Newly released documents show the FBI protecting Hillary Clinton during its investigation of her email scandal, with an official calling for a concluding statement that was more “equivocal,” agents providing a special release of investigative material to her lawyers and a failure to document at least four witness interviews.
Washington watchdog Judicial Watch on Monday said it has released 218 pages of emails between former FBI lead investigator Peter Strzok and his paramour, bureau lawyer Lisa Page.
Strzok led the probe of Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as well as the investigation of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
Judicial Watch obtained the emails in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government after it refused to reply to a request.
“These incredible documents show the leadership of the FBI rushed to give Hillary Clinton her FBI interview report shortly before the election,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And the documents also show the FBI failed to timely document interviews in the Clinton email ‘matter’ – further confirming the whole investigation was a joke. AG Barr can’t reopen the Clinton email investigation soon enough.”
The emails show then-FBI General Counsel James Baker instructed FBI officials to expedite the release of investigative material to Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, in August 2016.
Kendall and the FBI’s top lawyer discussed quickly obtaining the “302” report of the FBI/DOJ interview of Clinton.
Judicial Watch had sought: “All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strozk and FBI attorney Lisa Page; all travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strozk; all travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.”
Among the revelations: On Aug. 16, 2016, at 10:02 p.m. Baker emailed then-Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich; Michael Steinbach, former executive assistant director for national security; former Acting Assistant Director Jason V. Herring; former FBI lawyer Lisa Page; former Principal Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson; Michael Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, now retired; James Rybicki, former chief of staff to Comey; and others to inform them that he “just spoke” with Kendall about his requests for FBI information.
Baker told them, “I said we would process it expeditiously.”
The general counsel said Kendall “asked us to focus first on the Secretary’s [FBI interview report]. I said OK. [Redacted] We will have to focus on this issue tomorrow and get the 302 out the door as soon as possible and then focus on the rest of the stuff.”
The next day, Baker passed the request along and stated: “In my view, we need to move as quickly as possible on this, but pursuant to David’s oral request last night, we should focus first on Secretary Clinton’s 302. … Is the end of this week out of the question for her 302?”
Then many of those FBI officials met to “coordinate a plan for processing and releasing” what Clinton wanted.
Baker said he would “alert” Kendall before the document was made available to the public.
Also revealed was a discussion about additional reports that needed to be processed.
Page then pointed out that four such reports of interviews related to Clinton “had never even been written.”
Judicial Watch said that on Aug. 24, 2016, Daily Beast reporter Shane Harris sent an inquiry to the FBI asking if Comey’s admission to Congress was accurate, that Clinton’s lawyers at William & Connolly did not possess the security clearances needed to see and possess highly classified Clinton emails being stored at their law offices.
“Harris’s question set off a scramble at the top of the FBI all the way up to Comey over the next 28 hours,” Judicial Watch said, “producing a seven-page (mostly redacted) email discussion, with Lisa Page concluding, ‘Could we say something more equivocal?'”
There also was Page’s comments that a report on evidence that showed Clinton “violated federal record-keeping laws” through her email was “pretty inaccurate,” although she didn’t explain how it was inaccurate.
Judicial Watch long has been seeking details about Clinton’s email scandal and much more.
Previous documents revealed that at the height of Clinton’s influence as secretary of state under Barack Obama she was warned twice against using a private and unsecured email server for national secrets.
WND reported in April a senior FBI official, E.W. Priestap, admitted under oath the bureau found emails sent from Clinton’s unsecured server in Obama’s executive office in the White House.
Fitton said at the time that the confirmation made under oath showed that the Obama FBI had to go to Obama’s office “to find emails that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or hide from the American people.”
Fitton was referring to the more than 30,000 emails under subpoena that were thoroughly deleted through an application called BleachBit by order of Clinton’s State Department team.
When Comey announced in July 2016 that the FBI had decided not to refer criminal charges in the case, he nevertheless said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information.
More than 100 emails on her server contained classified information, including 65 emails deemed “Secret” and 22 “Top Secret.” Another 2,093 emails were retroactively marked classified by the State Department.