FBI director again defends integrity of Clinton email probe
“You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels,” Comey said. “We are not weasels, we are honest people and we did this in that way.” Something must be bothering him about the response he’s received.
“I think questions are fair, I think the criticism is healthy and fair, I think reasonable people can disagree about whether I should have announced it and how I should have done it. What’s not fair is any implication that the Bureau acted in any way other than independently, competently, honestly here. (Yep! I knew it!)
In recent months the FBI has been under fire and accused of giving Clinton special treatment due to her political status. In July after a yearlong investigation, Comey announced Clinton would not be indicted due to prosecutors at DOJ being unlikely to take up the case.
Republicans The House Judicial Committee grilled Comey on the FBI’s year-long investigation into the potential mishandling of classified email, which concluded in July when the FBI recommended against prosecution and the Justice Department closed the case. They demanded to know why multiple key witnesses had been granted some kind of immunity, questioned him on his interpretation of the key felony statute at issue and argued that the outcome revealed a double standard in the treatment of powerful public figures. Republicans were not assuaged, arguing that Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, illegally mishandled classified information. Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia contended that Clinton had played “fast and loose with national security” and said it defied logic that she could escape prosecution. Rep. Lamar Smith, of Texas, suggested that the FBI reopen the investigation in light of what he said were “several new developments.”
Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, insisted that the fix was in from the start, asserting that the decision not to prosecute was made even before Clinton was interviewed in early July — a claim Comey vigorously denied.
GOP panel members repeatedly pressed Comey on his acknowledgment that multiple witnesses had been granted some form of immunity. They also voiced concern with the number of people who had been in the room with Clinton during her July FBI interview.
Comey said agents granted immunity to Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff because they wanted to inspect her laptop as part of the investigation. The immunity deal was limited to information contained on her laptop, Comey said. Another of the witnesses given immunity was Bryan Pagliano, the tech expert who set up Clinton’s email server.
House Republicans had considered a resolution finding Pagliano, who has declined to answer questions from lawmakers, in contempt of Congress but have postponed that for now.
Comey said he believed some form of immunity had been given to five witnesses, and that the actions were “fairly typical in a complex white-collar case, especially as you try and work your way up towards your subject.
By far the worst was Cheryl Mills. Here we have the secretary of state’s former chief of staff and lawyer for Mrs. Clinton who had given over her laptop to the FBI but would not give it over to the House Committee for inspection. Moreover, Mills being a lawyer, chief of staff, and owned information pursuant to Clinton’s email server — some classified, some sensitive — but get this one: Cheryl Mills was granted permission by the FBI to attend investigatory questioning of none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.