FBI: “Lack of Public Interest” in Clinton Emails Justifies Withholding Documents

Last year while still serving as FBI Director, James Comey began writing a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton, before all witnesses in the investigation — including Clinton herself — had been interviewed.

The Comey memos which were obtained by The Senate Judiciary Committee as part of its investigation into his firing by President Donald Trump, which occurred on May 9, 2017.

The revelation that James Comey had started drafting memos of his exoneration statement comes from transcripts of interviews given last fall by two FBI officials.

James Rybicki, who served as Comey’s chief of staff, and Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel of national security and cyberlaw at the FBI, gave the interviews as part of an investigation conducted by the Office of Special Counsel into the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

In a July 5, 2016, press conference, Comey said that he would not be recommending any charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information despite her use of a private email server as secretary of state under Obama. (Related: Hannity, DotCom, Assange, Rep. Rohrabacher – Assange Could Be Pardoned For Info About DNC Leak Source)

While the transcripts of those interviews are incredibly redacted, they indicate that James Comey started working on an announcement clearing Clinton in April or May of last year, before the FBI interviewed 17 witnesses in the case, including Clinton herself and some of her top aides.

Hillary Clinton was interviewed for several hours on July 2, just three days before Jim Comey’s announcement.

In a letter to the FBI, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also noted that Comey’s draft was prepared even before two Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, had reached what the two Republicans called a “highly unusual” immunity deal with the Justice Department. (Related: GOP Congressman Met With Assange: WikiLeaks’ To Reveal Proof Russia Didn’t Hack the DNC)

The limited immunity deal prohibited investigators and prosecutors from asking about conversations between the two Clinton aides and Platte River Networks, a Denver-based tech firm that maintained Clinton’s server after she left the State Department.

Senators Grassley and Graham questioned whether James Comey could have conducted a complete and impartial investigation if he had already made a conclusion about the outcome before all of the information in the case had been collected. (Related: Highly Placed NSA Whistleblower: Russian ‘Hack’ of DNC Server an ‘Outright Lie’)

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation,” Grassley and South Graham wrote the FBI. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”

“The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts,” they added.

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