When he testified before Congress last month, FBI Director James Comey was asked by Republicans to turn over the official notes on Hillary Clinton’s FBI interview. Comey replied he would, “commit to giving you everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible.” Now a month later, Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports a disagreement is taking place behind the scenes over what to release and when:
Comey and the FBI are pressing to send at least some of the requested information to the Hill soon, but others in government have stepped in to question such a move, officials tracking the debate said.
If you had to make one guess which agency or department was stepping in to delay the release of the information, which one would it be? If you said the State Department, you’d be correct:
“The State Department has cooperated — and will continue to cooperate — with the FBI every step of the way. We support and understand the FBI’s desire to provide information to Congress. Any suggestion to the contrary is false,” State Department Director of Press Relations Elizabeth Trudeau said in a statement.
“The State Department has asked the FBI that we be kept apprised of information to be provided to Congress that contains sensitive information related to State Department equities and for an opportunity to review it. Such an opportunity for review is in keeping with the standard interagency review process when dealing with another agency’s documents or equities,” Trudeau added.
The State Department isn’t saying the FBI can’t release the material it’s just demanding a chance to review all of it first. And overseeing this conflict, at least to some degree, is the Department of Justice:
“I’m sure this is causing a lot of consternation at main Justice,” said Anne Weismann, a former Justice Department official now with the non-profit Campaign for Accountability.
It’s probably also causing a lot of consternation inside the Clinton campaign. It all depends on what is in those reports. Clinton has claimed repeatedly that she told the FBI exactly what she has told the American people. Is that true or will the FBI agents’ notes (no video or audio recording was made) show Clinton gave a different account to the feds? Obviously, if she did give a different account, it’s the sort of thing Republicans in Congress would be eager to highlight before the election. Clinton’s legal troubles involving the email server are over but her political troubles could still get worse.