Judicial Watch: New FBI Records Reveal Strzok Authored Initial Draft of Comey Letter to Congress about Clinton Emails on Weiner Laptop
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 424 pages of FBI records, including an email revealing that recently fired FBI official Peter Strzok created the initial draft of the October 2016 letter then-FBI director James Comey sent to Congress notifying lawmakers of the discovery of Hillary Clinton emails on the laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Another email suggests that the FBI had not yet completed its review of Clinton’s emails by the time Comey sent a second letter to Congress on November 6, 2016, reconfirming his belief that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be charged with a crime.
The records were produced as a result of a June 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a September 1, 2017, request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01448)). Judicial Watch is seeking:
- All drafts of James Comey’s statement closing the Clinton email investigation, from his original draft in April or May 2016 to the final version.
- All records of communications between or among FBI officials regarding Comey’s draft statement closing the Clinton email investigation, including all memoranda and/or analyses of the factual and/or legal justification for his July 5, 2016 announcement regarding his decision not to seek Mrs. Clinton’s prosecution.
- All records previously provided to the Office of Special Counsel in the course of its now-closed Hatch Act investigation of Mr. Comey.
The documents reveal that on October 27, 2016, Peter Strzok emailed other senior FBI officials a draft notice letter from Comey to Congress about the Weiner laptop discovery and the reopening of the Clinton investigation. The emails indicated that Strzok and another official Jon (Last Name Unknown) authored the notification to Congress. The notification, according the DOJ IG, came a full month after the emails were discovered by the FBI on the Weiner laptop.
According to the documents, at 11:04 p.m. on Saturday, November 5, 2016, FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki sent Comey an email containing a redacted draft document which he referred to as a “New Proposal” saying: “Folks, Per our 1000pm conversation, below is a revised straw man for discussion. Again, we could use this if the review when completed supports our conclusions. My comments again in ALL CAPS and bold italics.”
Rybicki’s “New Proposal … straw man” apparently refers to a draft of Comey’s letter to Congress concerning the FBI’s review of the 650,000 Clinton emails found Weiner’s laptop. At the time of the Rybicki email, Comey was preparing his letter informing Congress of the FBI’s findings, and according to page 390 of the June 2018 report from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, the deliberations regarding the letter began on the afternoon of November 3 and concluded “very early on November 6.”
Despite Rybicki’s email suggesting late on November 5 that the review of the new emails had not been completed, Comey’s November 6 letter to Congress stated, “[W]e reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”
Comey’s “conclusions” in July were that no charges should be filed against Clinton, despite her repeatedly having sent classified information over her unsecured, non-state-department server. Comey later admitted that he had drafted his July exoneration more than a month earlier.
RealClear Investigations’ reporter Paul Sperry recently reported that “only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails [found on the Weiner laptop] were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information. Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges.”
“These new documents provide more details of the corrupt and dishonest FBI investigation of the incredible revelations that Clinton’s classified and other emails were present on Anthony Weiner’s laptop,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “When will the Sessions DOJ and Wray FBI finally begin an honest investigation of Hillary Clinton’s national security crimes?”
In a related Judicial Watch lawsuit, the State Department told the court in October 2017: “The State Department identified approximately 2,800 work-related documents among the documents provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
In January 2018, in accordance with a court order, the State Department began turning Weiner emails over to Judicial Watch. Initially, 18 classified emails were found in the 798 documents produced by the State Department.
Judicial Watch is fighting for a full production of records. the State Department claims that only 3,000 of those “hundreds of thousands” are agency records and 147 total emails were unique agency records. Judicial Watch argues that the State Department has not released information on the total number of emails that they reviewed, how they reviewed them, how many emails were personal and not agency records and how the agency would have made those determinations.
Further examples of Judicial Watch’s work in this case can be found here.