The FBI released documents Monday proving former FBI Director James Comey began drafting a letter regarding Hillary Clinton’s email investigation months before conducting several key interviews, including speaking to Clinton herself.
The credibility of the FBI is in doubt after two major allegations of misconduct arose in the same week. President Trump took to Twitter early this morning and, in a series of tweets, accused fired FBI Director James Comey of fixing the investigation into failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many..” the President tweeted, continuing, “…people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn’t do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation throughout the 2016 presidential election for relying on a private email server for official government business while heading the State Department.
In July 2016, then-FBI Director Comey testified before Congress that Clinton’s use of a private server was “extremely careless,” but he contended it would be almost impossible to secure a conviction, and he announced the close of the investigation.
“As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!” President Trump said in a follow-up tweet.
As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!Advertisements
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2017
On Monday, the FBI released a document titled, “Drafts of Director Comey’s July 5, 2016 Statement Regarding Email Server Investigation Part 01 of 01.” The document reveals former FBI Director Comey discussing his July 5 statement, where he planned to exonerate Hillary Clinton, as early as May 2, as reported by Fox News. However, most of the information has now been redacted by the FBI.
James Comey sent an email on May 2, 2016 to his chief of staff James Rybicki, general counsel James Baker, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, all of whom still serve in the Justice Department.
By May 16, Rybicki replied to the draft. “Please send me any comments on this statement so we may roll into a master doc for discussion with the Director at a future date. Thanks, Jim,” he said.
Details of the documents were first hinted at by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who serve as chair and a member, respectively, of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Senators say they learned of the existence of the email from Justice Department aides, leading them to launch an investigation to uncover the email.
Knowledge of the email arose during the Judiciary Committee investigation of President Trump’s decision to fire the former FBI director.
In a joint statement, Senators Grassley and Graham wrote: “it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. That was long before FBI agents finished their work…The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts.”
However, the existence of the email stands in sharp contrast to Comey’s Senate testimony in July 2017. When he announced the end of the investigation, Comey usurped the authority of the Attorney General. The FBI is allowed to recommend a course of action, but it is ultimately up to the Attorney General to decide whether or not to prosecute.
While testifying before the Senate, Comey explained that he usurped the authority of the Attorney General Loretta Lynch after Lynch was caught meeting with Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, in a now-infamous tarmac meeting.
According to Comey, due to the specter of conflict of interest, he was forced to step in and “credibly” close the case.
Yet, according to documents from the FBI, Comey was planning to announce the end of the case at least a month before Loretta Lynch met former President Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix.