|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|McCabe: Comey’s Draft Statement Exonerating Clinton Two Months before Her FBI Interview Was Not Normal Protocol|
|[BREITBART] “This is the only time I am aware of, sir.” “I have not seen that before, sir.” “I’ve never seen that.”|
These are just some of the words utilized by former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe when asked during closed door testimony about an email penned by disgraced ex-FBI chief circulating a draft statement exonerating Hillary Clinton in the private email server case a full two months before the FBI interviewed Clinton and other witnesses in the criminal probe.
Documents previously released by the FBI show that Comey on May 2, 2016 sent the email in question to McCabe, FBI general counsel James Baker and chief of staff and senior counselor James Rybicki. Clinton was interviewed by the FBI on June 2, with Comey later testifying that she was not sworn in and that the interview was not recorded.
Two months before Clinton’s FBI interview, Comey circulated the draft statement testing language to be used for not recommending charges against Clinton.
Former Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time of McCabe’s December 21, 2017 testimony, read aloud Comey’s email. A transcript of the testimony was released three weeks ago by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga, although the portion in question did not receive media attention.
|Home Front: Politix|
|Judicial Watch: New FBI Records Reveal Strzok Authored Initial Draft of Comey Letter to Congress about Clinton Emails on Weiner Laptop|
|Judicial Watch today released 424 pages of FBI records, including an email revealing that recently fired FBI official Peter Strzok created the initial draft of the October 2016 letter then-FBI director James Comey sent to Congress notifying lawmakers of the discovery of Hillary Clinton emails on the laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.|
Another email suggests that the FBI had not yet completed its review of Clinton’s emails by the time Comey sent a second letter to Congress on November 6, 2016, reconfirming his belief that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be charged with a crime.
The documents reveal that on October 27, 2016, Peter Strzok emailed other senior FBI officials a draft notice letter from Comey to Congress about the Weiner laptop discovery and the reopening of the Clinton investigation. The emails indicated that Strzok and another official Jon (Last Name Unknown) authored the notification to Congress. The notification, according the DOJ IG, came a full month after the emails were discovered by the FBI on the Weiner laptop.
According to the documents, at 11:04 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2016, FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki sent Comey an email containing a redacted draft document which he referred to as a "New Proposal" saying: "Folks, Per our 1000pm conversation, below is a revised straw man for discussion. Again, we could use this if the review when completed supports our conclusions. My comments again in ALL CAPS and bold italics."
Rybicki’s "New Proposal ... straw man" apparently refers to a draft of Comey’s letter to Congress concerning the FBI’s review of the 650,000 Clinton emails found Weiner’s laptop. At the time of the Rybicki email, Comey was preparing his letter informing Congress of the FBI’s findings, and according to page 390 of the June 2018 report from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, the deliberations regarding the letter began on the afternoon of November 3 and concluded "very early on November 6."
Despite Rybicki’s email suggesting late on November 5 that the review of the new emails had not been completed, Comey’s November 6 letter to Congress stated, "[W]e reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton."
|Home Front: Politix|
|Peter Strzok Admitted to Obstruction of Justice (Again) in Newly Released Text Messages|
|[Offended America] Newly released text messages between the FBI’s Former Deputy Head of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok and his mistress, FBI Lawyer Lisa Page appear to show an admission of guilt in committing obstruction of justice.|
In August 2016, Page and Strzok discuss starting a new "program" to get around FBI text message archiving protocols. These protocols allow for due process when text messages and other investigative materials are made available to defendants as part of discovery.
The messages were uncovered as part of an inquiry by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) who heads up the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Sen. Johnson was thrust into the spotlight of investigations of the FBI and DOJ when he reported that he was in contact with an informant inside of the "Secret Society" referenced in text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Sen. Ron Johnson sent an additional letter to the FBI and Department of Justice requesting additional communications records for senior federal law enforcement and intelligence officials including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Rybicki, John Giaclone, James Turgal, Jonathan Moffa and Randy Coleman, among others.
|Home Front: Politix|
|FBI 'Small Group' Key Figure, James Rybicki, Quits – Here Comes The Lois Lerner Maneuver…|
|[ConservativeTreehouse] James Rybicki [Hi, Jim] was former FBI Director James Comey’s chief-of-staff and retained that position under current FBI Director Christopher Wray (more on that later).|
Rybicki was the key figure in circulating and coordinating the "Clinton Exoneration Statement" read by Director Comey. For Clinton endeavor Rybicki was the hub collecting and dispatching communication as the ’talking points’ were constructed, edited, refined and ultimately finalized.
Additionally, Rybicki was the communication hub surrounding the Clinton-Lynch ’Tarmac Meeting’ discussion points that led to public statements therein by the FBI and ultimately Loretta Lynch’s public statements about distancing herself from the investigation.
Also, James Rybicki was listed as one of the key witnesses requested by Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes as outlined in the letter of agreement between Nunes and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. James Rybicki was/is being questioned by Nunes et al.
So today, James Rybicki quits.
WASHINGTON DC ‐ FBI Director Chris Wray announced Tuesday that his chief of staff, James Rybicki, is leaving the bureau.
More at link.
|Kimberley A. Strassel: 'Secrets the FBI Shouldn't Keep'|
|[WSJ] Congress persists in its effort to pry the real story of the 2016 election out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency notoriously reluctant to share secrets. The trick is telling the difference between legitimate secrets and self-serving ones.|
The FBI‐and the Department of Justice‐would rather blur that distinction. In recent congressional appearances, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tossed around the word "classified" like confetti. Neither man answered a single substantive question, citing their obligation to protect the "integrity" of investigations, safeguard "sensitive" information, and show deference to an "independent" and "internal" inspector general reviewing the FBI’s handling of the 2016 election.
True, the FBI has plenty of things it needs to keep secret regarding national security and law enforcement. Let’s even acknowledge the bureau may be rightly concerned about turning some information over to today’s leak-prone Congress. Even so, in the specific case of its 2016 election behavior, the FBI is misusing its secrecy powers to withhold information whose disclosure is in the public interest.
Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson exposed two such instances this week, from his perch as chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Mr. Johnson received a letter Wednesday from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who graciously and nimbly provided information that the committee had requested last week.
That letter included some notable dates. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is emphasizing its ejection of FBI agent Peter Strzok immediately upon learning about anti-Trump texts he exchanged with another FBI employee, Lisa Page, before the 2016 election. But when did the FBI learn of the messages? The inspector general’s investigation began in mid-January. The letter explains that the FBI was asked for text messages of certain key employees based on search terms, which turned up "a number of politically-oriented" Strzok-Page texts. The inspector general then demanded all of the duo’s text messages, which the FBI began producing on July 20.
But when did the FBI dig up and turn over that very first tranche? How long has the bureau known one of its lead investigators was exhibiting such bias? Was it before Mr. Mueller was even appointed? Did FBI leaders sit by as the special counsel tapped Mr. Strzok? In any case, we know from the letter that the inspector general informed both Messrs. Rosenstein and Mueller of the texts on July 27, and that both men hid that explosive information from Congress for four months. The Justice Department, pleading secrecy, defied subpoenas that would have produced the texts. It refused to make Mr. Strzok available for an interview. It didn’t do all this out of fear of hurting national security, obviously. It did it to save itself and the FBI from embarrassment.
This week’s other revelation of jaw-dropping FBI tactics came from a separate letter from Mr. Johnson. In November 2016, the Office of Special Counsel‐a federal agency that polices personnel practices and is distinct from the Mueller probe‐began investigating whether former FBI Director Jim Comey violated the Hatch Act, which restricts political activity by executive-branch officials, while investigating Hillary Clinton’s private server. The office conducted interviews with two of Mr. Comey’s confidantes: FBI chief of staff James Rybicki and FBI attorney Trisha Anderson.
Sen. Johnson in September demanded the full, unredacted transcripts of the interviews. But it turned out the FBI had refused to let the Office of Special Counsel interview them unless it first signed unprecedented nondisclosure agreements, giving the FBI full authority to withhold the information from Congress. The bureau has continued to insist the office keep huge swaths of the interviews secret from Congress, including the names and actions of key political players. (The Office of Special Counsel closed its investigation in May.)
