Former FBI Director James Comey’s use of a private email account was revealed last week by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Today Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray Monday asking for more information:
The revelation about Mr. Comey’s use of personal email for work was new. Thus, it is important to understand what steps the FBI has taken, if any, to retrieve work-related communications from former Director Comey’s personal email account…
In attempting to excuse her use of a non-government email system for official business, Secretary Clinton claimed that she copied government accounts on all of her correspondence.
However, that turned out to be untrue. According to the Inspector General’s report, former Director Comey gave the same explanation for his use of a private Gmail account. However,
unlike the Clinton case, there appears to have been no independent verification by the Inspector General or the FBI. Without access to his private account, independent verification is impossible. The Justice Department should apply at least as much scrutiny to its own former Director as it applied to the former Secretary of State.
It is disturbing that FBI employees tasked with investigating Secretary Clinton, including the former Director, appear to have engaged in strikingly similar conduct.
Grassley gave Wray until June 29th to answer a series of question:
1.Has the FBI requested that former Director Comey provide any official work-related material from his personal devices and email accounts or access to those accounts? If not, why not? If so, did he cooperate?
2. Has the FBI conducted or attempted to conduct searches of non-FBI-issued communications devices or non-FBI email accounts associated with former Director Comey for official work-related material? If not, why not?
3. Do you agree with former Director Comey that the question of whether he transmitted classified information on unclassified systems is “frivolous”?
4. Has the FBI taken any steps to secure, retrieve, or clean any classified information transmitted by former Director Comey off of any unclassified computer systems? If so, please explain in detail what steps were taken and when.
Comey did not attend a hearing today to discuss the findings of the IG report. Grassley pointed that out during the hearing and also on Twitter:
Comey attorney said he was out of the country & couldn’t testify 2day but he was tweeting from Iowa recently I prefer being in Iowa too but ppl deserve answers abt FBI conduct
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) June 18, 2018
The problem the FBI has at this point is that it has not shown a willingness to be forthcoming with information that reflects badly on its employees. For instance, the most explosive text turned up in the IG report was Peter Strzok saying “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” in response to Lisa Page pleading that Trump never be elected. Even CNN’s Chris Cillizza agreed this was “pretty damning stuff.”
What cannot be disputed now is that Strzok, a senior FBI official involved in the investigations into Clinton’s email server and Russian interference, wrote a text in the midst of the probes (and the election) that said Trump wouldn’t win because “we’ll stop it.”
That’s pretty damning stuff — especially in a vacuum.
And yet, somehow, this damning text didn’t get released to the committees that requested the Strzok-Page texts from the FBI. It was omitted for reasons no one has explained. Earlier today, Allahpundit wrote about Rep. Trey Gowdy’s appearance on Fox News Sunday this weekend. One of the things Gowdy said near the end of that interview was, “we’re a little miffed that we read that most damning text the same time you did when we’ve been asking for it for a long time.”
So, bottom line, the FBI has probably used up its credibility when it comes to being forthcoming with anything that reflects badly on the FBI. Sen. Grassley is right to press for more information about Comey’s private email account because it would be foolish to assume the FBI would reveal anything damning without being pressed.