Tags: Hillary Clinton | GOP senators | james comey | memo | clearing | hillary clinton | email interview

GOP Sens: Comey Wrote Memo Clearing Hillary Before Email Interview

Image: GOP Sens: Comey Wrote Memo Clearing Hillary Before Email Interview
(Alex Brandon/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 31 August 2017 07:34 PM

Former FBI Director James Comey drafted a memo on rejecting criminal charges against Hillary Clinton on her private email use as early as four months before he interviewed her in July 2016, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassely and Lindsey Graham said Thursday.

Grassley, of Iowa, and Graham, who represents South Carolina, are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Grassley chairs.

They released partial transcripts of interviews that they had obtained from the Office of Special Counsel, which investigated whether Comey's actions violated federal laws, Politico reports.

"Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that's no way to run an investigation," the senators said in a letter to Comey's successor, FBI Director Christopher Wray, as they demanded all FBI records regarding the agency's probe.

"The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy," Grassley and Graham wrote, according to Politico.

They argued that Comey's starting the memo in April or early May amounted to a premature decision that Clinton should not be charged.

Comey interviewed Clinton for three-and-a-half hours at FBI headquarters on Saturday, July 2, 2016.

Three days later, on the Tuesday after the July 4 holiday, he announced that he would not recommend criminal charges against the former secretary of state.

However, he slammed Clinton and her staff as "reckless" and "extremely careless" with the private server use.

Comey's caustic statements led Democrats to demand that the OSC investigate whether they sought to damage Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, according to Politico.

The OSC is a permanent, independent agency of the executive branch that is separate from the Russia probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller, Politico reports.

Grassley and Graham said the agency ended its probe after President Donald Trump fired Comey in May.

The OSC's inquiry was being conducted under the auspices of the Hatch Act, which bars government workers from using their positions for political purposes.

But it is not a criminal statue, Politico reports, and the agency closed its investigation because Comey was no longer a federal employee.

A spokeswoman for the agency did not respond to messages seeking comment.

In addition, an FBI spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the letter from Grassley and Graham — adding that the agency would respond to the senators directly.

At the daily White House briefing with reporters, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that if the senators' claims were true, they reinforced President Trump's decision to fire Comey.

"If it is as accurate as they say it is, that would certainly give cause and reason that Jim Comey was not the right person to lead the FBI," she said.

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Former FBI Director James Comey drafted a memo on rejecting criminal charges against Hillary Clinton on her private email use as early as four months before he interviewed her in July 2016, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassely and Lindsey Graham said Thursday.
GOP senators, james comey, memo, clearing, hillary clinton, email interview
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2017-34-31
Thursday, 31 August 2017 07:34 PM
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