If you have read the timelines on the website already, it’s not easy to figure out where the latest additions are. So! This is where you can read all of the recently added entries, based on the date they were added to the site. The batches are listed in reverse chronological order, with the latest batches listed first.
- 31 October 2016 addenda (9)
- 30 October 2016 addenda (10)
- 29 October 2016 addenda (12)
- 25 October 2016 addenda (1)
- 23 October 2016 addenda (3)
- 22 October 2016 addenda (5)
- 20 October 2016 addenda (4)
- 19 October 2016 addenda (6)
- 18 October 2016 addenda (8)
- 17 October 2016 addenda (1)
- 16 October 2016 addenda (2)
- 15 October 2016 addenda (1)
- 14 October 2016 addenda (7)
- 13 October 2016 addenda (3)
- 12 October 2016 addenda (3)
- 11 October 2016 addenda (3)
- 10 October 2016 addenda (5)
- 9 October 2016 addenda (9)
- 7 October 2016 addenda (4)
- 6 October 2016 addenda (2)
- 5 October 2016 addenda (1)
- 3 October 2016 addenda (4)
- 1 October 2016 addenda (1)
- 30 September 2016 addenda (1)
- 29 September 2016 addenda (7)
- 27 September 2016 addenda (1)
- 26 September 2016 addenda (1)
- 25 September 2016 addenda (7)
- 24 September 2016 addenda (2)
- 22 September 2016 addenda (2)
- 20 September 2016 addenda (1)
- 19 September 2016 addenda (1)
- 18 September 2016 addenda (6)
- 16 September 2016 addenda (13)
- 15 September 2016 addenda (8)
- 14 September 2016 addenda (12)
- 13 September 2016 addenda (6)
- 12 September 2016 addenda (3)
- 11 September 2016 addenda (4)
- 10 September 2016 addenda (9)
- 9 September 2016 addenda (11)
- 8 September 2016 addenda (7)
- 7 September 2016 addenda (7)
- 6 September 2016 addenda (19)
- 5 September 2016 addenda (13)
- 4 September 2016 addenda (9)
- 3 September 2016 addenda (4)
- 2 September 2016 addenda (6)
- 1 September 2016 addenda (2)
- 31 August 2016 addenda (8)
- 30 August 2016 addenda (3)
- 29 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 28 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 27 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 26 August 2016 addenda (2)
- 25 August 2016 addenda (4)
- 24 August 2016 addenda (5)
- 23 August 2016 addenda (4)
- 22 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 21 August 2016 addenda (2)
- 20 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 19 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 14 August 2016 addenda (4)
- 13 August 2016 addenda (4)
- 12 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 10 August 2016 addenda (1)
- 31 July 2016 addenda (1)
- 30 July 2016 addenda (7)
- 29 July 2016 addenda (9)
- 28 July 2016 addenda (6)
- 27 July 2016 addenda (3)
- 23 July 2016 addenda (2)
- 22 July 2016 addenda (10)
- 21 July 2016 addenda (4)
- 17 July 2016 addenda (5)
- 15 July 2016 addenda (10)
- 14 July 2016 addenda (3)
- 13 July 2016 addenda (3)
- 12 July 2016 addenda (1)
- 9 July 2016 addenda (13)
- 8 July 2016 addenda (13)
- 7 July 2016 addenda (11)
- 5 July 2016 addenda (1)
- 3 July 2016 addenda (4)
- 30 June 2016 addenda (6)
- 28 June 2016 addenda (5)
- 26 June 2016 addenda (1)
- 24 June 2016 addenda (11)
- 23 June 2016 addenda (3)
- 22 June 2016 addenda (9)
- 21 June 2016 addenda (12)
- 20 June 2016 addenda (13)
- 18 June 2016 addenda (21)
- 17 June 2016 addenda (20)
- 16 June 2016 addenda (10)
- 15 June 2016 addenda (7)
- 14 June 2016 addenda (21)
- 13 June 2016 addenda (12)
- 12 June 2016 addenda (1)
- 11 June 2016 addenda (6)
- 10 June 2016 addenda (9)
- 3 June 2016 addenda (8)
October 16, 2015: A former FBI official claims that many FBI agents are upset about Obama’s comments.
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom is interviewed by Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly about President Obama’s comments on October 8, 2015 regarding the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. He says, “I know some of the agents, Megyn. I know some of the supervisors and I know the senior staff. And they’re P.O.ed [pissed off], I mean, no question. This is like someone driving a nail, another nail into the coffin of the criminal justice system and what the public thinks about it.”
He adds that he doesn’t think the FBI investigators will allow Obama’s comments to affect them. And he concludes, “[I]f it’s a big case and it’s pushed under the rug, they won’t take that sitting down.” (Fox News, 10/16/2015)
Before February 2016: A suspicious bank transaction draws the attention of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.
In November 2016, CNN will report that in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, “at least one FBI field office also received notification of a possible suspicious bank transaction. The transaction involving a Clinton Foundation donor was flagged in what is known as a suspicious activity report, routine notices sent through the Treasury Department’s financial enforcement arm.”
The timing of this incident is not clear. But the CNN article will mention it prior to describing a pivotal meeting between the FBI and Justice Department in February 2016. (CNN, 11/2/2016)
July 5, 2016—November 3, 2016: A retired assistant FBI director claims to be hearing from an increasing number of FBI agents upset at Comey and the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.
On July 5, 2016, former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom is interviewed by Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly about FBI Director James Comey’s announcement earlier in the day that he won’t recommend to indict Clinton.
He says, “I have defended him in the past, but those days are over… I thought the events of the last week there was something fishy going on… then he comes to that nonsensical conclusion that really wasn’t his to make.” He adds that he has spoken with about 15 current and former agents who “are basically worried about the reputation of the agency they love, that they’ve worked hard for all their life.” (The Washington Free Beacon, 7/6/2016)
On September 6, 2016, Kallstrom is interviewed by Kelly again, four days after the FBI Clinton email investigation’s final report and Clinton’s FBI interview summary are publicly released. He says he is “shocked and furious and dismayed” at Comey “pull[ing] the old political trick of waiting until a three-day holiday weekend and then releasing information,” as well as how the FBI conducted the interview of Clinton. He adds, “Megyn, I’ve had contact with 50 different people, both inside and outside, retired agents, that are basically disgusted. And, you know, it’s part of the last straw.” (Fox News, 9/6/2016)
On September 28, 2016, Kallstrom speaks on air to Kelly again. He says he has been contacted by hundreds of people, including “a lot of retired agents and a few on the job.” He claims the agents “involved in this thing feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back. … I think we’re going to see a lot more of the facts come out in the course of the next few months. That’s my prediction.”
