Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch already knew that ex-FBI Director James Comey would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton when she announced she would accept any FBI recommendation, according to new documents turned over to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC).
Comey announced that he would not recommend charges against Clinton during a press conference on July 5, 2016.
Lynch had previously stated that she would the accept the “determinations and findings” of the FBI’s investigation, suggesting she was completely out of the loop.
That revelation and others were found in 384 pages of text messages exchanged between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that the Justice Department turned over to HSGAC on Friday. Strzok and Page are the two FBI officials who made pro-Clinton and anti-Trump comments while working on the Clinton email and the Russia collusion investigations. In one particularly damning text, the two discussed needing an “insurance policy” in the event Trump were to become president.
Unfortunately, in the cover letter accompanying the texts, the FBI notified Congress that they “failed to preserve” five months’ worth of the pair’s text messages exchanged during the period between Dec. 14, 2016 and May 17, 2017.
The texts that we have are illuminating. As Sharyl Attkisson reported at The Hill, the timeline of the text messages indicates that Lynch knew that Clinton would not face charges “even before the FBI conducted its three-hour interview with Clinton, which was supposedly meant to gather more information into her mishandling of classified information.”
On July 1, 2016, as the Lynch announcement became public, Page texted Strzok:
Page: And yeah, it’s a real profile in couragw [sic], since she knows no charges will be brought.
Clinton reportedly met with Strzok and Justice Department lawyer David Laufman at the FBI for a three and a half hour interview on July 2, 2016.
In February of 2016, Page texted Strzok that then-candidate Trump “simply can not [sic] be president.”
Other text messages suggest that they tweaked their investigation in reaction to Trump’s victory in the Republican primaries. On May 4, 2016, Strzok and Page exchanged the following text messages:
Page: And holy shit Cruz just dropped out of the race. It’s going to be a Clinton Trump race. Unbelievable.
Page: You heard it right my friend.
Strzok: I saw trump won, figured it would be a bit…Now the pressure really starts to finish MYE…
Page: It sure does. We need to talk about follow up call tomorrow.
“MYE” stands for “midyear exam” and was the FBI case name for the Clinton email investigation.
Text messages exchanged between the pair also suggest that the FBI covered for then-President Obama by omitting damaging language in FBI Director Comey’s July 5, 2016, statement.
The original draft noted that Clinton had improperly used personal email to contact President Obama while abroad in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. According to the text exchange, an FBI official then removed President Obama’s name and stated that Clinton had simply emailed “another senior government official.” In the final statement as delivered by Comey on July 5, both references were omitted entirely.
Other texts suggest Strzok and Page intended to subvert rules governing preservation of their discussions about FBI matters. In April of 2016, Page texted:
Page: so look, you say we text on that phone when we talk about Hillary because it can’t be traced…
In its letter to HSGAC Friday, the FBI disclosed that it had “failed to preserve” five months’ worth of text messages exchanged between Strzok and Page — two key officials involved in two major controversial investigations.
“The Department wants to bring to your attention that the FBI’s technical system for retaining text messages sent and received on FBI mobile devices failed to preserve text messages for Mr. Strzok and Ms. Page,” Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs at the Justice Department, wrote to Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of HSGAC.
Boyd attributed their failure to produce the evidence to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”
Boyd wrote: “The result was that data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected.”
Similarly, the IRS also suffered computer malfunctioning issues during the Obama years, admitting to “losing” key emails sought by the House Oversight Committee when it was investigating the IRS targeting scandal.