Before Former FBI director James Comey made his recommendation that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges, newly released documents now show that the original statement against Clinton was severely watered down.
Fox News chief intelligent correspondent Catherine Herridge announced Thursday that Fox News has obtained a letter that was sent Thursday afternoon to FBI Director Christopher Wray, from the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
The letter was released by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) chairman of the Committee. (SCROLL DOWN TO SEE ENTIRE LETTER.)
It includes one of the original drafts of former FBI Director James Comey’s exoneration statement from July 2016 on the Hillary Clinton email probe. The heavily edited 5-page statement recommends against criminal charges for Clinton
Major revelations have come from the draft.
The term “grossly negligent” was removed from the draft at least twice, and downgraded to “extremely careless,” which is the language Comey used in his public statement. The removal of the term “grossly negligent” was reportedly made by Peter Strzok, the top FBI investigator which Robert Mueller later removed from the Russian collusion investigation because he had sent anti-Trump texts.
“Gross negligence” is the legal standard under the federal statute for prosecution of mishandling classified information.
Another key edit was regarding the possibility that a hacker was able to penetrate Hillary Clinton’s email server. The language was downgraded from “likely” to simply “possible.”
Fox News reported:
The edits also showed that references to specific potential violations of statutes on “gross negligence” of classified information and “misdemeanor handling” were removed.
The original also said it was “reasonably likely” that “hostile actors” gained access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account. That was later changed to say that scenario was merely “possible.”
The final statement also removed a reference to the “sheer volume” of classified information discussed on email.
“While the precise dates of the edits and identities of the editors are not apparent from the documents, the edits appear to change the tone and substance of Director Comey’s statement in at least three respects,” Johnson wrote Thursday.
That includes, Johnson said, “repeated edits to reduce Secretary Clinton’s culpability in mishandling classified information.”
“In summary, the edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions. This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior FBI agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election and the role of the same agents in Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation by President Trump.”
Colleague Jake Gibson obtains letter from Senate Homeland Security Cmte to FBI’s Wray. Contains links to Comey speech about Clinton email server probe. Includes edits & redactions. Comey says it’s “likely” Clinton’s server was infiltrated by foreign actors, but was removed
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) December 14, 2017
New: Senate Homeland Security has full text of May 2016 draft statement from Comey intended to close out the Clinton email case. The text shows multiple edits that committee chairman says appear intended to change tone and substance, water down significance of FBI’s finding
— Eric Tucker (@etuckerAP) December 14, 2017
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 14, 2017
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