FBI di­rec­tor says probe into Clinton’s email closed for good

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DINAN

FBI Di­rec­tor James B. Comey said he is not go­ing to re­open the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Hil­lary Clinton’s emails, telling Congress on last Wed­nes­day that none of the re­cent rev­e­la­tions since he closed the case in July “would come near” to trig­ger­ing that ex­tra­or­di­nary step.

He also re­fused to say if he’s in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Mrs. Clinton lied in her tes­ti­mony to Congress about her emails — but he added that his agency has re­ceived re­fer­rals from Congress ask­ing for a new probe.

Ap­pear­ing be­fore Congress for yet another marathon ses­sion, Mr. Comey was bad­gered by Repub­li­cans who said the more they see, the less they un­der­stand his de­ci­sion to clear Mrs. Clinton of crim­i­nal wrong­do­ing in her mis­han­dling of clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

The di­rec­tor in July said she did bun­gle top-se­cret in­for­ma­tion, but he added that he couldn’t make charges stick be­cause he couldn’t prove she was so­phis­ti­cated enough to know the risks she was run­ning, or even to un­der­stand the clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem in which she was a key player. De­spite new rev­e­la­tions that one of her con­trac­tors said he was part of a “coverup op­er­a­tion,” Mr. Comey said noth­ing he has seen leads him to ques­tion his orig­i­nal con­clu­sions.

“I haven’t seen any­thing that would come near to that kind of sit­u­a­tion,” he said. “I know there’s lots of ques­tions, lots of con­tro­versy. I’m very proud of the way this was done.”

He did, how­ever, dis­pute Mrs. Clinton’s claim that he had deemed her “truth­ful” in her pub­lic ex­pla­na­tions of her emails.

“I did not,” Mr. Comey said flatly, say­ing that wasn’t his job.

Mr. Comey was tes­ti­fy­ing to the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee on his agency’s op­er­a­tions, but most of the ques­tions — par­tic­u­larly from Repub­li­cans — re­lated to Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

Law­mak­ers have re­cently taken a look at the im­mu­nity agree­ments granted to some of the sub­jects of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing Mrs. Clinton’s top per­sonal aide, Ch­eryl Mills, and de­manded to know what in­ves­ti­ga­tors were think­ing.

Mr. Comey said it was Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyers, not FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who granted im­mu­nity.

In the case of Ms. Mills, he said, they wanted to get a look at any Clinton emails she had on her lap­top, so they of­fered her “act of pro­duc­tion im­mu­nity,” mean­ing she couldn’t be pros­e­cuted for any­thing they found on the com­puter.

“This looks like [an] or­di­nary in­ves­tiga­tive process to me,” he said.

He also de­fended al­low­ing Ms. Mills, a sub­ject of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, to sit in as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer when FBI agents in­ter­viewed the for­mer State Depart­ment sec­re­tary and cur­rent Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee in July.

While ad­mit­ting it was un­prece­dented in his ex­pe­ri­ence, he said his agents had no power to ex­clude any­one Mrs. Clinton wanted to bring — par­tic­u­larly since Ms. Mills was act­ing as one of her lawyers.

Rep. John Rat­cliffe, Texas Repub­li­can, said al­low­ing Ms. Mills and Heather Sa­muel­son, another Clinton lawyer granted im­mu­nity, to sit in sug­gested that a de­ci­sion had al­ready been made to clear Mrs. Clinton.

“To me, the only way that an in­ter­view takes place with two cen­tral wit­nesses and the sub­ject of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is if the de­ci­sion has al­ready been made that all three peo­ple in that room are not go­ing to be charged,” the con­gress­man said.

Repub­li­cans said the FBI’s han­dling of the case is dent­ing the re­spect the coun­try holds for the sto­ried G-men. “That is not the FBI that I used to work with,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Repub­li­can and a for­mer pros­e­cu­tor. Mr. Comey bris­tled at those words. “I hope some day, when this po­lit­i­cal crazi­ness is over, you will look back again on this, be­cause this is the FBI you know and love,” he said. “This was done by pros in the right way.”

Mr. Comey said his agents al­ready knew most of the in­for­ma­tion that has come out in re­cent weeks that has shocked Repub­li­cans and fed their calls for re­open­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. In­deed, it was the FBI’s in­ves­tiga­tive notes that made much of it pub­lic.

The one piece of in­for­ma­tion he said he hadn’t been made aware of be­fore was a com­mu­ni­ca­tion in which one of Mrs. Clinton’s tech con­trac­tors, Paul Com­betta, called the dele­tion of her emails a “coverup op­er­a­tion” in a post­ing on in­ter­net chat board Red­dit.com.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.