The FBI released documents Monday confirming that former FBI director James Comey began drafting his statement exonerating Hillary Clinton in the email investigation two months before his announcement on July 5, 2016, and before interviewing 24 witnesses — including the target, Clinton herself.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham said they learned about Comey’s draft “exoneration statement” after reviewing transcripts of interviews with top Comey aides last August.
The senators wrote a letter to the FBI on Aug. 30, saying that “it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. That was long before FBI agents finished their work.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee released transcripts on August 31.
Comey has insisted that the meeting on the tarmac in Phoenix between then-attorney general Loretta Lynch and former president Bill Clinton was the impetus for his decision to take the the lead on whether to prosecute, taking the decision away from the DOJ.
On Fox News’ Special Report Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R- SC) said he wants to see Comey testify on the Hill again because his version of events does not add up.
“The chronology does not add up,” said Gowdy. “May 2nd is when they are discussing their charging decision. The meeting on the tarmac was June 26 — June 27th? So that’s a month and a half later. And then a couple of days later they interview Secretary Clinton and then two days later they decide they’re not going to charge and he makes that public pronouncement.”
Gowdy pointed out that “his ostensible reason for taking that decision away from the Department of Justice was that meeting on the tarmac — but yet a month and a half earlier, he is memorializing a decision he’s already made. So the chronology does not add up; his answers have been all over the map….”
The former prosecutor said he wants to see Comey testify once again “for a number of reasons.”
Comey “made a lot of decisions in 2016 that are worth reviewing,” Gowdy remarked.
Host Bret Baier asked him what the intelligence committee has been able to learn regarding former UN ambassador Samantha Power in the unmasking investigation.
Power has been accused of requesting over 260 unmaskings of American citizens — an outrageously excessive number for an ambassador. According to Gowdy, she has denied it.
He said Power told the committee “those requests to unmask may have been attributed to her but they greatly exceed by an exponential factor the requests she actually made.”
“So that’s her testimony, and she was pretty emphatic in it,” he said.
“The intelligence community has assigned this number of requests to her. Her perspective — her testimony — is, ‘they may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.’ So we’ve got to get to the bottom of that,” Gowdy added.
“If there is someone else making a request on behalf of a principal in the intelligence community, we need to know that because we’re getting ready to reauthorize a program that’s real important to the country but also has a masking component to it.”