The FBI records vault released a series of draft statements Monday afternoon authored by former FBI Director James Comey. The drafts are about the conclusion of the criminal investigation into former Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server to host and transmit top secret information.
Drafts of Director Comeys July 5, 2016 Statement Regarding Email Server Investigation: https://t.co/gbpWJr9eEY— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) October 16, 2017
Unfortunately the drafts are completely redacted, but take note of the date: May 2, 2016.
As shown by the FBI's tweet, the final statement about the case was delivered on July 5, 2016 but was being drafted in May. This was two months before Comey made the official announcement that Clinton would not be referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. It was also before Comey had interviewed nearly a dozen key witnesses in the case, including Clinton herself. Clinton was interviewed on July 2, 2016 for just under four hours.
The release of the drafts backs up the assertion from Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley that Comey decided long before FBI investigators were done with the case that Clinton would not face charges.
"According to the unredacted portions of the transcripts, it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. That was long before FBI agents finished their work. Mr. Comey even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership. The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts," Grassley and Committee member Lindsey Graham wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray last month.
"Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy," the letter continued. "It is unclear whether the FBI agents actually investigating the case were aware that Mr. Comey had already decided on the investigation’s outcome while their work was ongoing. However, it appears that the answer to that question may be underneath some of the extensive redactions that the Department made to the transcripts."
Shortly after this revelation, Graham said he "smelled a rat" and demanded Comey return to Capitol Hill to explain previous and conflicting testimony about the case.
“This doesn’t add up, and I smell a rat here,” Graham told Fox News. "He needs to come back to the Committee."