctory and for show, and the timing of the drafting supports that view.

Now it comes out that the edits by unknown persons to the initial draft substantially toned down the findings as to Hillary. Fox News reports, Comey edits revealed: Remarks on Clinton probe were watered down, documents show:

Newly released documents obtained by Fox News reveal that then-FBI Director James Comey’s draft statement on the Hillary Clinton email probe was edited numerous times before his public announcement, in ways that seemed to water down the bureau’s findings considerably.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to the FBI on Thursday that shows the multiple edits to Comey’s highly scrutinized statement.

In an early draft, Comey said it was “reasonably likely” that “hostile actors” gained access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account. That was changed later to say the scenario was merely “possible.”

Another edit showed language was changed to describe the actions of Clinton and her colleagues as “extremely careless” as opposed to “grossly negligent.” This is a key legal distinction.

Johnson, writing about his concerns in a letter Thursday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, said the original “could be read as a finding of criminality in Secretary Clinton’s handling of classified material.”

He added, “The edited statement deleted the reference to gross negligence – a legal threshold for mishandling classified material – and instead replaced it with an exculpatory sentence.”

The edits also showed that references to specific potential violations of statutes on “gross negligence” regarding classified information and “misdemeanor handling” were removed.

The final statement also removed a reference to the “sheer volume” of classified information discussed on email.

“While the precise dates of the edits and identities of the editors are not apparent from the documents, the edits appear to change the tone and substance of Director Comey’s statement in at least three respects,” Johnson wrote Thursday.

The revelation about these edits, long before the evidence was gathered, is particularly troubling in light of evidence that one of the key investigators, Peter Strzok, harbored severe anti-Trump views, as revealed in text messages.

The whole thing smelled bad on July 5, 2016, and now it stinks.

Jeff Sessions needs to order DOJ and the FBI to reopen the investigation. Whether there are grounds to prosecute Hillary never has been legitimately determined by the FBI and DOJ. It’s time for that process to see itself through untainted.