We learned last month that an early draft of Comey’s statement on the Clinton email investigation concluded she was “grossly negligent” in her handling of classified information. Then, earlier this month, we learned that the person who edited the draft to remove that legally significant language was Trump-hating FBI agent Peter Strzok. Today, Fox News reports it has obtained an early draft of the memo which confirms the language was changed at least twice. But there were also other changes made to the document which, you’ll be shocked to learn, benefitted Hillary Clinton:
The original statement said it was “reasonably likely” that “hostile actors” gained access to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email account. That was changed later to say the scenario was merely “possible.”
Another edit showed language was changed to describe the actions of Clinton and her colleagues as “extremely careless” as opposed to “grossly negligent.” This is a key legal distinction…
The edits also showed that references to specific potential violations of statutes on “gross negligence” of classified information and “misdemeanor handling” were removed.
The final statement also removed a reference to the “sheer volume” of classified information discussed on email.
Sen. Ron Johnson, who released the draft today, said in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray that the original draft “could be read as a finding of criminality in Secretary Clinton’s handling of classified material.” In the same letter Johnson wrote there were, “repeated edits to reduce Secretary Clinton’s culpability in mishandling classified information.”
Finally Johnson points to FBI agent Peter Strzok’s involvement in revising the draft saying, “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….”
To be clear, it’s unknown if Strzok was responsible for the other edits in the draft, such as downplaying the likelihood her email was hacked. It will be interesting to see if all of these edits favorable to Clinton trace back to him or if other editors were involved. Here’s Catherine Herridge’s report on the draft memo: