Comey Drafted Statement Ending Clinton Email Investigation Months Before Interviewing Her, FBI Confirms
October 16, 2017
"In documents it released on Monday, the FBI confirmed that former FBI Director James Comey drafted a statement about the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation months before interviewing Clinton.
"The records show that on May 2, 2016, Comey emailed Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, general counsel James Baker and chief of staff and senior counselor James Rybicki. The subject of the email was 'midyear exam,' and though the email says its contents are unclassified, the body of the email is redacted in the release.
"The release confirms information that Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of that committee, disclosed in a letter to new FBI Director Christopher Wray in August. The senators wrote that they had learned from interview transcripts released by the Office of the Special Counsel that Comey had drafted the statement in advance. (That office is separate from the efforts of Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.) The Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing Comey's conduct as director and President Donald Trump's firing him in May.
"Following the disclosure by Grassley and Graham, President Donald Trump tweeted, 'Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over...and so much more. A rigged system!'
"The July 2016 press conference earned Comey widespread criticism. In a memo to Trump in May, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein condemned Comey for holding the event. Trump then cited that memo in his initial reason for firing the FBI director.
"Lawyers for Trump could use Monday's disclosure in their efforts to defend the president against accusations that he obstructed justice by firing Comey. The Wall Street Journal reported in August that in communications with Mueller, the lawyers had sought to portray Comey as an unreliable witness."
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