September 7, 2016: FBI Director James Comey writes a letter to FBI employees defending the FBI’s actions in its Clinton email investigation.

James Comey (Credit: Gary Cameron / Reuters)

James Comey (Credit: Gary Cameron / Reuters)

The letter is released to CNN on the same day, and publicly published in full. Addressing his decision not to recommend the indictment of Clinton, Comey writes, “At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliff-hanger; despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn’t a prosecutable case.”

CNN also reports that over the past several weeks, “Comey has met with groups of former FBI agents as part of his routine visits to field offices around the country. In at least one recent such meeting, according to people familiar with the meeting, former agents were sharply critical of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton probe and particularly the decision to not recommend charges against Clinton. Comey gave the meeting participants a similar answer about the case not being a cliff-hanger.” (CNN, 9/7/2016)

A later CNN article will identify the particularly contentious meeting as taking place in Kansas City. (CNN, 11/2/2016)

In the letter, Comey also defends his decision to release the FBI’s final report on the investigation (with significant redactions). That was a highly unusual move, because that usually only happens after an indictment or conviction. He makes a particular point to defend the timing of the report’s release, as it came out on a Friday afternoon just before the three-day Labor Day weekend.

He concludes the letter: “Those suggesting that we are ‘political’ or part of some ‘fix’ either don’t know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both).” (CNN, 9/7/2016) (CNN, 9/7/2016)

September 7, 2016: FBI Director Comey defends the timing of the release of the FBI Clinton email investigation’s final report.

On September 6, 2016, House Speaker Paul Ryan complains how the report was release on the Friday afternoon before a three-day weekend.

The next day, FBI Director James Comey writes a letter to FBI staff that is immediately published in full by CNN.  In it, he asserts that the review process allowing the report’s public release was finished on a Friday morning, September 2, 2016,  so he published it later that same day.

He goes on to say, “I almost ordered the material held until [the next] Tuesday because I knew we would take all kinds of grief for releasing it before a holiday weekend, but my judgment was that we had promised transparency and it would be game-playing to withhold it from the public just to avoid folks saying stuff about us. We don’t play games. So we released it Friday. We are continuing to process more material and will release batches of documents as they are ready, no matter the day of the week.” (CNN, 9/7/2016) (CNN, 9/7/2016)