Clinton Email Investigation

May 4, 2018 – Comey’s memo leak contact works at FBI for over a year and defends him in media on Clinton probe

Daniel Richman (Credit: Fox News)

(…) “Government transcripts indicate Richman was sent talking points about the FBI’s handling of the Clinton investigation. Those talking points attempted to compare and contrast Clinton’s use of an unsecured personal server exclusively for government business with the case of retired Gen. David Petraeus, who shared classified information with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell, as well as the case brought against the late Sandy Berger. The former national security adviser under President Clinton pleaded guilty to the unauthorized removal and retention of classified material from the National Archives.

Since Richman’s time at the bureau, Republican lawmakers have taken interest in his role – specifically in helping Comey leak the contents of at least one memo documenting his private discussions with President Trump to the media, after Richman left the bureau. Richman first emerged last year during Senate testimony as the former FBI director’s contact for getting that information out to the media, to kick-start the Russia special counsel investigation.”

(…) “In an email, Fox News asked Richman a series of questions about his work for Comey as an SGE, including if he worked unpaid between June 2015 and February 2017, and if he engaged with the media about the Clinton email case or other bureau matters at the request of FBI personnel including Comey.

Fox News also asked whether Richman volunteered to media outlets that he was working for Comey as a special government employee when he gave interviews about the Clinton probe. Richman did not respond Wednesday to the email questions. The FBI also has not responded to questions submitted Wednesday by Fox News.

During his Senate Intelligence Committee testimony in June 2017, after his firing, Comey did not volunteer that Richman was also an FBI employee. During a recent interview on Fox News, Comey said “it wasn’t relevant” because Richman left the FBI in February 2017. Comey said he had no other special government employees, and Richman’s job dealt with terrorist communications as well as law enforcement data.” (Read more: Fox News, 5/03/2018)

April 29, 2018 – Graham calls for special probe into DOJ corruption; says Clinton email probe ‘a joke’

Lindsey Graham appears with Maria Bartiromo on April 29, 2018. (Credit: Fox News)

“Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday called for an investigation into corruption within the Department of Justice, while slamming former FBI Director James Comey and the Clinton email investigation.

“We should have a special counsel looking at DOJ corruption, looking at how the [Steele] dossier was given to the court,” Graham, R-S.C., told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Comey had a bias against President Trump when the former FBI director said he turned over an unclassified memo to a friend with the intent of getting it to The New York Times.

Comey, while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee last summer, said he leaked accounts of the conversations he had with Trump, hoping it would lead to the appointment of a special counsel.

“He made a decision … to try to press the system to appoint a special counsel. If that doesn’t show a motivation and a bias against President Trump, I don’t know what would,” Graham said.” (Video: Fox News, 4/29/2018)

April 25, 2018 – Judicial Watch: New Clinton Emails Reveal Classified Docs, Clinton Foundation Connections

Judicial Watch Logo (Credit: public domain)

Judicial Watch today released 281 pages of newly uncovered emails of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the U.S. Department of State sent and received over her unsecure, non-“state.gov” email system. The emails, dated 2010 through 2013, contain classified information and detail collusion between the Clinton State Department and the Clinton Foundation.

Ten emails contain classified information redacted “in the interest of national defense or foreign policy,” including confidential sources, and concern Israel and the Middle East. Most of the emails include exchanges with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The emails show Hillary Clinton conducted classified and sensitive negotiations about the Israel-Arab conflict on her unsecure, non-governmental server.

  • A document labeled “plan” was completely redacted as classified.
  • A November 2012 email chain discusses the “Mid East” and includes then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan, Blair as “aclb” and Clinton.
  • Another November 2012 email chain discusses the “Mid East” and includes Sullivan, Clinton’s office manager Claire Coleman, Blair and Clinton.
  • A November 2012 email chain fully redacted is titled “Mid East Peace” and includes Blair, Clinton, Obama’s Special Envoy to the Middle East David Hale as “haledm2@state.gov,” Sullivan and Blair’s Chief of Staff and former Downing Street aide Catherine Rimmer.
  • In an April 2011 email exchange between Blair, Clinton and Sullivan concerning “Israel,” Blair says he “had another long session with BB [Netanyahu].”
  • A May 2011 exchange concerns “Israel” and includes Blair, Clinton and Sullivan.
  • A May 2011 email concerns “Palestinians” and includes Blair, Clinton and Sullivan. Blair says, “I’ve also sent you a paper.”
  • A June 2011 email regarding “Israel” includes Blair, Sullivan and Clinton. Blair says, “Saw Israeli PM. Put the concept of a Q statement. He was receptive. Palestinians interested too. I know there are discussions also you guys are having. And the French initiative….”
  • In a July 2011 email – with several national security redactions – written by Blair to Clinton and Sullivan, Blair says, “I saw BB….. Molcho [chief negotiator in the Israeli negotiating team with the Palestinians] will speak to David Hale. I can see Cameron and Sarkozy with David…. I saw Egyptians….”
  • A September 2010 email exchange is titled “Info for you,” and includes Sullivan, Blair and Clinton. Blair writes that he just spent three hours with Netanyahu, and Sullivan, using his Sprint BlackBerry, he writes “We have pitched this to [redacted].”

