Thanks to the efforts of Senator Ron Johnson, we now have a chance to read the original version of the Comey memo exonerating Hillary Clinton. It doesn’t speak highly of a professional law enforcement agency and reeks of a determination to clear Hillary Clinton of misconduct and use the FBI’s reputation for impartiality as a way of doing it.
Ex-FBI Director James Comey’s original statement closing out the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was edited by subordinates to remove five separate references to terms like “grossly negligent” and to delete mention of evidence supporting felony and misdemeanor violations, according to copies of the full document.
Comey also originally concluded that it was “reasonably likely” that Clinton’s nonsecure private server was accessed or hacked by hostile actors though there was no evidence to prove it. But that passage was also changed to the much weaker “possible,” the memos show.
The full draft and edits were released on the website of Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), providing the most complete public accounting to date of Comey’s draft and the subsequent edits.
The draft, released in full for the first time on Thursday, offers new details on the FBI’s Clinton investigation and controversial conclusion.
The Hill was first to report late last year that Comey originally concluded Clinton was “grossly negligent” – the statutory term supporting felony mishandling of classified information – when she and her aides transmitted 110 emails containing classified information through her nonsecure server but that subordinates edited the term to the lesser “extremely careless.”
The full draft, with edits, leaves little doubt that Comey originally wrote on May 2, 2016 that there was evidence that Clinton and top aides may have violated both felony and misdemeanor statutes, though he did not believe he could prove intent before a jury.
Here is a Pro-Tip. If you are ever under investigation by the FBI be damned sure you are too-big-to-jail and they’ll cut you a break. If you are a regular joe like the rest of us, they are going to charge you with the maximum count they can plausibly support and a federal prosecutor is going to indict you.
Johnson recently sent a letter to new FBI Director Christopher Wray demanding to know why such significant edits were made to Comey’s draft and whether they were part of an effort by FBI subordinates to politically protect Clinton from a harsher assessment during the 2016 election.
“The edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions,” Johnson wrote, noting recently released text messages show some senior FBI officials involved in the case harbored political hatred for Trump or preference for Clinton.
“This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election,” Johnson wrote.
One edit that concerned Johnson was a decision to delete from Comey’s original draft a reference to the FBI working on a joint assessment with the intelligence community about possible national security damage from the classified information that passed through Clinton’s nonsecure email servers.
“We have done extensive work with the assistance of our colleagues elsewhere in the Intelligence Community to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the private email operation,” Comey originally wrote.
The reference to the rest of the intelligence community was edited out, the memos show.
Johnson now wants to know whether other intelligence agencies had assessments of damage that differed or were more negative than that of the FBI.
This is a good point by Johnson. If other intelligence agencies had evaluated the risk of exposure to hostile intelligence services, who were those agencies, what where their evaluations, and why was this very relevant information deleted. It also shows why Justice should re-open the entire investigation. The evidence gathered by Comey should be evaluated either by a special counsel or a grand jury should be convened to consider it because it is obvious that Comey was more concerned with clearing Clinton than with justice.
This is the memo in Microsoft Word with TrackChanges. Enjoy.