Left to Right: Former FBI Director James Comey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama
There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President.
Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other.
Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain that the FBI and DOJ were not investigating potential crimes objectively.
Indeed, they were committing crimes during the process in aid of their preferred outcomes.
1. 2007. Hillary Clinton wanted to be President. Hillary’s ambitions to be president started long ago. She ran for President in the 2008 cycle. In 2009, after losing to Obama, Hillary became Obama’s Secretary of State. She stayed in that post until 2013.
2. March 2015. The Hillary email scandal breaks. Hillary was using an unapproved/unsecured server and devices to communicate. She was using a private email account. Classified information was being sent through that email, server and devices – including when Hillary was abroad.
All of that is illegal. As 2015 unfolds, it becomes clear to the FBI and the DOJ that President Barack Obama was communicating with Hillary using her non-state department email. Obama was using an email and a name that masked who he was.
That had to be known to authorities long before March of 2015 given that it occurred prior to 2013.
As Andrew McCarthy points out in his recent article, there was no chance that the DOJ was going to indict Hillary because that would have required implicating President Obama. That was never going to happen. From thereafter, DOJ officials acted with that understanding, however illegal, in mind.
3. June 2015. Donald Trump announces his Presidential run.
4. March 2016. Trump has enough delegates to claim the nomination.
5. April 10, 2016. Obama makes clear he does not want Hillary indicted. Obama, on TV, indicates Hillary did not intend to harm national security. However, intent is not an element of the crime she committed. At the time of that statement – made by a sitting President and in plain view of the Nation and more importantly his FBI/DOJ appointments - many witnesses had yet to be interviewed, including Hillary.
6. April 2016. Hillary campaign and DNC begin funding infamous Trump dossier. To conceal payments for the dossier, Hillary’s campaign gives money to attorneys who then pay for the dossier – a clear campaign law violation. If that campaign payment had been properly disclosed, the payment for the dossier, and likely the dossier, would have been exposed in the summer of 2016. That disclosure likely would have hurt Hillary’s campaign.
7. May 2, 2016. Ted Cruz drops out of Presidential race. Cruz’ departure confirms Trump will be the Republican nominee.
8. May 2016. Peter Strzok and Lisa Page make it clear they need to end the Hillary Investigation.
Peter Strzok is the FBI agent in charge of the Hillary investigation, which is dubbed Mid-Year Exam. He is having an affair with FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
In a text exchange, Page informs Strzok that Cruz dropped out.
Strzok responds: “What?!?!?!?!”
Strzok later states: “Now the pressure really starts to finish the MYE.”
In a text exchange, Page informs Strzok that Cruz dropped out.
Strzok responds: “What?!?!?!?!”
Strzok later states: “Now the pressure really starts to finish the MYE.”
That is evidence of and the motive for much to come.
9. May 2016. FBI draft memo about Hillary started. Long before Hillary and other key witnesses are interviewed, James Comey starts drafting a memo with respect to the proposed conclusion of the Hillary investigation.
The original memo stated: "There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information."
The grossly negligent language is sufficient to charge Hillary with a crime.
10. May 2016. Hillary staffers Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin mislead the FBI on what they know about Hillary’s email practices. In fact, they knew of the use long before the timeframe they gave the FBI. They are never charged with lying to the FBI.
Eventually, five Clinton associates, including Mills, are granted immunity and, incredibly, evidence is destroyed by the FBI as part of the immunity deals. There is never a good reason for a law enforcement agency to destroy evidence during an investigation.
11. June 20, 2016. Peter Strzok, who was opposed to Trump becoming president, as his texts reveal, changes the “grossly negligent” language in the Comey memo to “extremely careless.” The change all but ensures Hillary will not be charged with a crime.
12. June 27, 2016. Bill Clinton meets Loretta Lynch on the tarmac. They claim they were talking about grandchildren. When information related to the meeting is leaked, the FBI goes on a desperate search to determine who leaked the information. There is no corresponding urgent effort to expose the content of the very inappropriate meeting between the former president/husband of a target who just happened to appoint Lynch to office years ago.
13. July 1, 2016. It is announced that Attorney General Loretta Lynch will accept FBI “determination and findings” as to the Hillary investigation – an abrogation of her duties not authorized by law. Strzok paramour Lisa Page then sarcastically texts to Strzok that: “It’s a real profile in courage, since she knows no charges will be brought.”
Obviously, the determination to not charge Hillary had already been made, even though . . .
14. July 2, 2016. Hillary interviewed by the FBI. Hillary is finally interviewed by the FBI but she is not put under oath and there is no transcript (thereby making it all but impossible to charge her with lying to the FBI). She is interviewed for just over 3 hours – that is an hour less than Angelina Jolie was interviewed about Brad Pitt’s treatment of her children on a plane.