These new classified and other emails appear to be among those that Clinton had attempted to delete or had otherwise failed to disclose. The documents are part of the November 2017 accelerated schedule of production ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg. The State Department must now complete processing the remaining documents by September 28, 2018. There were 72,000 pages recovered by the FBI in its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server. The State Department’s original production rate would have put the completion date into 2020.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 04/25/2018)

April 19, 2018 – New emails bolster GOP claims of FBI, DOJ ‘coordination’ on Clinton case response

“Emails reviewed by Fox News from February 2016 suggest the FBI and DOJ worked together to craft a response to a key development in the Hillary Clinton email investigation, amid newly raised Republican concerns about a “concerning level of coordination” between the two agencies during the probe.

The emails concern the period after 22 messages with “Top Secret” information were found on the former secretary of state’s personal email server.

Republican Rep. Mark Meadows cited them in a letter earlier this week claiming former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress – in which he downplayed FBI-DOJ coordination on the Clinton case – may be at odds with documents suggesting “frequent” coordination.

Comey specifically said in public testimony that he did not coordinate with the DOJ for his July 2016 public recommendation not to pursue charges against Clinton. Meadows, however, pointed to a series of messages he claims indicate potential coordination at several “crucial moments of the investigation” – including the July statement and the period in February. While the FBI is part of the Justice Department and communication between the two agencies is inevitable, Meadows’ letter also suggests some at the FBI were concerned about the perception it was not acting independently in a politically explosive case.” (Read more: Fox News, 04/19/2018)

April 16, 2018 – Comey: Obama And Lynch “Jeopardized” Clinton Email Investigation

(Credit: Public Domain)

“Comey called out Obama and Lynch in his new book, A Higher Loyalty, set to come out on Tuesday. In it, he defends the FBI’s top brass and counterintelligence investigators charged with probing Clinton’s use of a private email server and mishandling of classified information, reports the Washington Examiner, which received an advanced copy.”

Comey says that multiple public statements made by Obama about the investigation “jeopardized” the credibility of the FBI investigation – seemingly absolving Clinton of any crime before FBI investigators were able to complete their work.

“Contributing to this problem, regrettably, was President Obama. He had jeopardized the Department of Justice’s credibility in the investigation by saying in a 60 Minutes interview on Oct. 11, 2015, that Clinton’s email use was “a mistake” that had not endangered national security,” Comey writes. “Then on Fox News on April 10, 2016, he said that Clinton may have been careless but did not do anything to intentionally harm national security, suggesting that the case involved overclassification of material in the government.”

“President Obama is a very smart man who understands the law very well. To this day, I don’t know why he spoke about the case publicly and seemed to absolve her before a final determination was made. If the president had already decided the matter, an outside observer could reasonably wonder, how on earth could his Department of Justice do anything other than follow his lead.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 4/16/2018)

Zero Hedge reports, “Comey also describes a September 2015 meeting with AG Lynch in which she asked him to describe the Clinton email investigation as a “matter” instead of an investigation.

“It occurred to me in the moment that this issue of semantics was strikingly similar to the fight the Clinton campaign had waged against the New York Times in July. Ever since then, the Clinton team had been employing a variety of euphemisms to avoid using the word ‘investigation,’” Comey writes.

“The attorney general seemed to be directing me to align with the Clinton campaign strategy. Her “just do it” response to my question indicated that she had no legal or procedural justification for her request, at least not one grounded in our practices or traditions. Otherwise, I assume, she would have said so.

Comey said others present in the meeting with Lynch thought her request was odd and political as well – including one of the DOJ’s senior leaders.

“I know the FBI attendees at our meeting saw her request as overtly political when we talked about it afterward. So did at least one of Lynch’s senior leaders. George Toscas, then the number-three person in the department’s National Security Division and someone I liked, smiled at the FBI team as we filed out, saying sarcastically, “well you are the Federal Bureau of Matters,” Comey recalled.”  (Read more: Zero Hedge, 4/16/2018)

February 15, 2018 – Another longtime Comey aide, Michael Kortan leaving FBI

Michael Kortan (Credit: FBI/Reuters)

“The longtime head of public affairs at the FBI — who was a confidant of former director James Comey — is planning to retire, Fox News has learned.

A notice went out this week for a retirement get-together for Michael Kortan scheduled for Feb. 15. Since 2009, Kortan has served as assistant director for public affairs, an influential job that controlled media access. He also served under former director Robert Mueller, now leading the Russia probe.

