In what could be a major black eye for the deep state and yet another nail in the Clinton legacy coffin, The Hill's John Solomon reports that Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.
"This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a House Judiciary Committee member who attended the McCabe briefing before the holidays.
“Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”
In what appears to be clear evidence confirming previous fears of favoritism and prejudice within the FBI, lawmakers and investigators told Solomon at The Hill that, for the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server.
That evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the “sheer volume” of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s insecure emails was proof of criminality as well as an admission of false statements by one key witness in the case, the investigators said.
The name of the witness is redacted from the FBI documents but lawmakers said he was an employee of a computer firm that helped maintain her personal server after she left office as America’s top diplomat and who belatedly admitted he had permanently erased an archive of her messages in 2015 after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.
The investigators also confirmed that the FBI began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton of any crimes while evidence responsive to subpoenas was still outstanding and before agents had interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses.
Those witnesses included Clinton and the computer firm employee who permanently erased her email archives just days after the emails were subpoenaed by Congress, the investigators said.
Notably, lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee who attended a Dec. 21 closed-door briefing by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe say the bureau official confirmed that the investigation and charging decisions were controlled by a small group in Washington headquarters rather the normal process of allowing field offices to investigate possible criminality in their localities.
The top Democrat on the panel even acknowledged the FBI’s handling of the case was unique, but, of course, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y) argued Republicans are politicizing their own panel’s work.
Rep. Gaetz said he has growing questions about the role the Obama Justice Department played in the case.
“I think we have more questions than answers based on what we’ve learned,” Gaetz said.
A House GOP lawmaker told The Hill his staff also has identified at least a dozen interviews that were conducted after the drafting effort began, including of some figures who would have key information about intent or possible destruction of evidence.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) staff has a higher number: 17 witnesses including Clinton were interviewed after the decision was already made.
“Making a conclusion before you interview key fact witnesses and the subject herself violates the very premise of good investigation. You don't lock into a theory until you have the facts. Here the evidence that isn't public yet shows they locked into the theory and then edited out the facts that contradicted it,” the GOP lawmaker said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the documents are not yet authorized for release.
The longtime Senate chairman went to the Senate floor before the holidays to raise another concern: the FBI did not pursue criminal charges when Clinton’s email archives were permanently deleted from her private server days after a subpoena for them was issued by a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.
The deletion occurred on the same day Clinton’s former chief of staff and her lawyer had a call with the computer firm that handled the erasure using an anti-recovery software called BleachBit, Grassley said.
“You have a conference call with Secretary Clinton’s attorneys on March 31, 2015, and on that very same day her emails are deleted by someone who was on that conference call using special BleachBit software,” Grassley said. “The emails were State Department records under subpoena by Congress.
“What did the FBI do to investigate this apparent obstruction?” Grassley asked. “According to affidavits filed in federal court — absolutely nothing. The FBI focused only on the handling of classified information.”
As The Hill notes, both parties are likely to learn more in the first quarter of 2018 when the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release initial findings in what has become a wide-ranging probe into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case as well as whether agents and supervisors had political connections, ethical conflicts or biases that affected their work.
While the resistance tries to switch the narrative to Papadopoulos, and away from Page and the Trump Dossier, it is becoming clearer and clearer where the real corruption was all the time.