On November 3, 2016, the Daily Beast will publish an article largely based on a recent interview with Kallstrom. It will note that he recently endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Kallstrom, a former Marine, founded a charity decades ago called the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. Trump’s personal charity, the Trump Foundation, gave Kallstrom’s charity $1,000,000 in May 2016, $100,000 in March 2016, and another $230,000 in prior years. These are unusually large numbers for Trump’s foundation. When Trump owned casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he allowed Kallstrom’s charity to hold fundraisers for free in them. Kallstrom met Trump on occasion over the years, often during public events.
Kallstrom tells the Daily Beast that he has gotten hundreds and hundreds of calls and emails from both active and retired agents. He claims that in all but two cases the agents have been supportive of what he’s said in his Fox News appearances, except for two agents who told him he should be more supportive of Comey. He claims that he’s never been in contact with agents directly involved with the Clinton email investigation, and has not tried to give them advice.
He says he’s apolitical and a registered independent voter, and although he plans to vote for Trump, he has never been involved in a campaign, including Trump’s. (The Daily Beast, 11/3/2016)
Between July 6, 2016 and September 7, 2016: Comey faces frequent criticism from FBI field offices over his decision not to recommend Clinton’s indictment.
On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey announces that he is recommending to not indict Clinton or any of her aides, effectively ending the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.
CNN will later report, “But blow back from some current and former agents was immediate. As Comey made his rounds of visits to field offices around the country, he heard stinging criticism, particularly from retired agents. At one meeting in Kansas City, Comey was confronted with stinging criticism of the probe. He pushed back, saying the career agents who knew the most of the case arrived at the conclusion that the case against Clinton wasn’t even a close call.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)
As a result, on September 7, 2016, Comey will write a letter to all FBI personnel, defending his decision not to recommend Clinton’s indictment. The letter will immediately be leaked to the public.
Shortly After July 10, 2015: Comey decides the FBI’s Clinton email investigation will be run from headquarters for greater secrecy, upsetting agents in New York.
According to CNN in November 2016, shortly after the FBI begins its Clinton email investigation on July 10, 2015, FBI Director James Comey decides to run the investigation from FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, instead of the New York office, which normally would be the proper jurisdiction, since the Clinton private email server had been located in Chappaqua, New York. CNN will report, “That decision anger[s] some in New York who thought it was headquarters’ interference into their case.”
Comey then mostly picks agents from the Washington, DC, field office to handle the investigation. He assigns the case “to the counterintelligence section, which investigates cases of alleged mishandling of classified information. It [gives] the added advantage of being a section with a reputation for few media leaks and being close enough for Comey to get personal almost-daily updates.”
Furthermore, all agents working on the case are required to sign an unusual non-disclosure agreement and also agree to be subject to random lie detector tests.
One unnamed senior official will later say, “We’re in the middle of one of the most vitriolic campaigns in American history, and we’re investigating one of the candidates for president. We had to get this right.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)
August 1, 2016: An author says the FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation, which he knows from his own FBI interviews.
Peter Schweizer, the conservative author of the 2015 book Clinton Cash that is highly critical of the Clinton Foundation, is interviewed by Fox News journalist Sean Hannity. He says, “I can’t go into detail. But I can tell you on personal experience that I know the FBI is investigating the Clinton Foundation.”
Hannity asks, “They’re doing it now? They’re doing it today? Have they questioned you, if you don’t mind me asking?”
Schweizer responds, “I’d rather not talk about that, but they are doing it at present.” (LawNewz, 8/2/2016)
At the time, the existence of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation has rarely been confirmed by the mainstream media. However, in late October 2016, it will be reported by multiple media outlets that the investigation exists and that Schweizer has been interviewed by FBI agents more than once. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)
On November 3, 2016, he will say that he has been interviewed by the FBI multiple, but not since February 2016. He also will say, “As much as I’d like to say [my] book is the entire case, that is not the case. That’s certainly how the Clinton team is going to represent it. But they have done a lot of legwork, as you would expect the FBI to do.” (Fox News, 11/3/2016)
August 11, 2016: Rudy Giuliani claims to know of some FBI agents who are embarrassed by Comey’s decision not to recommend indicting Clinton.
In a CNN interview, Rudy Giuliani criticizes FBI Director James Comey’s July 5, 2016 announcement to not recommend indicting Clinton. “I believe the decision was so wrong, I can’t understand how he came to that conclusion. I don’t believe he did it for bad reasons, because I think he is a good man. But the decision perplexes me. It perplexes [former Assistant FBI Director James] Kallstrom, who worked for him. It perplexes numerous FBI agents who talk to me all the time. And it embarrasses some FBI agents.” (CNN, 8/11/2016)
Giuliani is a former US attorney, former mayor of New York City, and a frequent media surrogate for the Trump campaign. The Daily Beast will note that Giuliani “spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it.” Furthermore, his former law firm has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. (The Daily Beast, 11/2/2016)
September 28, 2016: Comey suggests he didn’t try to get subpoena power for the Clinton email investigation in order to complete it faster.
Appearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Tom Marino (R) asks FBI Director James Comey why he made immunity deals with key figures in the Clinton email investigation instead of using subpoena power. In particular, he wants to know why deals were made to get access to the laptops of Clinton’s lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.
Comey replies, “Anytime you’re talking about the prospect of subpoenaing a computer from a lawyer, it involves the lawyer’s practice of law, you know you’re getting into a big Megillah.”
Marino, who was a district attorney and US attorney before being elected to Congress, then asks, “I understand that, clearly. Why did you not decide to go to an investigative grand jury? It would have been cleaner, it would have been much simpler, and you would have had more authority to make these witnesses testify. Not the target, but the witnesses testify. That seems the way to go, Director. We’ve done it thousands of times. This was just too convoluted.”
Comey replies, “Again, I need to steer clear of talking about grand jury use in a particular matter. In general, in my experience, you can often do things faster with informal agreements, especially when you’re interacting with lawyers. In this particular investigation, the investigative team really wanted to get access to the laptops that were used to sort these emails. Those are lawyers’ laptops. That is a very complicated thing. I think they were able to navigate it pretty well to get us access.”
Later in the hearing, Comey adds that the investigation “couldn’t be concluded professionally without doing our best to figure out what was on those laptops. So, getting the laptops was very important to me and to the investigative team.” (Politico, 11/1/2016) (C-SPAN, 9/28/2016)
In contradiction to his answer on this day, in April 2016, he said of the investigation, “The urgency is to do it well and promptly. And ‘well’ comes first.” And in May 2016, he said “I don’t tether to any external deadline” to finish the investigation, such as the Democratic convention in July 2016.
