New Documents Released by the FBI Prompt Trump to Accuse Comey of Lying to Protect Clinton
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that former FBI Director James Comey "lied and leaked" information and ultimately protected Hillary Clinton, while also questioning the credibility of the FBI's probe into her email.
Trump's early morning tweets come in the wake of news that the bureau’s former director had drafted a statement concluding that Clinton should not be charged before the investigation was over.
“Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many people not interviewed, including Clinton herself,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Comey stated under oath that he didn't do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?”
"As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!" the president added later.
The records show that on May 2, 2016, Comey emailed Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, general counsel James Baker and chief of staff and senior counselor James Rybicki. The subject of the email was "midyear exam," and though the email says its contents are unclassified, the body of the email is redacted in the release.
On Monday, the bureau also released a response to the May 2 email. Rybicki sent the response, dated May 16, 2016, to several colleagues: Peter Strzok, Jonathan Moffa, Baker, Trisha Anderson and E.W. Priestap. He copied McCabe and David Bowdich, the associate deputy director. In the email, which is marked "unclassified," Rybicki wrote, "Please send me any comments on this statement so we may roll into a master doc for discussion with the Director at a future date. Thanks, Jim."
The FBI titled the release "Drafts of Director Comey's July 5, 2016 Statement Regarding Email Server Investigation." That title refers to a press conference Comey held in which he said the bureau had completed its investigation into Clinton's use of a personal email system and that it would not be recommending that the Department of Justice pursue charges, though Clinton had been "careless." The bureau interviewed Clinton on July 2, 2016.
While the president has complained that Comey was too easy on Clinton, the former secretary of state has made no secret that she believes it was Comey's late October, 2016, announcement that the bureau was examining potentially fresh evidence related to the email investigation that cost her the election. The evidence being examined by the bureau came up fruitless, but Clinton has complained that the resurfacing of the scandal so close to Election Day had reintroduced doubt into voters' minds.