In his letter this week, Mr. Johnson demanded that Mr. Wray authorize the release of the full transcripts and other documents. Even the redacted ones have revealed important information, for instance that Mr. Comey was drafting his Hillary Clinton exoneration statement well before she was interviewed. Congressional investigators believe the unredacted versions contain pertinent information about the actions of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and key investigators such as Mr. Strzok.
Mr. Johnson has given the FBI until Dec. 27 to come clean. Congress and the public have a right to know what went on in the Comey investigation, and the FBI and Justice Department seem to be attempting desperately to hide their actions.
Yes, the FBI has secrets the public needs it to keep. But don’t let the agency and its defenders muddy the difference between necessary secrecy and evasion of responsibility.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Then FBI Director Comey began drafting Clinton statement months in advance|
|[The Hill] Comey began drafting Clinton statement months in advance FBI Director James Comey apparently began drafting his statement about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server months before his July 2016 announcement that the FBI would not recommend charges, according to a document posted by the FBI Monday.|
The only visible content in the posted document is an unclassified email from FBI official James Rybicki, who asks officials in mid-May to "please send any comments on this statement so we may roll it into a master doc for discussion with the Director at a future date."
Rybicki's email forwarded a redacted email from the FBI chief on May 16, 2016 with the subject line "Midyear Exam." The Comey email he forwarded was dated May 2, 2016.
Newsweek first highlighted the document's release on Monday.
Comey, however, would not publicly make his recommendation to not press charges against Clinton until July 2016. In his public statement, though, he also sharply criticized the then-Democratic presidential candidate and her colleagues for being "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Standoff brews between Senate, FBI over Trump dossier|
|[Washington Examiner] Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley and the committee's ranking Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, want to interview two high-ranking FBI officials about some key aspects of the bureau's role in the Trump-Russia investigation -- the Trump dossier, the firing of James Comey, and more. But the FBI doesn't want those officials to talk -- even though the Judiciary Committee has oversight responsibility for the FBI, and even though the request is bipartisan, and even though there appears to be no conflict with the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation conducted by special prosecutor Robert Mueller.|
A standoff could be developing.
It began on July 11, when Grassley and Feinstein wrote letters to James Rybicki, who was Director Comey's chief of staff, and Carl Ghattas, head of the bureau's national security branch. "The committee is investigating the removal of FBI Director James Comey, Russian interference in the 2016 election, and allegations of improper interference in law enforcement investigations," the chairman and ranking member wrote. "Please make yourself available for a transcribed interview during the week of July 24, 2017."
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Comey Drafted Statement Clearing Hillary Before Interviewing Key Witnesses|
|[Daily Caller] As FBI director last year, James Comey began writing drafts of a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton, even before all witnesses in the investigation -- including Clinton herself -- had been interviewed.|
The Senate Judiciary Committee obtained the Comey memos as part of its investigation into his firing by President Trump, which occurred on May 9.
The revelation that Comey had begun drafting memos of his exoneration statement comes from transcripts of interviews given last fall by two FBI officials.
James Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff, and Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general counsel of national security and cyberlaw at the FBI, gave the interviews as part of an investigation conducted by the Office of Special Counsel into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation.
In a July 5, 2016, press conference, Comey said that he would not be recommending charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information despite her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Bill Clinton got the pre-brief the week before at Sky Harbor.
While the transcripts of those interviews are heavily redacted, they indicate that Comey started working on an announcement clearing Clinton in April or May of last year, before the FBI interviewed 17 witnesses in the case, including Clinton and some of her top aides.
Clinton was interviewed for several hours on July 2, just three days before Comey’s announcement.
In a letter to the FBI, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham also noted that Comey’s draft was prepared even before two Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, had reached what the two Republicans called a "highly unusual" immunity deal with the Justice Department.
The limited immunity deal prohibited investigators and prosecutors from asking about conversations between the two Clinton aides and Platte River Networks, a Denver-based tech firm that maintained Clinton’s server after she left the State Department.
Grassley and Graham questioned whether Comey could have conducted a complete and impartial investigation if he had already made a conclusion about the outcome before all of the information in the case had been collected.
"Conclusion first, fact-gathering second -- that’s no way to run an investigation," Grassley and South Graham wrote the FBI. "The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy."
"The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts," they added.