October 25, 2016: Rudy Giuliani seemingly predicts Comey’s bombshell reopening of the Clinton email investigation, leading to calls he should be investigated for taking part in leaks.
Rudy Giuliani says in a Fox News interview that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had “a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days. I’m talking about some pretty big surprise.”
Pressed for specifics, he says he’s “got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.” Giuliani is a former US attorney, former mayor of New York City, and a frequent media surrogate for the Trump campaign. (Real Clear Politics, 10/25/2016)
Three days after his comments, FBI Director James Comey will send a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI’s Clinton email investigation is being at least partially reopened, due to the discovery of new evidence.
As a result of this sequence of events, Democratic Representatives Elijah Cummings and John Conyers will call for an investigation into a possible leak of confidential information to Giuliani.
On November 4, 2016, Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly will ask Giuliani about this controversy. He will say, “You can investigate me. I spoke to no current FBI agents ever in the last ten months. I’ve had no communication with them.” He says he has spoken to many former FBI agents though, but he was only told they were “in revolt” since July 2016 when Comey announced he wasn’t going to recommend the indictment of Clinton.
Giuliani will claim he was talking about Trump’s planned television advertising over the weekend.
Kelly will comment, “That would have been kind of lame. You should have been glad that something bigger came out to not make a liar out of you.”
He will then say, “I had no idea that Jim Comey was going to do what he did. Not the slightest idea.” (Fox News, 11/4/2016)
On a different interview the same day, with Fox News journalist Brian Kilmeade, Giuliani will say, “All I heard were former FBI agents telling me that there’s revolution going on inside the FBI and it’s now at a boiling point…”
Kilmeade will interrupt, “So you had a general idea that something was coming.”
Giuliani will respond, “I had expected this for the last, honestly to tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be about three or four weeks ago, because back, way back in July  this started, they kept getting stymied looking for subpoenas, looking for records.”
The Washington Post will comment, “The answer suggests Giuliani is claiming to have known not of the development in the Clinton email case, but of [general FBI agent] frustration over the Clinton Foundation matter.” (The Washington Post, 11/4/2016)
However, in contradiction to Giuliani’s claim “I spoke to no current FBI agents ever in the last ten months,” on October 28, 2016, hours after Comey’s letter is made public, Giuliani will say in a radio interview, “The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity. I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”
The Daily Beast will note that Giuliani “spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it.” Furthermore, his former law firm has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. (The Daily Beast, 11/2/2016)
October 29, 2016: Former Democrat and Republican number two Justice Department officials criticize Comey’s announcement.
Jamie Gorelick was deputy attorney general under President Bill Clinton and is supporting Hillary Clinton for president. Larry Thompson held the same position under President George W. Bush and is has criticized Republican nominee Donald Trump. Deputy attorney general is the second highest position in the Justice Department. Together, they write an editorial in the Washington Post with the title: “James Comey is damaging our democracy.”
They are upset at FBI Director Comey for violating the Justice Department tradition not to make any moves that could have a political effect in the 60 day period before an election, with his October 28, 2016 announcement. (The FBI is part of the department.)
Their editorial concludes, “As it stands, we now have real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation. Perhaps worst of all, it is happening on the eve of a presidential election. It is antithetical to the interests of justice, putting a thumb on the scale of this election and damaging our democracy.” (The Washington Post, 10/29/2016)
October 31, 2016: A senator wants to know if the FBI ever asked for subpoena power in the Clinton email investigation, and if not, why not.
Following the October 28, 2016 revelation that FBI Director James Comey has at least partially reopened the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, Senator Charles Grassley (R), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sends him a letter with a series of questions.
He points that in May 2016, “I wrote to you expressing concern about the appearance that political appointees at the Justice Department might be withholding approval for the FBI to seek search warrants and grand jury subpoenas. These standard investigative tools are usually approved in criminal investigations of this scope and importance. However, it remains unclear to this day whether the FBI requested the use of a grand jury in the Clinton email investigation to compel documents and testimony, and if so, whether the [Justice Department] denied that request. These concerns are only magnified by these latest developments [regarding the reopening of the investigation].”
He adds, “If the FBI is denied the ability to gather evidence through compulsory means, Secretary Clinton and her aides have enormous leverage to negotiate extraordinary concessions in exchange for voluntary cooperation. It is critical for the public to know whether the FBI has requested from the Justice Department vital investigative tools such as grand jury subpoenas and search warrants and whether it has been denied access to them.” (Politico, 11/1/2016) (US Congress, 10/31/2016)
Two days later, it will be reported that the FBI never asked the Justice Department for the grand jury legal backing needed for subpoena power, but this has not been officially confirmed.
On September 28, 2016, Comey hinted that he preferred making immunity deals with key witnesses over using subpoena power in order to bring the investigation to a faster conclusion.
October 31, 2016: Loretta Lynch and James Comey have a private meeting, and agree to work together to get faster answers.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey meet in person to discuss Comey’s announcement on October 28, 2016 that he is at least partially reopening the FBI’s Clinton email investigation due newly discovered evidence. It has been reported that one day before his announcement, Lynch made clear that she disagreed, passing that message to him through intermediaries.
Lynch and Comey have a regular national security meeting at the FBI, and after the meeting ends, Lynch and Comey talk in private. (CBS News, 11/1/2016)
Later in the day, Justice Department legislative liaison Peter Kadzik tells Congress that the department will dedicate all necessary resources and work “as expeditiously as possible” to learn something about the new evidence, since Election Day is only eight days away.
Politico reports that “Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates are now seeking a kind of detente with [Comey] after the extraordinary rift between Comey and the Justice Department” regarding his decision to ignore the Justice Department’s wishes for him not to send the letter.
One unnamed “top Justice official” says that Lynch and Yates “felt they needed to make clear that they disagreed with Comey’s decision. But no one is dragging their feet here. The Justice Department is committed to working with the FBI to move the case forward.” (Politico, 10/31/2016)
Politico reports that the FBI never asked Clinton’s top aides for their computers and mobile devices as part of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. An unnamed source familiar with the investigation says, “No one was asked for devices by the FBI.”
Because the investigation didn’t have subpoena power, it could only ask for people to cooperate, or make immunity deals with them. The FBI did make an effort to get Clinton’s computers and mobile devices, and made immunity deals with Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to get their computer laptops, but FBI requests didn’t go much beyond that.
Bob Goodlatte (R), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says, “The more we learn about the FBI’s initial investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server, the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information.”
