Comey drafted ‘unclassified’ statement ending Clinton email investigation long before case closed
In newly-released documents, the FBI confirms that former Director James Comey sent a draft statement regarding the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, months before interviewing her.
The title of the release is ‘Drafts of Director Comey's July 5, 2016 Statement Regarding Email Server Investigation’. This title refers to a press conference Comey gave in which he said the bureau had completed its investigation into Clinton's use of a personal email system, while also saying he would not recommend that the Department of Justice proceed with charges against Clinton.
The five-page document has a list of nearly 50 deleted pages and a redacted email thread titled ‘Midyear Exam’.
The email is marked unclassified but the only available content is FBI senior counselor James Rybicki's email dated May 16, 2016, which is a follow-up on a redacted email from Comey dated May 2 to other senior officials. In it, the FBI official says “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.”
In August, Senator Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the same committee, sent a letter to new FBI Director Christopher Wray saying they had learned from interview transcripts released by the Office of the Special Counsel that Comey had drafted the statement in advance. Now this information has been confirmed in the release.
After Grassley and Graham made their disclosure, President Donald Trump accused Comey in a typical tweet of exonerating Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over.
Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over...and so much more. A rigged system!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2017
The FBI formally interviewed Clinton on July 2, 2016, while ruling three days later that it would not bring charges against her.