posted at 12:41 pm on September 8, 2016 by Ed Morrissey
Did Hillary Clinton obstruct justice? The answer, as House Speaker Paul Ryan tells Hugh Hewitt, isn’t just yes, but how many times. The timeline revealed in the FBI’s interview of Hillary shows that the deletions of over 30,000 e-mails from her secret server and the destruction of the computer files that contained them took place after Congress had issued preservation orders for all records for its own investigation into the State Department.
For some reason, the FBI didn’t find that sequence of events disturbing, but Ryan certainly does:
HH: On Tuesday of this week, September 6th, the House Chairman of Oversight and Governmental Affairs, Jason Chaffetz, sent a letter to the CEO of Platte River Networks. And it referenced a March 25th, very mysterious meeting which Mr. Chaffetz says Secretary Clinton’s team, including attorneys David Kendall and Cheryl Mills, held a conference call with the Platte River Network engineer who maintained Secretary Clinton’s server. In subsequent interviews with the FBI, the PRN engineer refused to answer questions about that call, asserting either a 5th Amendment or Attorney-client privilege. The Chairman then writes, “This timeline of events raises questions as to whether the PRN engineer violated federal statutes that prohibit destruction of evidence, and obstruction of a Congressional investigation, among others, when the engineer erased Secretary Clinton’s email contrary to Congressional preservation orders and a subpoena. The sequence of events leading up to the destruction of Secretary Clinton’s emails, the conference call, the work ticket, the use of BleachBit, and PRN’s subsequent refusal to discuss a conference call with the FBI, raises questions about whether Secretary Clinton acting through her attorneys instructed PRN to destroy records relevant to the ongoing Congressional investigation.” Are you concerned, Speaker Ryan, that the House is being denied its Constitutional oversight by an FBI that is indifferent to what is obviously an obstruction of justice?
PR: Yes, and it’s not the first time we’ve experienced this. I was part of the IRS investigation in my last job here in Congress, and I would say it’s a very, very similar story. It’s a story of stonewalling. The reason we know about these things is because of our investigation, our oversight. Jason Chaffetz is doing a great job. You know all of these things that you just discussed because of our oversight. But as we do this oversight, we see more obfuscation. We see more misleading. We see that the claims that were made, you know, six months, a year ago, about servers and emails and devices are now, were false when they were made, knowingly false. So we clearly see that she’s not being truthful. We clearly see, and also with our investigations, you see the Clinton Foundation and all what I would call the pay to play, just basically the stink of corruption surrounding that. So this is not a new story, unfortunately, with the Clintons. But it’s an ongoing one, and that is, to me, very alarming.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board finds that sequence of events alarming, too. They also find a few other revelations from Hillary’s 302s equally alarming, as well as indicative of obstruction of justice and lying to investigators on someone’s part:
Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”
That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clinton aide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”
The FBI must also have ignored two emails referred to by the State Inspector General showing Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin discussing the server while they worked at State: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Ms. Mills asked Ms. Abedin and Mr. Cooper in a Feb. 27, 2010 email.
“I had to shut down the server,” wrote Mr. Cooper to Ms. Abedin on Jan. 9, 2011, noting that “someone was trying to hack us.” In an Aug. 30, 2011 email released through a lawsuit, State Department Executive Secretary Stephen Mull informs Ms. Mills, Ms. Abedin and others that he believed Mrs. Clinton’s current Blackberry was malfunctioning “possibly because of [sic] her personal email server is down.”
So where are the prosecutions for Abedin, Mills, and Cooper? After all, Scooter Libby got convicted of obstruction of justice for far less. Comey and Barack Obama’s Department of Justice is clearly uninterested in pursuing such criminal violations when the people involved work for Democrats.
The WSJ editorial board concludes that Comey has tarnished the reputation of the FBI:
Usually, the FBI is keenly interested in any potential destruction of evidence—especially evidence under subpoena. Yet the FBI didn’t explore the details of the convenient archive deletions.
The FBI’s kid-glove treatment of Mrs. Clinton raises serious doubts about the seriousness of Mr. Comey’s probe. His July 5 public rebuke of her “extremely careless” handling of secrets has masked that Mrs. Clinton and her aides were given a pass on much of their behavior and dubious answers. The entire episode is another Jim Comey scar on the FBI’s reputation.
This is a sorry, sorry season for the rule of law, but a bonanza for the power of dynastic politics and corruption.