Why weren’t Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills charged when they lied to Peter Strzok and the FBI?
A terrific catch by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, whose story you should read in full. It was widely known that Peter Strzok, the FBI agent dismissed by Mueller from the Russiagate probe due to anti-Trump bias, had had a lead role in the Hillary Emailgate investigation. But I hadn’t realized until now that he was one of the agents who interviewed top Clinton cronies Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
Or, more importantly, that they pretty clearly lied to his face about when they found out that Hillary had her own email server.
Strzok is the same agent who reportedly replaced “grossly negligent” with “extremely careless” in Comey’s statement on Emailgate after the probe ended, and he’s also one of the agents who conducted the interview with Mike Flynn that earned Flynn a charge of making false statements to federal officials. One agent with a bias, even a supervisor, doesn’t discredit an entire investigation with dozens of people involved, especially after he’s been kicked off by the top prosecutor because of it. But the question remains: If Mike Flynn’s lies were sufficient to warrant being charged, why weren’t Abedin’s and Mills’s?
Summaries of the interviews, known as 302s, were released by the FBI last year.
A review of those documents conducted by The Daily Caller shows that Mills and Abedin told Strzok and Laufman that they were not aware of Clinton’s server until after she left the State Department…
But undercutting those denials are email exchanges in which both Mills and Abedin either directly discussed or were involved in discussing Clinton’s server.
“hrc email coming back — is server okay?” Mills asked in a Feb. 27, 2010 email to Abedin and Justin Cooper, a longtime aide to Bill Clinton who helped set up the Clinton server.
Comey was asked about Abedin’s and Mills’s lies during congressional testimony last year and spun his decision not to recommend charges by claiming that, hey, sometimes people misremember things and sometimes those things aren’t essential to a case. You don’t want to charge everyone who says something factually incorrect in an FBI interview with lying to a federal official. But the server wasn’t a peripheral matter and the Clinton cronies’ knowledge of it wasn’t immaterial. Comey’s rationale for not charging Hillary with mishandling classified information was that, while she may have been grossly negligent — sorry, I mean “extremely careless”! — there was no evidence that she intended to mishandle it. But setting up a private server which Team Clinton *knew* was destined to route classified information through it comes very close to intent, and Abedin and Mills would have been well positioned to speak to that knowledge. Putting some pressure on them by threatening to lock them up for false statements might have led to some interesting admissions about what Hillary Clinton imagined the purpose of her email server to be. The same charge helped convince Mike Flynn to play ball with Mueller. Why wasn’t similar pressure put on Abedin and Mills?
And even if Abedin and Mills didn’t roll over on Clinton, why not charge them anyway? They lied, there’s hard evidence of the lie in the form of archived emails, and charging them would have showed that the FBI wasn’t giving Team Clinton a total pass even if Hillary herself ended up skating. I wonder if Strzok had a role in them not being charged or if this was a Comey decision borne of fear that the Bureau would be seen as interfering in the election if Abedin and Mills were indicted. Having the two top aides to the Democratic nominee getting pinched for lying to the FBI would have had unpredictable effects on the campaign with Comey’s agency in the middle of it. So he gave everyone in Clintonworld a pass and took the FBI out of the campaign spotlight, until Huma’s better half got in trouble in October for sleazy unrelated reasons and suddenly there were new Clinton emails on a laptop to parse.
Whatever Strzok’s role here and notwithstanding Mueller’s insistence on ousting him, he’s going to be a major political headache for Mueller as this plays out to its inevitable surreal conclusion, with the special counsel getting fired or Mike Flynn, Jared Kushner, Don Jr et al. getting pardoned. Or both.