Over two years after the fact, newly released FBI emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request confirm that James Comey’s FBI attempted to work out a quid pro quo deal with the Obama State Department to help minimize the Hillary Clinton private email server scandal just weeks before the 2016 election.
Fox News’s Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Browne first reported on the alleged deal back on October 15, 2016, but full confirmation did not come until this week when the government transparency watchdog group Judicial Watch released FBI communication related to the deal.
“FBI interview summaries and notes, provided late Friday to the House Government Oversight and Intelligence Committees, contain allegations of a ‘quid pro quo’ between a senior State Department executive and FBI agents during the Hillary Clinton email investigation, two congressional sources told Fox News,” Herridge and Browne reported in 2016. “This is a flashing red light of potential criminality,” Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah) told Fox News at the time. “In return for altering the classification, the possibility of additional slots for the FBI at missions overseas was discussed,” he said.
On Monday, Fox News’ Gregg Re reported that over two years later, the allegation that the FBI and State Department floated a “quid pro quo” deal has now been confirmed, and it originated with the FBI:
The trove of documents turned over by the FBI, in response to a lawsuit by the transparency group Judicial Watch, also included discussions by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page concerning a potential quid pro quo between the State Department and the FBI — in which the FBI would agree to effectively hide the fact that a Clinton email was classified in exchange for more legal attache positions that would benefit the FBI abroad, and allow them to send more agents to countries where the FBI’s access is ordinarily restricted.
The quid pro quo would have involved the FBI providing some other public reason for withholding the Clinton email from disclosure amid a Freedom of Information Act request, besides its classification level. There are no indications the proposed arrangement ever took place.
Page, along with her lover, anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok, has been accused of “orchestrating a coordinated leak strategy aimed at harming the president,” Re notes. He provides the following excerpt from an email by Page in which she cites “a discussion about potential quid pro quo arrangement”:
“Jason Herring will be providing you with three 302s [witness reports] of current and former FBI employees who were interviewed during the course of the Clinton investigation,” Page wrote. “These 302s are scheduled to be released to Congress in an unredacted form at the end of the week, and produced (with redactions) pursuant to FOIA at the beginning of next week.
Page continued: “As you will see, they describe a discussion about potential quid pro quo arrangement between then-DAD in IOD [deputy assistant director in International Operations Division] and an Undersecretary at the State Department whereby IOD would get more LEGAT [legal attaché] positions if the FBI could change the basis of the FOIA withhold re a Clinton email from classified to something else.”
In a notable moment highlighted by Fox, soon-to-be-fired FBI Director James Comey, who was eventually reprimanded for his botched handling of the Clinton investigation, responded to the mounting pressure surrounding the investigation by quoting the famous American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, reassuring his team, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” But the evidence reveals that rather than being “misunderstood,” the FBI was attempting to quietly shield Clinton and benefit its own agenda. Read Re’s full report here.
H/T Ed Morrissey
This article has been updated to include more details about the newly released emails.