posted at 9:21 pm on September 7, 2016 by John Sexton
FBI Director Comey wrote a memo to employees Wednesday defending the decisions he has made with regard to the Hillary Clinton email investigation. One of those decisions was his choice to release materials generated by the investigation on a Friday before a holiday weekend. Speaking of the information prepared for release by the FBI, Comey writes:
We finished that process Friday morning with respect to the 302 of Secretary Clinton’s interview and our Letter Head Memorandum summarizing the investigation. I almost ordered the material held until Tuesday because I knew we would take all kinds of grief for releasing it before a holiday weekend, but my judgment was that we had promised transparency and it would be game-playing to withhold it from the public just to avoid folks saying stuff about us. We don’t play games. So we released it Friday.
CNN reports that Comey has recently met with some former FBI agents who were not happy with his decision in the Clinton email case:
In recent weeks, Comey has met with groups of former FBI agents as part of his routine visits to field offices around the country. In at least one recent such meeting, according to people familiar with the meeting, former agents were sharply critical of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe and particularly the decision to not recommend charges against Clinton.
Comey explains his decision not to recommend prosecution of Clinton saying there “wasn’t a prosecutable case.”
At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliff-hanger; despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn’t a prosecutable case. The hard part was whether to offer unprecedented transparency about our thinking. I explain to our alumni that I struggled with that part, but decided the best way to protect the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the American people’s sense of justice was to announce it in the way we did – with extraordinary transparency and without any kind of coordination.
I explain to our alums that I’m okay if folks have a different view of the investigation (although I struggle to see how they actually could, especially when they didn’t do the investigation), or about the wisdom of announcing it as we did (although even with hindsight I think that was the best course), but I have no patience for suggestions that we conducted ourselves as anything but what we are – honest, competent, and independent. Those suggesting that we are “political” or part of some “fix” either don’t know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both).
Anyone who thought Comey might be having some second thoughts will be disappointed. But of course all of the material everyone is talking about comes directly from the FBI. It’s the same material Comey looked at weeks ago before making his decision on the case. None of it is new to Comey.
I find Hillary’s explanation of the “(C)” in some of her documents as ludicrous as anyone. I don’t understand why more attention wasn’t paid to Cheryl Mills’ role in sifting emails that were turned over to the State Department. I don’t get why the decision to delete a bunch of emails apparently after a subpoena was issued wasn’t more significant to the FBI. Clearly, Comey decided it wasn’t enough and he’s not going to change his mind.