Hillary is allowed to have Cheryl Mills (a witness to the email crimes) in the room during the interview to act as Clinton’s attorney. Mills, of course, had been granted immunity by then.
15. July 5, 2016. Comey goes on TV, lays out case against Hillary, claims no intent therefore no prosecution. Comey’s presentation makes clear Hillary skirted the law but Comey applies Obama’s nationally announced, non-existent, “intent” standard and states no prosecutor would indict her. Of course, it is legally not the job of the FBI director to decide who gets prosecuted. To the contrary, their job is fact finding and to report to the DOJ. Comey never should have gone on TV to announce anything.
16. Summer of 2016. FBI official Andrew McCabe is aware of more Clinton emails/Delays review of them. Hillary Clinton emails are recovered from Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Weiner is the husband of close Clinton staffer Huma Abedin. To have the emails residing on Weiner’s laptop is a clear violation of law. Huma Abedin is never prosecuted for the violation nor is Weiner let alone Hillary.
FBI official Andrew McCabe, whose wife benefitted from campaign help (some say the arrangement netted over $700,000 for her campaign) from Clinton Ally Terry McAuliffe, delays review of the new discovered emails into the Fall.
17. July 2016. Carter Page goes to Moscow. Carter Page is a tangential, volunteer Trump campaign advisor with long-time ties to Russia. Carter Page had been under surveillance in 2013 (not clear for how long ) by the FBI. Such surveillance must be based on a claim that Carter could be an agent for a foreign government. Cater Page clearly is a Russian sympathizer with a desire to continue doing business in Russia. The Trump campaign is aware of his Russian trip but not that he had been under surveillance.
** Now, as the campaigns head to the Fall, the focus changes away from the exonerated Hillary to Donald Trump’s campaign.
18. Summer of 2016. Comey’s first attempt to get FISA Warrant against Trump campaign official is denied. Comey sought a FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page – again, under the theory that he could be an agent of a foreign government.
19. Late July 2016. FBI starts “counter intelligence” investigation based on drunk statement by George Papdopoulos that Russia has dirt on Hillary Clinton. Papdopoulos is another tangential, volunteer, Trump campaign advisor.
Given Hillary’s unprotected use of email servers and blackberrys, including on foreign soil, it can be no surprise Russia could have such information. There is no factual connection between Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.
20. September of 2016. Carter Page leaves Trump campaign. Press stories allege contacts between Page and Russian officials resulting in pressure for Page to leave the campaign – so he leaves.
21. September/October 2016. DOJ Official Bruce Ohr’s wife goes to work for Fusion GPS (the firm that was the conduit between the Hillary Campaign and dossier author ex-British spy Christopher Steele). Ohr later funnels information from his wife to the FBI.
22. October of 2016. Second Comey FISA request relying on the Steele Dossier – FISA Warrant Issued to spy on Carter Page. Andrew McCabe, in time, makes it clear that without the dossier, there would have been no FISA warrant.
The dossier has never been verified – to this day. Comey told Trump in January of 2017 that the dossier was “unverified.”
Yet, Comey represented to the FISA Court that the dossier was credible – in part, by citing a Yahoo news story on the matter. However, Comey knew that that story was planted by the dossier author Christopher Steele. In other words, it was not an independent verification of the dossier.
All in all, Comey swore under oath that the Court should consider the dossier credible evidence so that the FBI could spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page – even though Page had already left the campaign. Given that it was known that Page already left the campaign, it could well be that Carter Page was the fall guy excuse to begin domestic spying on others.
Without question, Comey misled the FISA Court by submitting and vouching for the unverified dossier and pushing the Yahoo News story. Those were not the only questionable acts, misrepresentations nor omissions of Comey.
The FBI and DOJ, at the time they made the original FISA application, also were aware of the following - ALL OF WHICH WAS HIDDEN FROM THE FISA COURT:
a) Hillary’s campaign and the DNC paid for the dossier - a fact which, if known, would give rise to judicial questions of potential evidentiary bias.
b) Christopher Steele tells a DOJ official Bruce Ohr that Steele was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president." Another fact that, if known, would give rise to judicial questions of potential evidentiary bias.
c) The FBI was willing to pay Christopher Steele for more research but rescinded its offer when the FBI found out Steele had briefed reporters on the content of his dossier – a violation of FBI rules. Any Judge or jury would want to know if someone offering evidence otherwise was breaking rules. It bears on whether the witness can be trusted.
d) Carter Page was not considered by the Russians as a credible businessmen and/or figure. Many believe Carter Page was an insignificant player. Again, this raises the question of whether surveillance of him was really an attempt to get at others.
e) A DOJ official’s wife was working for the outfit commissioning the dossier. Another potentially biased individual.
