May 4, 2018 – Comey’s memo leak contact works at FBI for over a year and defends him in media on Clinton probe
(…) “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)
FBI Director Comey claims David Petraeus’ security violations were more serious than Clinton’s.
At a Congressional hearing, FBI Director James Comey is asked to compare the cases of Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus. Petraeus pled guilty to a misdemeanor in 2015 and served no jail time. Comey says that Petraeus’ case “illustrates the categories of behavior that mark prosecutions that are actually brought. Clearly intentional conduct. Knew what he was doing was violation of the law. Huge amounts of information if you couldn’t prove he knew, it raises the inference he did it, and effort to obstruct justice, that combination of things making it worthy of a prosecution. A misdemeanor prosecution but a prosecution nonetheless.” He says he stands by the FBI’s decision to prosecute Petraeus and not Clinton. (Politico, 7/7/2016) (CNN, 7/7/2016)
The non-prosecution of Clinton could make it more difficult to get convictions in other cases.
In the wake of FBI Director James Comey’s decision not to recommend Clinton’s indictment, the Washington Post reports, “The extraordinary case of Hillary Clinton and her emails raises intriguing questions for federal employees facing charges related to classified materials. … Because she has escaped prosecution, will others, too?”
Mark Zaid, a lawyer who specializes in national security employment cases, says that after former CIA Director David Petraeus got what was seen as a very generous plea deal, resulting in no prison time despite pleading guilty to mishandling classified material, he used that case to push for leniency for one of his clients “right away. I mean, literally, the ink was not dry.” Zaid’s client also was charged with mishandling classified information, but “We talked to the prosecutors and said, ‘We want the Petraeus deal.’ We got it.” Zaid plans to use Clinton’s case to push for leniency in future cases.
National security lawyer Gregory Greiner similarly argues that after Clinton’s non-prosecution, defense lawyers will try to raise the bar for prosecutors. He says that it only takes one person on a jury to argue that “this guy didn’t do anything different than what Hillary Clinton did.” (The Washington Post, 7/7/2016)
Attorney General Loretta Lynch will accept whatever recommendations the FBI and career prosecutors give in the Clinton investigation.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch says of the FBI’s Clinton investigation, “The recommendations will be reviewed by career supervisors in the Department of Justice and in the FBI, and by the FBI director, and then as is the common process, they present it to me and I fully expect to accept their recommendations.”
She doesn’t completely recuse herself from the process, saying that if she did that she wouldn’t even be able to see the FBI’s report. She says, “While I don’t have a role in those findings, in coming up with those findings or making those recommendations as to how to go forward, I will be briefed on it and I will be accepting their recommendations.” (Politico, 7/1/2016)
The New York Times comments, “Her decision removes the possibility that a political appointee will overrule investigators in the case.” The Justice Department supposedly had been moving towards the arrangement since at least April 2016, but a private meeting on June 27, 2016 between Lynch and Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, “set off a political furor and made the decision all but inevitable.” (The New York Times, 7/1/2016)
Lynch claims that she had been planning to essentially recuse herself for months, although there is no evidence of this. But it seems clear her controversial meeting with Clinton played a role. She says of the meeting, “I certainly wouldn’t do it again. Because I think it has cast a shadow.” (Politico, 7/1/2016)
The Times says that the US attorney general often follows the recommendations of career prosecutors, so she “is keeping the regular process largely intact.” However, when the FBI, led by Comey, wanted to bring felony charges against former CIA Director David Petraeus in 2013, Lynch’s predecessor Eric Holder arranged a plea deal, reducing the charge to a misdemeanor and no jail time. The created a “deep and public rift” between the FBI and the Justice Department. (The New York Times, 7/1/2016)
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says President Obama didn’t play a role in Lynch’s decision, nor did he offer input on her decision to make that announcement. (Politico, 7/1/2016)
A State Department official tells the FBI about 1,000 previously unknown emails between Clinton and David Petraeus.
An unnamed State Department official who works in the Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS) is interviewed by the FBI on this day. According to a later FBI summary of the interview, she claims that around August 10, 2015, just a week before the interview, “[redacted] from Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) called [her] and told her Centcom records showed approximately 1,000 work-related emails between Clinton’s personal email and General David Petraeus, former commander of Centcom and former director of the CIA. Most of those 1,000 emails were not believed to be included in the 30,000 emails that IPS was reviewing. Out of the 30,000 emails, IPS only had a few emails from or related to Petraeus…” She “recommended the FBI should talk with [redacted] regarding the alleged 1,000 emails between Clinton and Petraeus.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
On September 25, 2015, the New York Times will report on the existence of 19 work-related emails between Clinton and Petraeus sent in January 2009 that were not turned over when Clinton gave what she said was all her 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department in December 2014. Since that time, neither these 19 emails nor any other of the alleged 1,000 emails between them have been made public.