by WorldTribune Staff, January 3, 2018
Congressional investigators say they have obtained FBI documents which contain evidence that laws were broken when Hillary Clinton and her top aides transmitted classified material through the former secretary of state’s private email server.
The evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the “sheer volume” of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s unsecured emails as well as an admission of false statements by one key witness in the case, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill.
The FBI also began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton of any crimes while evidence responsive to subpoenas was still outstanding and before agents had interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses, the investigators said in the Jan. 2 report by John Solomon at The Hill.
One witness, an employee of a computer firm that helped maintain Clinton’s server whose name is redacted from the FBI documents, admitted he had permanently erased an archive of her messages in 2015 after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.
Meanwhile, a government watchdog group has found that Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked.
Emails released in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch show Abedin used her unsecured personal email provider to conduct sensitive work, which guaranteed that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches – at least one of which was perpetrated by a “state-sponsored actor.”
The U.S. later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking 500 million Yahoo email accounts. The initial hack occurred in 2014. Sushchin also worked for the Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which paid former President Bill Clinton $500,000 for a June 2010 speech in Moscow.
A separate hack in 2013 compromised three billion accounts across multiple Yahoo properties, and the culprit is still unclear. “All Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft,” the company said in a statement.
Judicial Watch found that Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, regularly forwarded work emails to her personal email@example.com address.
“She would use these accounts if her (State) account was down or if she needed to print an email or document. Abedin further explained that it was difficult to print from the DoS system so she routinely forwarded emails to her non-DoS accounts so she could more easily print,” an FBI report says.
The Hill report noted that “Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee who attended a Dec. 21 closed-door briefing by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe say the bureau official confirmed that the investigation and charging decisions were controlled by a small group in Washington headquarters rather the normal process of allowing field offices to investigate possible criminality in their localities. The Clinton email server in question was based in New York.”
Lawmakers told The Hill that, in normal FBI cases, field offices where crimes are believed to have been committed investigate the evidence and then recommend to bureau hierarchy whether to pursue charges with prosecutors. In Clinton’s case, the bureau hierarchy controlled both the investigation and the charging decision from Washington, a scenario known in FBI parlance as a “special,” the lawmakers said.
Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee say they are more convinced than ever that FBI leadership rigged the outcome of the agency’s investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified information.
“This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican and House Judiciary Committee member. “Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the Judiciary panel, acknowledged the FBI’s handling of the case was unique, but argued Republicans are politicizing their own panel’s work.
“To the extent that the Assistant Director of the FBI was involved in that investigation, and recognizing that the investigation itself presented a unique set of circumstances, his testimony did not raise any concerns that would justify the Republicans’ outsized obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails two years after the fact,” Nadler said.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is expected in the first quarter of 2018 to release initial findings of an investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email case and whether agents and supervisors had political connections, ethical conflicts or biases that affected their work.