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« The Morning Rant: J.V. Edition | Main | Trump Administration Says It's Working to Encourage Iranian Revolutionaries »
January 03, 2018

Congressional Investigators Find Evidence That FBI Had Evidence of Crimes Committed by Hillary Clinton and Her Cronies, But Chose to Sweep It Under the Carpet

We assumed this, but now there's documentary evidence for it.

Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI's probe of Hillary Clinton's email server.

For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill.

That evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the "sheer volume" of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s insecure emails was proof of criminality as well as an admission of false statements by one key witness in the case, the investigators said.

The name of the witness is redacted from the FBI documents but lawmakers said he was an employee of a computer firm that helped maintain her personal server after she left office as America's top diplomat and who belatedly admitted he had permanently erased an archive of her messages in 2015 after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.

The investigators also confirmed that the FBI began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton of any crimes while evidence responsive to subpoenas was still outstanding and before agents had interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses.

Those witnesses included Clinton and the computer firm employee who permanently erased her email archives just days after the emails were subpoenaed by Congress, the investigators said.

Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee who attended a Dec. 21 closed-door briefing by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe say the bureau official confirmed that the investigation and charging decisions were controlled by a small group in Washington headquarters rather the normal process of allowing field offices to investigate possible criminality in their localities. The Clinton email server in question was based in New York.

Speaking of Hillary's IT guy -- Andrew C. McCarthy says it's time for the FBI to give him the same sort of pressure Mueller's giving Trump aides, and get him to flip on Hillary and her crew.

As 2018 beckons, it has me thinking about Paul Combetta -- the Platte River Networks technician who used the "BleachBit" program to destroy thousands of Hillary Clinton's emails when they were under congressional subpoena and preservation orders.

It is not just the tick-tock of the criminal clock that has me thinking about Combetta -- about how much longer his obstructive destruction of government files in March 2015 could still be subject to investigation and prosecution. The statute of limitations is five years. Time’s a-wastin', but there could still be a live case for a while. The other reason Combetta leaps to the front of the mind is . . . Robert Mueller.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein assures us that Special Counsel Mueller is doing a first-rate job probing the possible (but thus far undiscovered) complicity of Trump associates in Russia's election meddling. That being the case, I'm wondering: Would the Trump Justice Department be up for applying Mueller’s approach to the Clinton caper?

McCarthy notes that Team Hillary refused to answer questions about this on specious grounds of "attorney-client privilege," by usually having a lawyer present in the chain of communications.

But Manafort tried that too -- and Mueller went around it.

Why is attorney-client privilege being allowed to shield witnesses from testifying about likely-criminal acts here?

...

But hyping the attorney-client privilege into an impregnable barrier was the key to whitewashing the case: Witnesses couldn’t be questioned about the process of reviewing Clinton’s emails and destroying tens of thousands of them, about Clinton's transferring to them classified emails that they lacked necessary clearances to possess, about their storage of classified emails on their private laptops, and so on --all because they were lawyers and such questioning would purportedly violate the attorney–client privilege.

It was unmitigated nonsense, but very useful nonsense. It enabled the Obama Justice Department to feign the appearance of a thoroughgoing inquiry: No, no, the fix wasn’t in; they tried really hard to make the case but, gee whiz, they ran into some legal restrictions that just couldn't be overcome.

...
I’m thinking it's a good time for the Justice Department, under new management (the Trump-appointed management that hired Mueller), to show Paul Combetta how it works....

In a nutshell, Combetta had a call with Clinton underlings on March 25, though he has not disclosed which underlings they were, or what was said in the conversation. Two days later (March 27), Clinton lawyer David Kendall informed the House committee that there were no longer any existing emails from Clinton’s tenure. PRN logs indicate that Combetta deleted emails and installed BleachBit on March 31.

On that same day, Combetta had a conference call with Mills and Kendall. (FBI Clinton File, Part 3, pp. 18–19.) In an early FBI interview on February 18, 2016 (FBI Clinton File, Part 3, pp. 14–20), the recalcitrant Combetta lied to the agents, falsely telling them he did not recall deleting the emails. He also refused to answer questions about his conversations with Clinton’s lawyers, particularly the March 25 and 31 conference calls. Strangely, he invoked the attorney–client privilege.

This made no sense: Clinton’s lawyers were not his lawyers, and in any event, the privilege would not cover communications related to the destruction of evidence or obstruction of a congressional investigation.

But when the fix is in, you pretend that such not-even-speedbumps are impregnable walls that can't possibly be breached.

Time to charge Combatta for lying to the FBI.

Last time I heard, Robert Mueller seemed to believe that was a crime.

Right?


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posted by Ace at 11:56 AM

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