Politico suggests that the FBI might not have asked for what Clinton’s aides possessed because of a focus on Clinton and her server and mobile devices. “It’s also possible the FBI or prosecutors elected not to demand all the Clinton aides’ computers and other electronics because doing so might have triggered a legal battle that could have slowed the probe.”
The issue about what Clinton’s aides may have possessed came to the fore after the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation after emails belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin were discovered on a computer owned by her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. In an April 2016 FBI interview and then in a public deposition in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2016, Abedin said she gave her lawyers all devices she thought might contain State Department-related emails. However, it appears no government entity ever asked for any of her devices, so her lawyers never gave them up to anyone.
Abedin was asked for all her work-related emails from her time in the State Department in another FOIA lawsuit, but not the computers or devices the emails were stored on.
The same appears to be true for other top Clinton aides like Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Bryan Pagliano, and others, with the few exceptions noted above.(Politico, 11/1/2016)
November 2, 2016: It is revealed that the FBI and Justice Department agreed not to have grand jury subpoenas for the Clinton email investigation, arguing that would lead to a faster conclusion.
CNN reports, “During the Clinton email server investigation, investigators and prosecutors debated whether to issue subpoenas to Clinton’s aides, officials say. Leaders at the FBI and at the Justice Department thought it would be faster to come to voluntary agreements with aides. Subpoenas could cause delays, particularly if litigation is necessary, officials said. And the FBI and Justice Department wanted to try to complete the probe and get out of the way of the 2016 election.”
Presumably this meant it was agreed not to get Justice Department approval to empanel a grand jury, because an FBI investigation cannot issue subpoenas without the legal authority of a grand jury. (CNN, 11/2/2016)
Two days earlier, Senator Charles Grassley (R) sent FBI Director James Comey a letter asking for an official answer regarding this issue. Comey hinted in September 2016 that he didn’t seek a grand jury in the interest of quickly concluding the investigation.
November 2, 2016: Suspicions of partisan political decisions has been causing increasing conflict within both the FBI and Justice Department, as well as between them.
CNN publishes a front-page article with the title “Turmoil in the FBI,” which is based on interviews with more than a dozen anonymous government officials close to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. It states that since the investigation began in July 2015, “infighting among some agents and officials has exposed some parts of the storied [FBI] to be buffeted by some of the same bitter [political] divisions as the rest of American society.”
CNN alleges, “Some of the sharpest divides have emerged between some agents in the FBI’s New York field office, the bureau’s largest and highest-profile, and officials at FBI headquarters in Washington and at the Justice Department. Some rank-and-file agents interpreted cautious steps taken by the Justice Department and FBI headquarters as being done for political reasons or to protect a powerful political figure [Clinton]. At headquarters, some have viewed the actions and complaints of some agents in the field as driven by the common desire of investigators to get a big case or, perhaps worst, because of partisan views.”
The tensions are said to have “multiplied” since FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 that he would not recommend indicting Clinton. In addition to increasing conflicts within the FBI, his announcement “also opened up sharp divides between Justice [Department] and FBI officials, and even within the Justice Department itself, where some officials have pushed for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to more forcefully assert her power over the FBI.”
The tensions in the Clinton email investigation have been duplicated by the Clinton Foundation investigation, with some FBI agents again frustrated at what they consider political obstructionism from FBI leaders and the Justice Department to protect Clinton. That has also led to friction between FBI headquarters and the New York field office.
Since then, conflicts have increased still more due to the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016. Potentially relevant evidence was discovered on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, shortly after October 3, 2016. “The longer it took for officials at FBI headquarters and at the Justice Department to decide how to proceed with the matter, the more conspiracies spread among some agents that perhaps senior FBI officials were trying to cover up the matter.”
One unnamed “senior law enforcement official” says, “It’s the times we are living in. No one has emerged from this election unscathed.”
Rick DesLauriers, who was head of the FBI’s Boston field office until he retired three years ago, says, “Politics is running rampant. Passions are high.” He adds that “[Comey] made a decision that angered Republicans in July  and one that angered Democrats in October . That’s a pretty good indication he’s nonpartisan.”
CNN also notes that “Some of the tensions are built-in because of the FBI’s unique position as part of the Justice Department but also projecting a large measure of independence. The FBI director’s job has a 10-year tenure, spanning presidential administrations, while his bosses at the Justice Department are politically appointed and they leave when the administration ends.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)
November 3, 2016: It is alleged Comey told Congress about reopening the FBI’s Clinton investigation at least partially due to fears of leaks from the FBI’s New York office.
Reuters reports that FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress on October 28, 2016, revealing that the Clinton email investigation was being reopened, at least partially due to fear of leaks from within the FBI.
The investigation is being reopened due to new evidence discovered in an unrelated FBI investigation into sexual texts Anthony Weiner allegedly sent to a minor. Weiner is a former New York Congressperson and the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
It is believed that the Weiner investigation is being conducted with the help of the FBI’s New York field office, which initially discovered the emails. Two unnamed law enforcement officials say that a faction of FBI agents in the New York office are believed to be hostile to Hillary Clinton, and have been known to leak information to the press.
These sources also say that the examination of new evidence – believed to be thousands of Abedin’s emails found on Weiner’s computer – is being conducted under very tight security at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. (Reuters, 11/3/2016)
November 3, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation is still facing an impasse between FBI investigators and top officials.
Since October 30, 2016, there have been a number of news reports that the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation exists, but also that it has been hobbled by disagreements between FBI agents, who believe the evidence against the foundation is strong, and high-ranking FBI officials and Justice Department officials who believe the evidence is weak. Major decisions have been postponed until after the November 8, 2016 US presidential election.
ABC News reports that “Investigators and higher-ups have continued to discuss the matter, but there has been no change in posture, sources said. Authorities still believe there is no evidence of wrongdoing, and they do not believe there is a sufficient reason to pursue charges…” (ABC News, 11/3/2016)
November 4, 2016: Many political insiders, especially Republicans, say Comey’s letter changed the trajectory of the 2016 presidential race.
Politico asks “a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states” their opinions on the evolving 2016 presidential election campaign. In their latest query, nearly two-thirds of Republicans say that FBI Director James Comey’s October 28, 2016 letter announcing the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation “fundamentally altered the trajectory of the race.”
One unnamed Republican insider states, “There are a handful of words that can fundamentally alter the trajectory of a race. These include words and phrases like ‘indictment,’ ‘FBI investigation’ and ‘grand jury.’ These are popping with just barely enough time to make a difference in the race, even enough time for ad-makers to change out closing commercials.”
Another unnamed Republican insider says, “That is not how to end a campaign. [Clinton] wins when Trump is the issue. She loses when she is the issue.”
However, only 20 percent of Democratic insiders say the Comey letter changed the trajectory of the race.
