from Zero Hedge:
A new letter from Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham reveal testimony from new witnesses suggesting that former FBI Director James Comey had already started drafting documentation exonerating Hillary Clinton long before interviewing key witnesses, including Hillary herself.
According to the letter, which is based on testimony from James Rybicki, Comey’s Chief of Staff, and Trisha Anderson, the Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw, Comey began drafting a statement to announce the conclusion of the Hillary investigation in April or May 2016, well before he had interviewed up to 17 key witnesses.
Meanwhile, as if that weren’t bad enough, the Comey statement was also drafted before immunity deals were struck with Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson who seemingly ran point, along with Platte River Networks, to destroy Hillary’s emails after a Congressional subpoena had been issued mandating their preservation.
Here is a summary from the Grassley/Graham letter:
Transcripts reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee reveal that former FBI Director James Comey began drafting an exoneration statement in the Clinton email investigation before the FBI had interviewed key witnesses. Chairman Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, requested all records relating to the drafting of the statement as the committee continues to review the circumstances surrounding Comey’s removal from the Bureau.
“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,” the senators wrote in a letter today to the FBI.
Last fall, following allegations from Democrats in Congress, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) began investigating whether Comey’s actions in the Clinton email investigation violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from using their official position to influence an election. In the course of that investigation, OSC interviewed two FBI officials close to Comey: James Rybicki, Comey’s Chief of Staff, and Trisha Anderson, the Principal Deputy General Counsel of National Security and Cyberlaw. OSC provided transcripts of those interviews at Grassley’s request after it closed the investigation due to Comey’s termination.
Both transcripts are heavily redacted without explanation. However, they indicate that Comey began drafting a statement to announce the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation in April or May of 2016, before the FBI interviewed up to 17 key witnesses including former Secretary Clinton and several of her closest aides. The draft statement also came before the Department entered into immunity agreements with Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson where the Department agreed to a very limited review of Secretary Clinton’s emails and to destroy their laptops after review.
And here is a key excerpt from Ms. Anderson’s testimony:
Q: So moving along to the first public statement on the case or Director Comey’s first statement the July 5, 2016 statement. When did you first learn that Director Comey was planning to make some kind of public statement about the outcome of the Clinton email investigation?
A: The idea, I’m not entirely sure exactly when the idea of the public statement um first emerged. Um it was, I just, I can’t put a precise timeframe on it um but [redaction]. And then I believe it was in early May of 2016 that the Director himself wrote a draft of that statement …
Q: So when you found out in early May that there was, that the Director had written a draft of what the statement might look like, how did you learn about that?
A: [Redacted] gave me a hard copy of it…
Q: So what happened next with respect to the draft?
A: I don’t know for sure um, I don’t know. There were many iterations, at some point there were many iterations of the draft that circulated…
Meanwhile, as a reminder of the timing, if Comey was already drafting a statement clearing Clinton of any wrongdoing in April then it came before any of the following interviews….keep in mind that many people on