It looks like the fix really was in.
Republicans lawmakers report irregularities in the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server that suggest the bureau had evidence to believe the former Secretary of State and her staff broke federal laws.
Congressional investigators told The Hill they possess written statements indicating a belief by FBI agents that laws were broken Clinton and her aides transmitted classified information through her private email server.
Republicans on three House committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee have based their findings on recent interviews and document productions, including an analysis of the multiple drafts of former FBI director James Comey’s exoneration of Clinton.
Investigators on Capitol Hill said drafts of the statement acknowledged there was “evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.”
The May 2, 2016 draft of Comey’s statement featured a passage that read:
“The sheer volume of information that was properly classified as Secret at the time it was discussed on email (that is, excluding the “up classified” emails) supports an inference that the participants were grossly negligent in their handling of that information.”
Comey’s final language mirrored that draft, when he said, “although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
The FBI also confirmed that a key witness lied to the FBI during his interviews. The witness was the computer technician who deleted Clinton emails from her private server in 2015 after a congressional subpoena had been issued for them.
The technician’s admission came a year after making the false statement. He was never charged for lying to the FBI, a federal felony to which former Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn pleaded guilty.
The most jarring irregularity Republican lawmakers say they found was confirmation that the FBI began drafting an exoneration of Clinton before the former Secretary of State and other key witnesses were interviewed.
A senior law enforcement official who spoke under conditions of anonymity told The Hill, “the leadership had a sense of where the evidence was likely headed and the idea was they would begin drafting their conclusions and if we found anything that changed that sense we’d alert them.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted the move.
“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.”
Grassley’s staff also received a sworn affidavit from an FBI agent that contradicted claims by Comey. The former FBI director told Grassley the bureau investigated whether Clinton and her staff were guilty of unlawful destruction of government records.
The FBI agent in question stated the bureau did not address that issue.
These revelations cast further doubt on the objectivity of the FBI investigation that ultimately let Clinton off the hook.