Just how did the FBI decide that the Department of Justice had no grounds to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her transmission of highly classified information through a secret and unauthorized e-mail server? ABC News reports that we may all shortly find out … assuming we can read through the redactions. In response to FOIA demands from the media, the FBI will release documents from the investigation, including the “302s” detailing their interview with the Democratic presidential nominee:
The FBI is working to release to the public several documents at the heart of its decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state and the Justice Department’s ultimate decision to follow the FBI’s recommendation, sources told ABC News today. …
It’s unclear exactly which documents will be released. But CNN — one of the media organizations to file a FOIA request and the first to report on the pending response — said the release will include the FBI’s report to the Justice Department detailing its recommendations in the case, and FBI notes known as a “302” from Hillary Clinton’s voluntary interview with agents.
Don’t expect too much out of the document dump. Members of Congress, including House Oversight chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), complained about the amount of redactions in the files they accessed in the FBI’s cooperation with Capitol Hill. Chaffetz argued that the heavy black ink in the files demonstrated that Hillary lied about exposing sensitive information, and raises questions about why the FBI decided to punt on recommending prosecution:
“Hillary Clinton is out there saying there’s not very much sensitive information in there, that she didn’t trade in sensitive classified information. It’s so sensitive and so classified that even I as the chairman of the Oversight Committee don’t have the high level of clearance to see what’s in those materials,” Chaffetz said. “I think the documents are overly classified. We’re going to call on the FBI this week to give us a version where there’s non-classified, the unclassified material and the classified material redacted so that that could be out there in the public. I think that’s the right thing to do.”
There’s also a question of which files will get released. Chaffetz explained that two releases from the FBI had two different versions of probe documents:
Chaffetz then said he discovered Sunday night that the FBI, when asked to provide a second copy of the documents in a classified setting, gave documents that are “different.”
“So we have a second set of documents that’s now different,” Chaffetz said. “When you turn them page by page, they’re different. I don’t know why that happened.”
CNN reports that the file will include the FBI’s report to the DoJ and the Hillary 302s — but not those of her aides:
Also to be released is Hillary Clinton’s 302, the FBI agent notes from Clinton’s voluntary interview at FBI headquarters. The report is about 30 pages, and the 302 is about a dozen pages according to the officials.
Not yet being released are additional notes from interviews of Clinton aides or other investigative materials that were sent to Congress.
Team Hillary declared that they’re “very pleased” by this development, while the CNN anchor seemed a bit skeptical:
Kristina Schake says they’re happy because it will cut off any attempts to “selectively leak” the contents. That’s probably true, but with all of the redactions and exclusions in the file being released, one can argue that the FBI itself is selectively leaking the portions of the record that make their decision look good … or at least less bad. Besides, it’s difficult to take Schake seriously when she extols Hillary Clinton’s public transparency during the investigation.