Early in the Hillary Clinton email case, the Department of Justice reached a decision that would have far-reaching implications in the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The Justice Department (DOJ), under then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, decided to set an unusually high threshold for prosecution of Clinton, effectively ensuring from the outset that she would not be charged.
In order for Clinton to be prosecuted, the DOJ required the FBI to establish evidence of intent—even though the gross negligence statute explicitly does not require this.
This meant that the FBI would have needed to find a smoking gun, such as an email or an admission made during FBI questioning, revealing Clinton or her aides knowingly set up the private email server to send classified information.
Hillary Clinton was famously exonerated by FBI Director James Comey in a July 5, 2016, press conference, which immediately became the subject of controversy.
Notably, Comey had been convinced to remove the term “gross negligence” to describe Clinton’s actions from his prepared statement by, among others, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, FBI agent Peter Strzok, senior legal counsel Trisha Anderson, and FBI analyst Jonathan Moffa.
Because of Comey’s statement, many have mistakenly concluded that the FBI acted independently from DOJ influence in their investigation of Clinton. Congressional testimonies by high ranking FBI officials involved in the investigation reveal, however, that this was not the case.
The testimonies, which were conducted last year behind closed-doors, have not been publicly released, but were reviewed for this article.
DOJ Involvement in Clinton Case & Requirement of Intent
Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who served as special counsel to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe during the time of the Clinton investigation, noted during her testimony in July 2018, that the DOJ was intimately involved in the investigation.
“Everybody talks about this as if this was the FBI investigation, and the truth of the matter is there was not a single step, other than the July 5th statement, there was not a single investigative step that we did not do in consultation with or at the direction of the Justice Department,” Page told congressional investigators on July 13, 2018.
Comey had also hinted at the influence exerted by the DOJ over the Clinton investigation in his July recommendation, stating that “there are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent.”
Intent is a requirement of several statutes the FBI was looking into. But intent is specifically not a factor under the charge of gross negligence—contained within 18 U.S. Code § 793(f)—a fact that was brought up by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) during Page’s testimony:
Did Hillary intentionally intend to set up a secret, private, unsecured server with the intent to intentionally channel ALL her State Department emails through, including the classified information intentionally included? Aside from sending, receiving and storing classified information on her server, what WAS her intent?
Perhaps that was considered in the category of “weddings, funerals and yoga” and got obliterated into vapor?
Compare this word-dance to intentionally avoid having to prosecute Hillary to the gossamer-thin premise for indicting General Flynn. I guess justice is served only if there is the “intent” to do so.
All pre-planned , to protect the President who knew she was using it and sending classified info, she sent him emails not just anyone can do that. All incoming emails to the President must be pre-approved, or whitelisted. everyone knew. Seems Barry just as guilty in the espionage act as Clinton.