One unnamed Democratic insider says, “It changed the race by bringing the map back to normal [meaning a non-landslide win for Clinton]. Pre-FBI, she was going to reach for 400 [electoral votes].” (Politico, 11/4/2016)
May 5, 2015: The controversial book “Clinton Cash” is published, criticizing the Clinton Foundation.
The book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, written by Peter Schweizer, is published by HarperCollins. The book is highly critical of the Clinton Foundation, and is released within one month of Clinton announcing her candidacy in the 2016 presidential election. In November 2016, it will be revealed that the book is a major reason why the FBI starts an investigation into the foundation a short time after its publication.
The book causes controversy even before it is published, due to major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Fox News, getting exclusive stories based on different portions of the book. The Times at least says they didn’t pay anyone for their exclusives. (The New York Times, 4/23/2015)
The foundation also publicly admits that it made mistakes, due to a wave of negative reporting, with many stories based on the books’ contents.
The day the book is published, Clinton’s campaign posts a section its official website attempting to refute the book’s claims. Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, writes: “The book has zero evidence to back up its outlandish claims… While we will not be consumed by these kinds of attacks, we will also not let them go unchallenged.” (The New York Times, 5/4/2015)
The book is widely read, staying five weeks on the New York Times’ best seller list. (The New York Times, 6/21/2015)
Much of the criticism of the book is based on the reputation and motives of its author. Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a right wing think tank, and was a research fellow at Stanford University’s right wing Hoover Institution. He is also a senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News, a controversial right wing news website so supportive of Donald Trump, the man who will become Clinton’s main opponent in the 2016 presidential election, that Stephen Bannon, the executive chair of Breitbart News, will resign in August 2016 to become the CEO of Trump’s campaign. (The New York Times, 8/18/2016)
Schweizer has written many books, most of them with an overt right wing political slant, such as Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, published in 2005.
Shortly after the book is published, the publisher announces that “seven to eight factual corrections” have been made to a revised version, calling them “actually quite minor.” (Politico, 5/14/2015)
A Newsweek review of the book comments, [J]ust because the book’s author, who has written for Breitbart News, is widely considered a right-wing guttersnipe… doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Well, at least not entirely wrong. He gets various dates and figures wrong… Mostly, though, it raises intriguing questions without ever really convicting.”
Newsweek continues, “The book contains many more lurid examples of Bill and Hillary [Clinton] doing things that look bad—from Bill taking juicy speaking fees from a major investor in the Keystone XL pipeline while Hillary’s state department reviewed the pipeline deal, to the Clinton Foundation accepting donations from a Swedish mining investor who more or less financed a coup in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. None of these actions are illegal. And it’s not even clear if they’re related. The rooster doesn’t cause the sun to rise, but this is the thrust of Schweizer’s argument. He never proves any laws were broken—in fact, he practically begins the book by hedging his accusations: ‘I realize how shocking these allegations may appear. Are these activities illegal? That’s not for me to say. I’m not a lawyer.'” (Newsweek, 5/1/2015)
Before February 2016: The FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation gains evidence from at least two confidential informants involved in other investigations.
In February 2016, there is a key meeting between FBI and Justice Department officials about the direction of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation. The investigation began in the summer of 2015, following the publication of the book Clinton Cash by conservative author Peter Schweizer.
At first, the investigation mostly focused on the allegations against the foundation in the book. But the Wall Street Journal will report that by the time of the February 2016 meeting, “Within the FBI, some felt they had moved well beyond the allegations made in the anti-Clinton book. At least two confidential informants from other public-corruption investigations had provided details about the Clinton Foundation to the FBI, these people said.”
The Journal will report, “The FBI had secretly recorded conversations of a suspect in a public-corruption case talking about alleged deals the Clintons made… The agents listening to the recordings couldn’t tell from the conversations if what the suspect was describing was accurate, but it was, they thought, worth checking out.”
However, prosecutors in the Justice Department think “the talk was hearsay and a weak basis to warrant aggressive tactics, like presenting evidence to a grand jury, because the person who was secretly recorded wasn’t inside the Clinton Foundation.” This causes some FBI agents to grow increasingly frustrated with resistance from the Justice Department as well as some leaders in the FBI.
In the February 2016 meeting, the Justice Department will turn down a request from the FBI investigation for grand jury backing. Without it, they can’t gather evidence using subpoenas or search warrants. But the investigation will continue without those legal powers. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)
After February 2016: Justice Department officials allegedly tell FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation to “stand down,” to no effect.
In February 2016, there is a key meeting between the FBI and Justice Department to determine the fate and direction of the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation. The FBI wanted more investigative power to intensify their investigation, but the Justice Department refused to give it, claiming their case is weak.
The Wall Street Journal will later report that after this meeting, “Justice Department officials became increasingly frustrated that the [FBI] agents seemed to be disregarding or disobeying their instructions. Following the February meeting, officials at Justice Department headquarters sent a message to all the offices involved to ‘stand down,’ a person familiar with the matter said.”
The Journal will explain that this means to “proceed more overtly” and “act discreetly,” due to the sensitivities of conducting an investigation into the foundation closely linked to Hillary Clinton, who is a major Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential election, while the election is in full swing.
However, the investigation will continue as before, though still without the additional powers only the Justice Department can grant. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)
February 2016—Early November 2016: It is alleged that a US attorney has increased tensions between the FBI and Justice Department over the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.
On November 2, 2016, the Wall Street Journal will report, “Starting in February  and continuing today, investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and public-corruption prosecutors [at the Justice Department] became increasingly frustrated with each other, as often happens within and between departments. At the center of the tension stood [the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York], Robert Capers, who some at the FBI came to view as exacerbating the problems by telling each side what it wanted to hear…”
In February 2016, there is a key meeting in which FBI investigators presented their evidence to Justice Department officials, hoping to be granted additional powers so they could conduct a more vigorous investigation. But the department officials turned them down, claiming that their case was weak.
The stances in the FBI and Justice Department would essentially remain unchanged through late October 2016, when the conflict would erupt into public view due to a series of leaks.
The Journal will report, “At times, people on both sides of the dispute thought Mr. Capers agreed with them. Defenders of Mr. Capers said he was straightforward and always told people he thought the case wasn’t strong. … In subsequent conversations with the Justice Department, Mr. Capers told officials in Washington that the FBI agents on the case ‘won’t let it go…'”
However, Capers is not the only official singled out for blame in public leaks. The Journal will also report that “some have blamed the FBI’s No. 2 official, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, claiming he sought to stop agents from pursuing the case this summer. His defenders deny that, and say it was the Justice Department that kept pushing back on the investigation.” McCabe has been criticized for a conflict of interest that could make him biased in favor of the foundation, but he has refused to recuse himself from the foundation investigation.
