Republican lawmakers claim they have discovered inconsistencies in the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server and evidence that the FBI believed Clinton broke some laws, according to a new report.
Republicans from committees conducting their own probes say they have found written proof that the FBI believed the “sheer volume” of classified information shared between Clinton and her top aides through an insecure private email server was evidence that laws had been broken and false statements had been admitted, according to a witness in the case, the Hill reported Tuesday.
Though the witness's identity has been redacted from the FBI documents, lawmakers said he was an employee of a computer firm that assisted Clinton to keep the private server after she left her post at the State Department. The witness also admitted to erasing messages from 2015, after Congress had issued a subpoena for them.
Republican lawmakers said the FBI had started to draft a statement exonerating Clinton of wrongdoing, even though evidence pertaining to subpoenas was still outstanding. Furthermore, agents had not yet interviewed over a dozen witnesses, including the computer firm employee.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee that were present at a private December meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe say the agency verified that the probe did not undergo the normal process for allowing field offices to probe criminalities, but rather was managed by a group at the headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., attended the meeting and said he thought the FBI had strayed from its “normal objective practices” during the Clinton probe.
“This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” Gaetz said, according to the Hill. “Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”
However, the top Democrat of the House Judiciary Committee claimed the new details did not justify the response from Republicans.
“To the extent that the Assistant Director of the FBI was involved in that investigation, and recognizing that the investigation itself presented a unique set of circumstances, his testimony did not raise any concerns that would justify the Republicans’ outsized obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails two years after the fact,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said, according to the Hill.
Former FBI Director James Comey closed the investigation on Clinton in July 2016, but briefly reopened and again closed the case days before the presidential election in November 2016 while Clinton was the Democratic nominee.