by WorldTribune Staff, March 13, 2019
House Judiciary Committee Republicans on March 12 released transcripts from a closed-door session last summer in which FBI lawyer Lisa Page admitted the FBI was ordered by the Obama Department of Justice not to consider charging Hillary Clinton for gross negligence in the handling of classified information.
Rep. John Ratcliffe, Texas Republican, said in a social media post that Page’s testimony shows the DOJ improperly interfered with the FBI’s supposedly independent conclusions on Clinton’s criminal culpability.
During the Judiciary Committee hearing last summer, Ratcliffe asked Page: “So let me if I can, I know I’m testing your memory. But when you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to –”
Page interrupted: “That is correct,” as Ratcliffe finished his sentence, “– bring a case based on that.”
Page also testified that the DOJ and FBI had “multiple conversations … about charging gross negligence,” and the DOJ decided that the term was “constitutionally vague” and “had either never been done or had only been done once like 99 years ago,” and so “they did not feel they could sustain a charge.”
Responding to the transcript revelations, President Donald Trump tweeted on March 13: “The just revealed FBI Agent Lisa Page transcripts make the Obama Justice Department look exactly like it was, a broken and corrupt machine. Hopefully, justice will finally be served. Much more to come!”
Federal law states that “gross negligence” in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines, and there is no requirement that defendants act intentionally or recklessly.
In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey announced that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information, but insisted that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against her.
In a draft dated May 2, 2016, Comey accused the former secretary of state of being “grossly negligent” in handling classified information. But that was modified to claim that Clinton had merely been “extremely careless” in a draft dated June 10, 2016.