In August 2016, the FBI and Justice Department agree to delay major decisions in the investigation until after the presidential election on November 8, 2016. However, multiple leaks to the media show that tensions remain high in the conflict. (The Wall Street Journal, 11/2/2016)
Mid-July 2016—August 2016: FBI and Justice Department officials agree to wait until after the 2016 presidential election to decide the next steps in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.
According to a November 2016 New York Times article, senior FBI and Justice Department officials have a series of meetings over what to do regarding the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, which has been in existence since the summer of 2015, but lacks the grand jury authority that would give it subpoena power. The Times will report, “The investigation, based in New York, had not developed much evidence and was based mostly on information that had surfaced in news stories and the book ‘Clinton Cash,’ according to several law enforcement officials briefed on the case.”
These officials “agreed that making the Clinton Foundation investigation public could influence the presidential race and suggest they were favoring [Republican presidential nominee Donald] Trump. But waiting, they acknowledged, could open them up to criticism from Republicans, who were demanding an investigation. They agreed to keep the case open but wait until after the election to determine their next steps. The move infuriated some agents, who thought that the FBI’s leaders were reining them in because of politics.” (The New York Times, 11/1/2016)
A CNN article published shortly after the Times article will quote an unnamed law enforcement official familiar with the meetings as saying, “It’s just a (message of) ‘hold right now until after the elections — no subpoenas issued, no interviews.'” Although the Times says the meetings happen in August 2016, CNN says the decision to wait is made in a mid-July 2016 meeting. (CNN, 11/2/2016)
During this time frame, on August 12, 2016, a Justice Department official unsuccessfully attempts to shut down the investigation.
November 4, 2016: A majority of voters think Clinton acted illegally.
Four days before the 2016 US presidential election, a majority of voters believe Clinton has done something illegal with her email controversy and/or Clinton Foundation, according to a McClatchy-Marist Poll. Eighty-three percent of likely voters believe she did something wrong, with 51 percent saying she did something illegal and 32 percent saying she something unethical but not illegal. Only 14 percent say she’s done nothing wrong.
Her main opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, has also been beset by scandals and controversies. Seventy-nine percent think Trump did something wrong. Just 26 percent think he’s done something illegal, while 53 percent think he’s done something unethical but not illegal. Only 17 percent think he’s done nothing wrong.
McClatchy Newpapers comments, “The deep suspicion of Clinton is likely a top reason she’s lost much of her lead and the race for the White House has tightened in the race’s closing days.” According to the poll, Clinton is only ahead by one point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
Both candidates are widely disliked. Clinton has an unfavorable rating of 57 percent and Trump has an unfavorable-favorable rating of 61 percent. Both numbers are unprecedented in the history of presidential polling this close to Election Day. (McClatchy Newspapers, 11/4/2016)
August 2, 2010: Clinton suggests letting someone working for her aide’s husband to send her a secure phone.
Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, writes to Clinton in an email, “OK I will [redacted] just FedEx secure cell phone from [Washington] DC. Anthony leaving office to bring me to airport now so hopefully will make it just in time.”
Four hours later, Clinton responds, “Maybe one of Anthony’s trusted staff could deliver secure phone?”
“Anthony” is a reference to Anthony Weiner, who is both Abedin’s husband and a member of Congress at the time. He will resign one year later, due to a sex scandal.
The Associated Press will later comment, “The emails show the degree of trust Clinton had for Weiner before he was hit by scandal.”
It is unclear where Clinton is on this day. State Department schedules list no public events for her between July 27, 2010 and August 2, 2010. But the Associated Press will also note, “The use of secure cell phones is commonplace among State Department staff when traveling to countries with advanced cyber-espionage capacities, such as China or Russia.”
These emails will be released in November 2016. They were not part of the 30,000 work-related emails Clinton turned over in December 2014, even though they are clearly work-related. It will be one of thousands of emails deleted by Clinton that were later recovered by the FBI.
After the release, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner will say it is unclear how the phone might have been delivered, or if it was at all. He will suggest that, in theory, sending a secure phone through FedEx could have been appropriate if the necessary safeguards were taken. “In 2010, secure cell phones were available to State Department employees, and they could be configured in such a way as to render them suitable for transport. When configured in this manner, the device would be inoperable until paired with additional components.” (The Associated Press, 11/3/2016)
August 19, 2014: Clinton and her future campaign chair Podesta appear to discuss classified information before Podesta warns her to stop.
Clinton forwards an email to her future campaign chair John Podesta. It is not clear where the forwarded email comes from, especially considering that Clinton is a private citizen at the time, since the sender’s name is not included. But it discusses nine detailed points on how to deal with the ISIS Islamist movement in Iraq and Syria. The forwarded email starts with the sentence: “Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region.”
Podesta replies with some brief commentary on the email.
Then Clinton emails him back, writing, “Agree but there may be opportunities as the Iraqi piece improves. Also, any idea whose fighters attacked Islamist positions in Tripoli, Libya? Worth analyzing for future purposes.”
Podesta then replies, “Yes and interesting but not for this channel.” (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)
The email chain will be released by WikiLeaks in November 2016. Thus, it is unknown what parts of the chain might be deemed classified by the US government.
March 23, 2015: Clinton meets Obama at the White House, their first meeting since Clinton’s email controversy began.
Clinton meets with President Obama at the White House. This is noteworthy since it appears to be the first time they met since Clinton’s email controversy started on March 2, 2015, and Clinton is only a private citizen at the time. There is no public notice of the meeting beforehand. Afterwards, White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirms that it happened, but provides few details: “President Obama and Secretary Clinton enjoy catching up in person when their schedules permit. This afternoon they met privately for about an hour at the White House and discussed a range of topics.” (Politico, 3/23/2015)
In November 2016, an email released by WikiLeaks will reveal some more about the meeting. One day before the meeting, Clinton aide Huma Abedin emailed Clinton, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, and Clinton foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan. Those three are scheduled to meet with Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes. (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)
According to another email released by WikiLeaks, Obama’s chief of staff Denis McDonough sent Podesta an email on March 17, 2015, asking to meet Podesta in person. Podesta offered to drop by the White House or meet him ‘offsite’ if necessary. The next morning, they ended up meeting at a Starbucks a short walk from the White House. (WikiLeaks, 10/25/2016)
It isn’t known what Clinton and Obama discuss, but it seems probable that Clinton’s email controversy would come up. Three days earlier, on March 20, 2015, the House Benghazi Committee formally requested that Clinton turn over her private email server. Sometime between March 25 and 31, 2015, an employee of the company managing Clinton’s private server will delete and wipe all of Clinton’s emails from her private server. Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign will begin one month later.