(…) It’s unclear whether the retirement was long-planned or in any way precipitated by recent events. The FBI emphasized he was finishing 33 years of service.

“After Comey became director in September 2013, Kortan helped facilitate regular on-the-record briefings with beat reporters, a departure from previous directors.”

Kortan also was front and center during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and especially in July 2016 — coordinating media coverage and handing out copies of Comey’s public statement recommending against criminal charges in the investigation into mishandling of classified information.

Kortan joins a growing list of key officials leaving the FBI amid Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s probe into the bureau’s Clinton email investigation. (Read more: Fox News, 2/08/2018)

February 7, 2018 – Interim Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Report: The Clinton Email Scandal and the FBI’s Investigation of It

Senator Ron Johnson (Credit: Getty Images)

“U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a majority staff report Wednesday titled “The Clinton Email Scandal And The FBI’s Investigation Of It,” along with text messages between two agents that shed light on the investigation. The report details the congressional investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s involvement with their investigation of Secretary Clinton’s private server.

The report outlines how information available to the committee at this time raises serious questions about how the FBI applied the rule of law in its investigation. The majority staff report found that:

  • The FBI did not use a grand jury to compel testimony and obtain the vast majority of evidence, choosing instead to offer immunity deals and allow fact witnesses to join key interviews.
  • There were substantial edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s public statement that served to downplay the severity of Secretary Clinton’s actions, and that the first draft of the memo was distributed for editing two months before key witnesses were interviewed.
  • Director Comey stated that he had not consulted with the Justice Department or White House, when text messages among FBI agents involved in the investigation suggest otherwise. Two key investigators discuss an “insurance policy” against the “risk” of a Trump presidency, and “OUR task.”
  • Messages discuss “unfinished business,” “an investigation leading to impeachment,” and “my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.” The messages strongly underscore the need to obtain still-missing text messages and other information regarding the FBI’s actions and investigations into the Clinton email scandal and Russian involvement in the November 2016 election.
  • Senior FBI officials—likely including Deputy Director Andrew McCabe— knew about newly discovered emails on a laptop belonging to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner for almost a month before Director Comey notified Congress.

The full report can be found here.

The FBI text messages can be found here.

The letters Chairman Johnson has sent to various agencies and source documents can be found here.

(Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, 2/07/2018)

August, 2017 – Special counsel Robert Mueller removes Peter Strzok from his team of investigators

“It was revealed on Saturday that Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team in August after the Department of Justice’s inspector general discovered that he exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages with his mistress, an FBI lawyer named Lisa Page who also worked on the Mueller team.

Strzok was sent to the FBI’s human resources department. The circumstances of the demotion remained a mystery for several months, with Mueller’s office refusing to provide background information on the personnel move.

The revelation of Strzok’s biased texts is significant because of his central role in both the Russia investigation and the Clinton email probe. As the FBI’s No. 2 counter-terrorism official, Strzok helped start both of the investigations. He also conducted interviews with former national security adviser Michael Flynn in the Russia investigation and with Clinton and several of her top aides in the email inquiry.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 12/05/2017)

July 27, 2017 – The House Judiciary Committee makes a formal request to take a second look at the Clinton Foundation and email investigations

(Timeline editor’s note: While preparing this timeline entry, I discovered the links provided by Jeff Carlson to Rep. Goodlatte’s press release and letter, are no longer working links on the House Judiciary Committee website. I called Rep. Nadler’s office to ask why those documents are no longer available and they could not (or would not) give me an answer. With a little further searching, I was able to find the original letter in the Wayback Machine.) 

(A screenshot of my attempt to access Rep. Goodlatte’s press release and letter on the House Judiciary Committee website.)

“The House Judiciary Committee issued a press release on July 27, 2017, stating that a formal request for the appointment of a second Special Counsel has been made to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The actual letter may be viewed here.

The Judiciary Committee members were specific in their request. They are asking for investigation into the following:

The members call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate grave concerns such as former Attorney General Lynch’s directive to former FBI Director Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the investigation into former Secretary Clinton; the FBI and Justice Department’s investigative decisions related to the Clinton email investigation, including the immunity deals given to potential co-conspirators; selected leaks of classified information that unmasked U.S. persons incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community; and the FBI’s reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, among many others issues.

