Congressional Republicans believe they have significant new evidence that reveals a series of “irregularities and contradictions” in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, according to The Hill.
The evidence, GOP sources told The Hill, suggests the FBI had enough evidence to prove Clinton and her aides violated federal law.
What is the evidence?
First, lawmakers said they uncovered FBI documents admitting the “sheer volume” of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s server was evidence to prove criminality.
However, former FBI Director James Comey said in July 2016 that no “reasonable prosecutor” would pursue charges against Clinton given the lack of evidence. Comey also cited his belief that Clinton and her aides lacked intent to break the law or didn’t know they were breaking the law as reason why he didn’t recommend criminal charges.
Second, the FBI also confirmed that a “key witness” in the case provided false statements to agents. That witness is the same person who deleted an archive of Clinton’s emails in 2015 after Congress had subpoenaed them.
FBI documents revealed to The Hill had the witnesses’ name redacted, but based on public reports, that man is Paul Combetta, who worked for Platte River Networks, an IT support company based in Colorado, according to the New York Times. He told the FBI in May 2016 he deleted Clinton’s emails at the request of Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s lawyer and former chief of staff, The Hill reported.
Combetta was never charged with lying to the FBI, a federal felony. Instead, the FBI granted him immunity so he could correct his story. Meanwhile, several former Trump campaign officials have pled guilty to the same crime.
The “most glaring irregularity,” investigators stated, is that documents prove FBI agents began working on drafts of a statement exonerating Clinton long before the FBI had compiled all of its subpoenaed evidence and interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) believes the FBI interviewed 17 key witnesses, including Clinton, after the decision to exonerate Clinton had already been made. The witness who lied to the FBI admitted he did so just one day after the FBI began drafting that statement, according to The Hill.
In addition, Grassley is probing whether the FBI actually investigated whether or not Clinton and her aides violated the Federal Records Act when they deleted the email server.
According to The Hill, Grassley has a sworn affidavit from an FBI agent who testified that the FBI didn’t investigate possible violations of the FRA, despite Comey’s reassurances that they had.
Grassley also believes the FBI failed to investigate Clinton and her aides for “obstruction” when they deleted emails days after a committee investigating Benghazi subpoenaed them in 2015.
What did congressional investigators say?
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a House Judiciary Committee member, told The Hill that the new evidence proves the fix was in for Clinton.
“This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” he said. “Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”
A House Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Hill:
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.
More will be known about the investigation in the coming months as the Justice Department inspector general is investigating the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case. The inspector general is also probing whether agents and FBI supervisors had political biases or ethical conflicts of interest.