September 3, 2015: A Clinton advisor speculates that Bryan Pagliano wants to plead the Fifth because he “retrieved all our emails” for someone, possibly a Clinton Foundation official.
Longtime Clinton advisor Neera Tanden emails Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. The subject heading is “Re: This Bryan Pagliano situation.” Most of their email exchange appears to be about other matters, but Tanden makes the comment, “Bryan was the one who retrieved all our emails for Maura to read. Maybe that is why he’s avoiding testifying.” (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)
This email comes one day after it is first reported that Pagliano is going to plead the Fifth before a Congressional committee that wants to question him about his role managing Clinton’s private email server when she was secretary of state. (The New York Times, 9/5/2015)
It is not clear who “Maura” is. However, the only Maura in Clinton’s inner circle at the time is Maura Pally. She was deputy counsel on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013, she began working for the Clinton Foundation. She was the interim CEO of the foundation from January until April 2015, and she has been vice president of programs at the foundation since then. (Politico, 5/30/2013) (Politico, 4/27/2015)
The FBI’s summary of Pagliano’s December 2015 interview will make no mention of anything like this. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
Perhaps that is because the email will not be publicly known until it is released by WikiLeaks in November 2016.
Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri sends an email to Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta and White House spokesperson Eric Schultz. In it, she forwards a link to a new New York Times article in which FBI Director James Comey suggests that crime could be rising nationwide because police officers are becoming less aggressive due to the “Ferguson effect,” anti-police sentiment following unrest earlier that year in Ferguson, Missouri. Comey’s claim is highly controversial.
Palmieri then comments, “Get a big fat ‘I told you so’ on Comey being a bad choice.”
There is no apparent reply from either Podesta or Schultz.
The email will be released by WikiLeaks in November 2016. (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)
October 28, 2016: A Republican Representative leaks Comey’s letter to Congress.
On this day, FBI Director James Comey sends a letter to eight Congressional committees, revealing that the FBI is at least partially reopening the FBI’s Clinton email investigation due to newly discovered evidence.
Shortly thereafter, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reveals in a Tweet: “FBI Dir [Director] just informed me, ‘The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.’ Case reopened.” The full text of Comey’s letter is leaked to the media a short time later that same day.
Three days later, Chaffetz comments, “I thought I would put it out there. People have a right to know. It was newsworthy. It caught me by surprise. … It is absolutely correct” that the investigation is being reopened, after concluding in July 2016. “They are spending time, money and resources investigating. Nobody knows where it’s going to lead, but the reality is, it is reopened.”
The Democratic Coalition Against Trump announces on October 31, 2016 that it has filed a complaint against Chaffetz with the Office of Congressional Ethics “for his role in releasing information” from Comey. The coalition has also lodged a complaint against Comey with the Justice Department, requesting an investigation into whether his letter violated the federal Hatch Act for taking a political action shortly before an election. (Deseret News, 10/31/2016)
Eric Holder, US attorney general from 2009 to 2015, writes an editorial in the Washington Post with the title: “James Comey is a good man, but he made a serious mistake.”
He writes, “I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to write a vague letter to Congress about emails potentially connected to a matter of public, and political, interest. That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. … Director Comey broke with these fundamental principles. I fear he has unintentionally and negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI. And he has allowed — again without improper motive — misinformation to be spread by partisans with less pure intentions.“
Holder continues, “This controversy has its roots in the director’s July  decision to hold a news conference announcing his recommendation that the Justice Department bring no charges against Hillary Clinton.” He says, given that Attorney General Loretta Lynch recused herself from the case, instead of having Comey “publicly share his professional recommendation, as well as his personal opinions” about the case in a “a stunning breach of protocol,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates could have announced the final decision of the department, without Comey’s extensive public commentary.
Holder concludes, “I served with Jim Comey and I know him well. This is a very difficult piece for me to write. He is a man of integrity and honor. I respect him. But good men make mistakes. In this instance, he has committed a serious error with potentially severe implications.” (The Washington Post, 10/31/2016)
October 30, 2016: Former Attorney General Mukasey claims Comey is in a no-win situation due to his earlier failure to pursue a vigorous Clinton email investigation.
Michael Mukasey, the US attorney general from 2007 to 2009, writes an editorial in the Wall Street Journal with the title: “The FBI Director’s Dishonorable Choice.”
He suggests that FBI Director James Comey’s recent highly controversial reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation shortly before the 2016 US presidential election is due to earlier mistakes Comey made in the investigation.
“Recall that Mr. Comey’s authority extends only to supervising the gathering of facts to be presented to Justice Department lawyers for their confidential determination of whether those facts justify a federal prosecution. Nonetheless, in July  he announced that ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would seek to charge her with a crime, although Mrs. Clinton had classified information on a private non-secure server—at least a misdemeanor under one statute; and although she was ‘extremely careless’ in her handling of classified information such that it was exposed to hacking by hostile foreign nations—a felony under another statute; and apparently had caused the destruction of emails—a felony under two other statutes.”
He continues, “Those decisions were not his to make, nor were the reasons he offered for making them at all tenable: that prosecutions for anything but mishandling large amounts of classified information, accompanied by false statements to investigators, were unprecedented; and that criminal prosecutions for gross negligence were constitutionally suspect.”
He also points to immunity deals made with key suspects that even included destroying their computers after limited searches, and a failure to get to the bottom of computer technician Paul Combetta’s destruction of Clinton’s emails in March 2015, supposedly done entirely on his own for no clear motive. “Why would an FBI director, who at one time was an able and aggressive prosecutor, agree to such terms or accept such a fantastic story?”
He also claims that emails between President Obama and Clinton on her private server suggested that “if Mrs. Clinton was at criminal risk for communicating on her non-secure system, so was [Obama].” The FBI needs the cooperation of a grand jury, and only the legal authority of a grand jury would give the FBI subpoena power to conduct a real investigation. If Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused to allow a grand jury, Comey “could have gone public with his request, and threatened to resign if it was not followed. … Instead, Mr. Comey acceded to the apparent wish of President Obama that no charges be brought.”
That lack of courage put Comey in his no-win situation when more evidence happened to come to light shortly before Election Day. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/30/2016)
President Obama publicly comments for the first time about FBI Director James Comey’s letter on October 28, 2016 that effectively announced the reopening of the Clinton email investigation just 11 days prior to the 2016 US presidential election.
Obama doesn’t directly mention Comey. But he says, “I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
Obama says, “I’ve made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I am meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments.”
