In transcripts released to the public on Thursday, former FBI agent Peter Strzok told Congress in a June 2018 interview that President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) made an agreement with Hillary Clinton’s lawyers that kept Clinton Foundation emails off-limits to the FBI during the investigation into whether Clinton had kept classified information on her private email server while serving as secretary of state.
Strzok had worked on three major investigations before his firing last year. He worked on the Clinton email investigation and the investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russia for the FBI, and he worked on the Trump-Russia investigation under special counsel Robert Mueller. He was fired after anti-Trump text messages came to light, casting a pall on his role in these investigations.
Strzok had testified before the House Judiciary Committee on June 27, 2018. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Texas) made the transcript of that meeting public on Thursday.
In an exchange first brought to light by The Washington Examiner‘s Jerry Dunleavy, then-majority general counsel Zachary Somers asked Strzok if “the Clinton Foundation was on the server.” Strzok said he believed that to be the case. He also testified that the FBI was not allowed to search Clinton Foundation emails for information pertinent to the investigation, thanks to an agreement between Obama’s DOJ and Clinton’s lawyers.
“Were you given access to those emails as part of the investigation?” Somers asked.
“We were not. We did not have access,” the FBI agent responded. He explained that “according to the [DOJ] attorneys, we lacked probable cause to get a search warrant for those servers and projected that either it would take a very long time and/or it would be impossible to get to the point where we could obtain probable cause to get a warrant.”
The FBI had trouble acquiring Clinton’s private email server and had to negotiate with Clinton’s attorneys for access. They “obtained possession of the servers over time,” and Strzok revealed that the FBI “had it voluntarily in the context — in the case of the servers, voluntarily in the context of consent that was worked out between DOJ attorneys and counsel for Secretary Clinton.”
The agreement prevented the FBI from freely searching through Clinton Foundation emails, according to Strzok. During the investigation, there was “a significant filter team that was put in place to work through the various terms of the various consent agreements.”
While Strzok kept the terms of the agreement, he expressed frustration with the limitations. “You know, we wanted — as an investigator, I want as much information as I can get. I don’t want limitations,” he said.
Ultimately, FBI Director James Comey cleared Clinton in a speech on July 5, 2016. While chiding her actions as “extremely careless,” he did not recommend charges against her.
News of this deal between Clinton’s lawyers and the Obama DOJ casts even more suspicion on the law enforcement branches under Obama. As Hillary Clinton was approving the deal for the Russians who paid her husband a hefty speaking fee to acquire the Canadian company Uranium One, the FBI had investigated those same Russians for fraud — but they kept the investigation secret when it mattered most. The FBI also rushed to arrest Russian spies as they entered Clinton’s orbit.
Now America learns about a deal between Clinton lawyers and the DOJ that made it harder for the FBI to access Clinton Foundation emails during the Clinton email investigation. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report is due any day now. How long before another special counsel investigates the Obama DOJ?
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.