Fourteen specific topics of investigation are noted – many of which were asked previously but remain unanswered:

  1. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation;
  2. The shadow cast over our system of justice concerning Secretary Clinton and her involvement in mishandling classified information;
  3. FBI and DOJ’s investigative decisions related to former Secretary Clinton’s email investigation, including the propriety and consequence of immunity deals given to potential Clinton co-conspirators Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, John Bentel and possibly others;
  4. The apparent failure of DOJ to empanel a grand jury to investigate allegations of mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her associates;
  5. The Department of State and its employees’ involvement in determining which communications of Secretary Clinton’s and her associates to turn over for public scrutiny;
  6. WikiLeaks disclosures concerning the Clinton Foundation and its potentially unlawful international dealings;
  7. Connections between the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton Foundation, and foreign entities, including those from Russia and Ukraine;
  8. Mr. Comey’s knowledge of the purchase of Uranium One by the company Rosatom, whether the approval of the sale was connected to any donations made to the Clinton Foundation, and what role Secretary Clinton played in the approval of that sale that had national security ramifications;
  9. Disclosures arising from unlawful access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer systems, including inappropriate collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign;
  10. Post-election accusations by the President that he was wiretapped by the previous Administration, and whether Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch had any knowledge of efforts made by any federal agency to unlawfully monitor communications of then-candidate Trump or his associates;
  11. Selected leaks of classified information related to the unmasking of U.S. person identities incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community, including an assessment of whether anyone in the Obama Administration, including Mr. Comey, Ms. Lynch, Ms. Susan Rice, Ms. Samantha Power, or others, had any knowledge about the “unmasking” of individuals on then candidate-Trump’s campaign team, transition team, or both;
  12. Admitted leaks by Mr. Comey to Columbia University law professor, Daniel Richman, regarding conversations between Mr. Comey and President Trump, how the leaked information was purposefully released to lead to the appointment of a special counsel, and whether any classified information was included in the now infamous “Comey memos”;
  13. Mr. Comey’s and the FBI’s apparent reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, including the company’s creation of a “dossier” of information about Mr. Trump, that dossier’s commission and dissemination in the months before and after the 2016 election, whether the FBI paid anyone connected to the dossier, and the intelligence sources of Fusion GPS or any person or company working for Fusion GPS and its affiliates; and
  14. Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.

I have written previously about almost every one of these issues – including Comey’s TestimonyComey’s handling of the Clinton Investigation, the Clinton FoundationUranium OneUnmaskingObama’s Surveillance and the Russian Investigation.

They are all questions and topics that merit actual investigation.

The Committee’s questions fall into broader subgroups:

Hillary Clinton Investigation

Clinton Foundation

Surveillance

Unmasking of U.S. Citizens

FBI/Comey Collusion

Illegal Leaks

The final question pertains to Michael Schmidt, a New York Times reporter who has broken a number of stories on Trump-Russia as well as apparent leaks from Comey. You may find a complete listing of Schmidt’s articles here. Someone was whispering directly into his ear.

I’m not sure what will come from this letter – perhaps nothing – but the House Judiciary Committee’s timing is excellent. Attorney General Sessions has been under pressure for his recusal on the Russian Investigation along with his lack of prosecutorial zeal. If this request had come out a month ago, I would have noted it but not thought much else. At this particular juncture of events, I find myself marginally more hopeful that something – anything – might result from the Committee’s formal request.” (Read more: themarketswork.com, 7/29/2017)

June 22, 2017 – Grassley, Feinstein, Graham and Whitehouse write to former AG Lynch with questions about the Russian intel that alleges she made private assurances to Clinton aide, Amanda Renteria

Bill meets Loretta on the Phoenix airport tarmac, June 27, 2016.(Credit: ABC News)

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham, and Ranking Member Sheldon Whitehouse sought information about alleged political interference by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The bipartisan inquiry comes as the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey as FBI Director.

In April 2017The New York Times reported that the FBI came into possession of a batch of hacked documents, one of which was said to be authored by a “Democratic operative who expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far.” Chairman Grassley then requested a copy of the document from the Justice Department, which has failed to respond. A month laterThe Washington Post reported similar facts and provided further details about individuals involved in these communications. The Post reported that the email in question, sent by then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman Schultz to Leonard Benardo of the Open Society Foundations, indicated that Lynch had privately assured Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria that the FBI’s investigation wouldn’t “go too far.”

Comey was reportedly concerned that the communication would raise doubts about the investigation’s independence and began discussing plans to announce the end of the Clinton email investigation rather than simply referring it to the Department for a prosecutorial decision. Comey’s extraordinary action to announce the end of the investigation was a break from Justice Department protocol and was later cited as justification for his removal from the FBI.

In their letters to Benardo, Open Society Foundations’ General Counsel Gail Scovell, Renteria, and former Attorney General Lynch, the Senators seek details about the reported communication, copies of any related documents and whether the FBI contacted them to investigate the alleged communication.

The reports come amidst numerous allegations of political inference in controversial and high-profile investigations spanning the current and previous administrations. The Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the FBI and Justice Department and is obliged to oversee any potential misconduct or inappropriate political influence at these agencies.

The full text of the letters can be found at the following links:

Letter to Mr. Leonard Benardo
Letter to Ms. Gail Scovell
Letter to Ms. Renteria
Letter to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch

(Senate Judiciary Press, 6/23/2017)