A newly released letter from Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Bob Goodlatte, addressed to Attorney General Loretta Lynch shows the FBI made side agreements with Hillary Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to “destroy” their “laptops” at the conclusion of its search.
Destroying the laptops of two of Clinton’s most trusted aides would, of course, prevent further investigation by the FBI or any other agency — which begs a few rather imperative questions.
For one, as Zero Hedge rightly observed, “we can’t help but note that the FBI appears to have acted as a co-conspirator in what appears to be an unprecedented case of destruction of key evidence.”
Goodlatte’s tone in the letter — in which he requests explanations from Lynch on several telling details from the FBI review — seems nearly tongue-in-cheek, considering how crucial those laptops would be to future searches or investigations. He writes [all emphasis added]:
“As part of the Judiciary Committee’s ongoing oversight of Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State, the Justice Department (DOJ) provided in camera review of certain immunity agreements. After a specific request from the Committee, based on references made in the immunity agreements to certain ‘side agreements,’ DOJ subsequently provided in camera review of those ‘side agreements’ between DOJ, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Beth Wilkinson, the lawyer representing both Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson. Like many things about this case, these new materials raise more questions than answers. Please provide a written response to the below questions and make DOJ staff available for a briefing on this matter no later than October 10, 2016.”
Goodlatte notes that the Department of Justice agreed to limit its search of the laptops to a time period ending on January 31, 2015, agreed to grant immunity to both Mills and Samuelson, and also agreed to the destruction of the laptops by the FBI, asking:
“Why did the FBI agree to destroy both Cheryl Mills’ and Heather Samuelson’s laptops after concluding its search?”
With immunity in place for the aides, the arbitrary deadline for searching the laptops and the permission to destroy them are both oddly incongruent — unless, of course, the laptops contained vital information the DOJ, or perhaps the FBI, didn’t want revealed.
Indeed, the DOJ granted Mills and Samuelson immunity from prosecution for … potential destruction of evidence.
Goodlatte continues with the list of questions for Lynch, asking:
“Doesn’t the willingness of Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson to have their laptops destroyed by the FBI contradict their claims that the laptops could have been withheld because they contained non-relevant, privileged information? If so, doesn’t that undermine the claim that the side agreements were necessary?
“Have these laptops, or the contents of the laptops, in fact been destroyed, thereby making follow up investigations by the FBI, or Congressional oversight, impossible?”
While FBI Director James Comey failed to recommend the DOJ charge Hillary Clinton over the “careless” use of a personal server, among many other possible avenues of prosecution, a number of astonishing revelations were nonetheless revealed in the investigation which could have been pursued by another agency or by Congress.
Many failed to follow the logic of Comey’s recommendation, as even in the course of his announcement, several contradictions seemed to prove the case for prosecution — or at least a more extensive investigation.
But if the FBI did, indeed, destroy Mills’ and Samuelson’s laptops, further probes wouldn’t have all the relevant information.
Goodlatte also requests Lynch reveal whether additional immunity agreements beyond destruction of evidence were granted to Mills and Samuelson, as well as if a grand jury was ever convened to investigate Clinton’s private server.
Although the embattled Democratic presidential nominee and the DNC have downplayed the personal server and transmission of classified information through unsecured channels, it seems the scandal continues to grow new teeth.