A bombshell report released on Thursday reveals that former FBI Director James Comey’s memo on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there was “evidence to support a conclusion” that she committed a felony before subordinates removed multiple references of incriminating terms and deleted mentions of evidence that supported felony and misdemeanor criminal acts.
The website of Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) released the full draft of Comey’s memo on Clinton, including the edits to the draft. The Hill reports:
The full draft, with edits, leaves little doubt that Comey originally wrote on May 2, 2016 that there was evidence that Clinton and top aides may have violated both felony and misdemeanor statutes, though he did not believe he could prove intent before a jury.
In Comey’s investigation, the FBI was supposedly focused on “whether there is evidence that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that private system, in violation of a federal statute that makes it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute that makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.”
In Comey’s memo, three sections specifically use the term “gross negligence” (emphasis added):
There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the private email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information. For example, seven email chains concern matters that were classified at the TS/SAP level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending emails about those matters and receiving emails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for such an email conversation. …
Similarly, In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found the sheer volume of information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on email (that is, excluding the “up classified” emails). This is especially concerning because all of these emails were housed on servers not supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government. supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information. …
Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statute proscribing gross negligence in the handling of classified information and of the statute proscribing misdemeanor mishandling, my judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. At the outset, we are not aware of a case where anyone has been charged solely based on the “gross negligence” prohibition in the statute.
The Hill’s John Solomon also notes that Senator Johnson sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding to know why massive edits were made to Comey’s draft and why they were made by subordinates.
“The edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions,” Johnson wrote. “This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election.”
Johnson is referring to FBI agent Peter Strzok, who wrote in text messages to a lawyer at the FBI with whom he was having an affair, that the FBI needed an “insurance policy” in case Donald Trump became president. Strzok texted FBI lawyer Lisa Page:
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office” – an apparent reference to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe – “that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40 . . . .”
The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro addressed the gravity of that one text message, writing, “This looks an awful lot like motivation for launching an investigation into Trump in order to sink Trump as a hedge against Trump’s victory. The FBI’s investigation into Russian governmental interference in the election began in July 2016, just weeks before Strzok’s text message. And that means that there is now more of a smoking gun of FBI corruption against Trump than there is of Trump colluding with Russia.”