** Keep in mind, by this time, the FBI is aware that the Hillary campaign paid lawyers, to give money to Fusion GPS, who gave money to a foreign agent (Christopher Steele), who got information from Russian informants. Yet, the FBI counter intelligence effort was being run on the Trump campaign not the Clinton campaign.
23. October 2016. Comey announces the reopening of email review and then, before the election, clears Hillary again.
24. November 2016. Trump wins the Presidency.
25. November 2016, Hillary campaign immediately blames Russian interference and that narrative is maintained for months.
26. December of 2016. Obama Administration begins process to relax rules on sharing intelligence about Americans. The rules previously provided that if an American was speaking to a foreigner who was being surveilled, the American’s name would be masked in the intelligence documents. Obama made it easier to share the actual names – which so happened to be Trump transition officials trying to do their job.
27. 90 days renewals. Three times thereafter, the FBI and the DOJ reapplied for a FISA warrant and never apprised the Court of their prior misrepresentations and/or omissions. The existing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who currently oversees the Mueller investigation, was one of the officials who made a FISA warrant reapplication. It has also been said that Rosenstein, on January 10, threatened House Members with legal proceedings if they continue to push oversight of this matter.
So what conclusions are to be drawn in all of this?
1. Obviously, the Obama Administration DOJ officials were never going to charge Hillary Clinton with a crime related to the emails. To make that come true, their officials went easy on Hillary (as the Strzok/Page texts expressly suggest should be done). They altered procedure, they granted multiple immunity deals, they allowed for the destruction of evidence, they gave her an easy interview, they delayed the review of documents, they altered the characterization of Hillary’s offense from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” to exonerate her from liability, and more. Their conduct amount to obstruction of justice – a crime.
2. The race between Hillary and Trump pushed the FBI/DOJ to alter the Hillary email investigation timeline for election purposes. They weren’t following the evidence, they were keeping to a deadline. They pushed to end the investigation and to exonerate her so that she would not be burdened with the investigation as the race moved into the Fall.
Yes, it is true that Comey made a terrible (if not illegal) decision to publicly announce reopening the email investigation days before the election. In truth, however, because it would implicate Obama, no charges were ever going to be brought.
3. It is obvious that the FBI/DOJ officials hastened the end of the Hillary email investigation and then immediately began an investigation of Donald Trump. The timing of the July 5, 2016 Comey exoneration speech and the late July counter intelligence investigation related to a tangential Trump advisor should not be viewed as just a coincidence. It was, as Strzok said, an insurance policy against the election of Trump.
4. Does Comey’s original draft and his announcements related to Hillary not demonstrate he was not biased against her? Maybe. The fact that Comey made inconsistent and stupid decisions does not mean the FBI and the DOJ weren’t giving Hillary a free pass. Also, there is no doubt, that Comey stole documents from the FBI and illegally leaked such documents. Those are crimes. Beyond that . . .
5. FBI/DOJ officials knowingly concealed evidence and misled the FISA Court. They, including Comey, knew the law. They are senior law enforcement officials. They knew they had been turned down before and therefore had to bring more to the table.
So what did they bring? The dossier. The unverified dossier. They asserted to the Court, however, that it was credible.
They also omitted information that likely would have resulted in the Court denying the application. It was October of 2016, however, and they wanted information right then and there. After all, it was less than a month before the election.
6. Based on those lies in the FISA applications, all the evidence that was gathered as the fruit of that warrant, unless it can be shown the evidence was clearly not gathered from that warrant, could be ruled inadmissible in any criminal case. Look for Paul Manafort to make that argument.
7. Without the FISA warrant, would there have been an Independent Counsel? We shall never know – but it appears rather unlikely.
8. Mueller. He had to know of the facts above. Why hasn’t he blown the whistle on the bad cops?
9. It is right to say that this episode is the worst abuse of political power in American history related to elections. Watergate is nothing by comparison. That involved people not employed by the government. Later it involved a cover-up in which Nixon participated.
Watergate did not involve the DOJ and the FBI – two institutions which must be non-partisans for this Republic of ours.
This case does involve the FBI and DOJ. It also is foolish not to assume that Loretta Lynch and President Obama were ignorant of the goings on - if not involved in them.
Finally, the dishonest investigation of Hillary who committed actual crimes should not be acceptable. Nor should FBI or DOJ officials be allowed to alter events and Court proceedings for political purposes.
If we let this go, and people are not brought to justice, we will have forever damaged our Republic and the World’s view of us as a nation of laws.
Tom Del Beccaro is the Author of The Divided Era.