A newly-released transcript of former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s congressional testimony reveals that then-FBI Director James Comey was considering charges against former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton under the Espionage Act, but the Justice Department, headed by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, vetoed the idea.
At issue was Clinton’s mishandling of classified information on a private email server while she served as secretary of state.
The FBI "did not blow over gross negligence.” Page told the committee in response to a question from Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.
Page added that Clinton’s liability under a gross negligence standard was considered by the FBI, including Comey.
“We, in fact — and, in fact, the Director — because, on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there’s a potential here for this to be the charge. And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence," she said.
Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 793 (f) provides: “Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any ... information, relating to the national defense ... through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed ... Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
Comey testified to Congress on July 7, 2016, however, that he didn’t want to bring charges under the “gross negligence” standard because it had never been done before.
After Lynch was reported having a private, 30-minute meeting at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with former President Bill Clinton, the secretary of state’s husband, Lynch said she would step back and accept whatever findings the FBI and career DOJ lawyers came up with.
“I fully expect to accept their recommendations,” Lynch said during a conversation at Colorado’s Aspen Ideas Festival. “I will be accepting their recommendations and their plans for going forward.”
Apparently Lynch wasn’t ready to give up the reins after all. This is further evidenced by her instructions that Comey refer to the Clinton probe as “a matter” rather than the criminal investigation that it was, an order Comey later testified made him feel “queasy.”
At a July 5, 2016, press briefing, Comey claimed to base his decision not to recommended charges against Clinton on a lack of her specific intent to violate the Espionage Act.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” he said.
But as former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., observed, intent can be proved by the underlying circumstances.
“One way to prove intent on circumstantial evidence is false exculpatory statements. Innocent people don't lie,” Gowdy told then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly. “So, if you have a series of false statements then you need to ask yourself why do you feel the need to mislead. It might be consciousness of guilt."
He concluded that “What she [Clinton] did, Megyn, was really unprecedented and incredibly reckless.”
In addition, the statute, as noted above, doesn’t even require specific intent, and we now know Comey raised the possibility of charging Clinton under the gross negligence standard of the Espionage Act.
Although Comey avoided the statutory language “gross negligence,” he said Clinton and her staff were "extremely careless" — another term meaning the same thing.
It now looks as though it may have been the then-attorney general pulling the strings all along, despite her claim that she would recuse herself from the investigation.
This all bespeaks of a two-tier justice system: It’s not what you know but who you know — and expect a visit from a former president lest you forget.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has been working under a cloud of suspicion from the moment he was elected, with no real evidence to back it up short of a questionable dossier — commissioned and paid for in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.