DOJ striking side deals is ‘bracing’; insider says it’s way out of the norm and we’ve all been snookered

It was discovered by Fox News that the FBI made some very unusual side deals with Hillary Clinton’s top aides to allow them to destroy evidence in the Hillary email scandal to avoid prosecution. But now we are finding that the agency broke its own standard practices to allow these special deals.

Earlier BizPac Review noted that House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R, VA) sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch demanding to know why the Obama administration made these special and unusual deals.

Goodlatte pointedly asked, “Why did the FBI agree to destroy both Cheryl Mills’ and Heather Samuelson’s laptops after concluding its search?”

The Representative also sensibly noted that with this evidence destroyed, it would seem to put a permanent end to any further investigations even if other evidence warranted a re-examination of the case.

But now we are learning that these special deals were a major shift away from the FBI’s own process in such cases.

In a piece for National Review, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew C. McCarthy pointed out that the FBI never makes side deals and always includes all provisions of any understandings with suspects in the written statements signed by the suspects.

For anyone who worked in the Justice Department for any length of time, the striking of side deals with a defense lawyer (in this instance, Beth Wilkinson, who represents both Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson) is bracing. Written agreements with the Justice Department (regarding, for example, guilty pleas and cooperation) customarily include a clause explaining that the four corners of the document contain the entirety of the understandings between the parties. This is done precisely because defendants often claim they were enticed into signing the agreement because of this or that side deal purportedly agreed to by the government. The Justice Department likes to be able to say, “We don’t engage in those sorts of shenanigans. The agreement is the single agreement as written.” Why did the Justice Department make side deals in this case (which we’ve been told was treated like any other case . . . except, alas, when it wasn’t)?

Another who has criticized the FBI is Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). Chaffetz wondered why the FBI was so suddenly “handing out immunity agreements like candy.”

Chaffetz also made an excellent point saying, “If [Clinton’s email scandal] was just a mistake, why is everyone pleading the Fifth [Amendment] and getting immunity deals?”

“I want Hillary Clinton to look at the camera and tell people – there’s immunity and they’re not going to prosecute – tell Congress and tell the American people the truth,” Chaffetz said.

Whatever the FBI was doing with its actions over Hillary’s email scandal, it was not in keeping with its own standard practices.

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