If you were wanting to get to the bottom of a problem or were seeking answers to an issue, do you draw your conclusion and then gather the details and facts? Apparently, this is how the FBI conducts investigations…if you’re a Democrat.
Fired FBI Director James Comey drafted a statement to announce the conclusion in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server before the FBI interviewed key witnesses, including Hillary Clinton herself, top Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee claim.
Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, reached that conclusion from transcripts of interviews with people close to Comey and provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC). Those transcripts, the Republicans said in a Thursday letter to current FBI Director Chris Wray, show Comey had already drafted a conclusion for his investigation before interviewing 17 key witnesses, including Clinton, and before the DOJ had reached immunity agreements with former Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.
Comey’s suddenthat there would be no charges in the Clinton investigation — despite his sharp criticisms of the former presidential candidate — threw a wrench in an already-tumultuous election cycle.
“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation,” the senators said in their letter to Wray. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”
What’s even more troubling is that this wasn’t simply based upon the Clinton’s relationship with James Comey in the past. It wasn’t history repeating itself. James Comey closed his case against Bill Clinton granting clemency to 4 individuals who swindled the government out of tens of millions of dollars, which was arranged by Hillary herself. Of course, in that case, similar results ensued. No charges filed.
What’s interesting is that this collusion was between former President Obama himself.
The news appears in a letter written to new FBI Director Christopher Wray by two senior Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans, Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham. Pundits and the Trump administration are shrieking because this indicates the decision to give the Democrats’ nominee a pass was clearly made long before the investigation was over, and even long before key witnesses, including Clinton herself, were interviewed.
Let’s think about what else was going on in April 2016. I’ve written about it a number of times over the last year-plus, such as in a column a few months back:
On April 10, 2016, President Obama publicly stated that Hillary Clinton had shown “carelessness” in using a private e-mail server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the [criminal statutes relevant to her e-mail scandal]). The president acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, its importance had been vastly overstated.
On July 5, 2016, FBI director James Comey publicly stated that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in using a private email server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The director acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, it was just a small percentage of the emails involved.
Obama’s April statements are the significant ones. They told us how this was going to go. The rest is just details.
In his April 10 comments, Obama made the obvious explicit: He did not want the certain Democratic nominee, the candidate he was backing to succeed him, to be indicted. Conveniently, his remarks (inevitably echoed by Comey) did not mention that an intent to endanger national security was not an element of the criminal offenses Clinton was suspected of committing – in classic Obama fashion, he was urging her innocence of a strawman crime while dodging any discussion of the crimes she had actually committed.
As we also now know – but as Obama knew at the time – the president himself had communicated with Clinton over her non-secure, private communications system, using an alias. The Obama administration refused to disclose these several e-mail exchanges because they undoubtedly involve classified conversations between the president and his secretary of state. It would not have been possible to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified information without its being clear that President Obama had engaged in the same conduct. The administration was never, ever going to allow that to happen.
What else was going on in May 2016, while Comey was drafting his findings (even though several of the things he would purportedly “base” them on hadn’t actually happened yet)? Well, as I explained in real time (in a column entitled “Clinton E-mails: Is the Fix In?”), the Obama Justice Department was leaking to the Washington Post that Clinton probably would not be charged – and that her top aide, Cheryl Mills, was considered a cooperating witness rather than a co-conspirator.
Why? Well, I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but it turns out the Obama Justice Department had fully adopted the theory of the case announced by President Obama in April. The Post explained that, according to its sources inside the investigation, there was “scant evidence tying Clinton to criminal wrongdoing” because there was “scant evidence that Clinton had malicious intent in [the] handling of e-mails” (emphasis added). Like Obama, the Post and its sources neglected to mention that Mrs. Clinton’s felonies did not require proof of “malicious intent” or any purpose to harm the United States – just that she willfully transmitted classified information, was grossly negligent in handling it, and withheld or destroyed government records.
This was the start of a series of Justice Department shenanigans we would come to learn about: Cutting off key areas of inquiry; cutting inexplicable immunity deals; declining to use the grand jury to compel evidence; agreeing to limit searches of computers (in order to miss key time-frames when obstruction occurred); agreeing to destroy physical evidence (laptop computers); failing to charge and squeeze witnesses who made patently false statements; allowing subjects of the investigation to act as lawyers for other subjects of the investigation (in order to promote the charade that some evidence was off-limits due to the attorney-client privilege); and so on. There is a way – a notoriously aggressive way – that the Justice Department and FBI go about their business when they are trying to make a case. Here, they were trying to unmake a case.
We should be extremely concerned that the left was able to conduct this type of corruption and to use the federal policing authority to cover the entire thing up. We should also be troubled that they are now vilifying the removal of the head of that agency, which certainly seems to have been a wise decision after all.