With new revelations about Hillary Clinton's private, unsecured email server emerging seemingly every week, it's becoming more and more obvious that the FBI's investigation was an absolute joke. Here are five reasons why.
1. Immunity Deals
During the FBI's investigation into Clinton's private server, the Justice Department granted immunity to multiple individuals close to the former Secretary of State who likely could have been prosecuted had they not been shielded.
It was recently revealed that Clinton aide and former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills was granted immunity in exchange for her laptop. When asked by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) Wednesday if Mills' laptop contained any classified material, FBI Director James Comey said:
"I think there were some emails still on the computer that were recovered that were classified is my recollection."
When asked if it was a crime for Cheryl Mills to have these emails on her unauthorized system, Comey replied that until further information is obtained, he couldn't say it was criminal. However, section 793(e) of the Espionage Act states in part (emphasis added):
"Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation...willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it...shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."
If the confidential material on Mills' laptop contained anything related to national defense--which is probable--that sounds like a crime.
An immunity deal was also granted to IT specialist Bryan Pagliano, who set up Clinton's server. He went on to plead the Fifth 125 times during his testimony before the House.
Another immunity deal was struck with Paul Combetta, the Platte River Networks' tech who wiped Clinton's emails with a program called BleachBit, even after the issuing of a subpoena ordering their retention.
2. Classified Material
Despite Clinton claiming she never sent or received documents marked classified on her private email, the FBI found evidence to the contrary.
During Clinton's interview with the FBI--for which she was not under oath--she was shown an email chain from her server containing a portion marker designating confidential material:
"When asked about the email chain containing '(C)' portion markings that State determined to currently contain CONFIDENTIAL information, Clinton stated that she did not know what the '(C)' meant at the beginning of the paragraphs and speculated it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order."
Section 1.3(d) of the Obama administration memorandum on classified material states:
"All original classification authorities must receive training in proper classification...as provided in this order and its implementing directives at least once a calendar year."
Despite the heading of the email not containing a (C), there was one such marking in the body of the text, and according to The Hill, "a 'C' in parentheses in the body of an email is used to designate a specific paragraph as containing classified information."
As someone who was supposed to have received classification training "at least once a calendar year," one would think the former Secretary of State should have known better.
The FBI apparently didn't find Clinton's excuse worthy of further inquiry.
3. Lies to the American Public
Hillary Clinton lied to the American people for over a year about a multitude of things regarding her private, unsecured email server.
During his testimony before the House Oversight Committee in July, FBI Director Comey was asked a series of questions about Clinton's public statements, the answers to which were disturbing.
Despite Clinton's claims to the contrary:
- She did use multiple devices during her tenure as Secretary of State.
- There was classified material in her emails, and it was marked as such.
- She did not turn over all work-related emails to the State Department.
- Her lawyers did not read the email content individually.
4. Gross Negligence
Section 793(f) of the Espionage Act, under which Clinton was being scrutinized, states (emphasis added):
"Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."
At the end of the FBI's investigation, Comey admitted that Clinton's conduct with regard to her private email server was "extremely careless," and that anyone in her position should have "known better," but added that it didn't constitute "gross negligence."
"Careless" and "negligent" are synonyms, by the way.
In his July testimony, Comey said the FBI found no evidence "sufficient to establish that she knew she was sending classified information beyond a reasonable doubt to meet the intent standard."
As noted above, section 793(f) requires no intent, simply gross negligence.
However, during Comey's testimony, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) wondered aloud why the FBI director didn't perceive what appears to be obvious intent:
"In your old job, you would prove intent--as you just referenced--by showing the jury evidence of a complex scheme that was designed for the very purpose of concealing the public record...She affirmatively rejected efforts to give her a State.gov account, she kept these private emails for almost two years, and only turned them over to Congress because we found out she had a private email account.
So you have a rogue email system set up before she took the oath of office, thousands of what we now know to be classified emails, some of which were classified at the time. One of her more frequent email comrades was in fact hacked, and you don't know whether or not she was. This scheme took place over a long period of time, and resulted in the destruction of public records, and yet you say there is insufficient evidence of intent?"
Aside from Gowdy's rather succinct summation of events, we now know even more.
We know Cheryl Mills had classified material on her laptop; we know President Obama used a pseudonym when he emailed Clinton, thereby contradicting his previous claim that he was unaware of her unauthorized private system; and we know that Platte River Networks' Paul Combetta used BleachBit to delete Clinton's emails shortly after Cheryl Mills spoke with him over the phone--despite the issuing of a subpoena to retain the emails.
Yet, in the face of all the evidence, the FBI recommended against indictment. Some people are simply too big to jail, it seems.