But then he makes comments that clearly are supportive of Clinton, by downplaying the implications of reopening the investigation. “Obviously, it’s become a political controversy. The fact of the matter is that Hillary Clinton, having been in the arena for 30 years, oftentimes gets knocked around and people say crazy stuff about her and when she makes a mistake, an honest mistake, it ends up getting blown up as if it’s some crazy thing. I trust her. I know her.”
Obama also notes, “When this was investigated thoroughly last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.” (CNN, 11/2/2016) (CNN, 11/2/2016)
Contrary to Obama’s claims that he has made an effort not to meddle, in October 2015 he made comments supporting Clinton in her email controversy that were criticized. Then he did so again in April 2016.
November 2, 2016: FBI agents felt “handcuffed” over what they could do in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.
The Washington Examiner reports claims to have heard from two anonymous FBI agents. “One source with knowledge of the investigation told the Examiner this week that agents felt gratified both by Comey’s public statement on the investigation and their early findings from the new Clinton-related emails. A second source confirmed that agents, at times, felt ‘handcuffed’ during the initial investigation into Clinton’s private server in terms of what investigative steps they could take.”
The Examiner notes that this is part of a trend of “more than a dozen current and former agents [who] have spoken anonymously to multiple media outlets over the past week, including to the Examiner. Agents are frequently complaining about how FBI Director James Comey handled the FBI Clinton email investigation, as well as facing obstruction from the Justice Department. (The Washington Examiner, 11/2/2016)
November 3, 2016: Previously unknown Huma Abedin emails relevant to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation have been found on her husband’s computer.
CBS News reporter Paula Reid posts a Tweet regarding the FBI’s recently started analysis of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on her husband Anthony Weiner’s computer: “@CBSNews confirms FBI found emails on #AnthonyWeiner computer, related to Hillary Clinton server, that are ‘new’ & not previously reviewed.” (Twitter, 11/3/2016)
In a follow-up Tweet, she explains what she means by “related to Hillary Clinton server:” “An email sent to or from an email address connected to the private Clinton sever. Doesn’t mean it’s HRC’s [Clinton’s] email.” (Twitter, 11/3/2016)
Later in the day, CBS News reports, “The FBI has found emails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the laptop belonging to the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, according to a US official. These emails… are not duplicates of emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server. At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.” (CBS News, 11/3/2016)
November 3, 2016: It is alleged leakers inside the FBI are upset at Clinton, James Comey, and/or the Justice Department.
The Guardian reports that “Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI,” according to multiple FBI sources, “spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.” Both current and former anonymous FBI officials “have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over [FBI Director] James Comey’s July  decision” not to recommend indictment.
One current agent says, “The FBI is Trumpland,” referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”
However, “other sources dispute the depth of support for Trump within the [FBI], though they uniformly stated that Clinton is viewed highly unfavorably.”
A former FBI official says, “There are lots of people who don’t think Trump is qualified, but also believe Clinton is corrupt. What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician. … Many FBI agents were upset at the director, not because he didn’t [recommend to] indict, but they believe he threw the FBI under the bus by taking the heat away from [the Justice Department].”
While FBI agents are upset at Comey and his handling of the investigation, agents are also upset with what is seen as obstructionism from the Justice Department. The Guardian comments, “Some feel Comey needs to address the criticism and provide reassurance that the [FBI], with its wide-ranging investigative and surveillance powers, will comport itself in an apolitical manner.” But since October 28, 2016, when Comey announced the reopening of the investigation, he has stayed silent. (The Guardian, 11/3/2016)
October 27, 2016: Putin scoffs at allegations of Russian involvement in the hacking of US presidential politics.
In a public speech at the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian think tank outside of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses allegations that the Russian government is behind the hacking of US political entities.
“Another mythical and imaginary problem is what I can only call the hysteria the USA has whipped up over supposed Russian meddling in the American presidential election. The United States has plenty of genuinely urgent problems, it would seem, from the colossal public debt to the increase in firearms violence and cases of arbitrary action by the police. You would think that the election debates would concentrate on these and other unresolved problems, but the elite has nothing with which to reassure society, it seems, and therefore attempt to distract public attention by pointing instead to supposed Russian hackers, spies, agents of influence and so forth.”
He adds, “I have to ask myself and ask you too: Does anyone seriously imagine that Russia can somehow influence the American people’s choice? America is not some kind of ‘banana republic’, after all, but is a great power.” (Valdaidclub.com, 10/27/2016)
October 28, 2016: Former FBI officials argue that Comey wouldn’t have reopened the Clinton email investigation so soon before the presidential election unless there was substantial new evidence.
After FBI Director James Comey reopens the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016, there is much public debate why he would this given that there are only 11 days before the US presidential election. Politico reports that some FBI officials claim that it is “inconceivable to them that Comey would announce such a development because of some incremental or cumulative information in such a high-wattage case.”
One unnamed former FBI official says, “It never happens. Once you vacate a high-profile case, unless there’s some very significant omission, they won’t [reopen] it. … Comey’s not that way. He’s a very practical man. It must be something that goes to the substance. It can’t be cumulative. He’s not a grandstander… It’s not his style.”
Another unnamed “former high-ranking FBI official” says, “The only reason he’d do it is if he had something very pertinent. Certainly, 11 days before an election it could well affect the outcome. It just doesn’t make much sense without something very substantive.” (Politico, 10/28/2016)
October 29, 2016: The FBI does have a Clinton Foundation investigation, and Huma Abedin’s newly discovered emails could be useful to it.
Tom Fuentes is a former assistant FBI director at the FBI and a CNN analyst. He says, “The FBI has an intensive investigation, ongoing, into the Clinton Foundation. … [Clinton aide] Huma Abedin and her role in the foundation, and possible allegations concerning the activities of the secretary of state [Clinton] in the nature of the foundation, and possible pay to play – that’s still being looked at. Now you have her emails on a computer where the FBI already has a separate case going for Anthony Weiner’s alleged activities with a minor girl on that case. So, in a sense, it’s almost turned into a one-stop shopping for the FBI as they could have implications affecting three separate investigations on one computer.”
He adds that “Her emails are not just related to the email Clinton [investigation]. That part’s being reopened. The Clinton Foundation case didn’t need to be reopened, it’s never been closed. That’s on-going.”
When asked what his source for this is, he says, “Senior officials at the FBI, several of them, in and out of the bureau.”
In August 2016, CNN reported that there was no FBI Clinton Foundation investigation. But just one day after Fuentes’ comments, both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post will confirm the claims made by Fuentes. (CNN, 10/29/2016)
Politico speculates that FBI Director James Comey may have reopened the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016 at least in part as a response to FBI agents who have been critical of how the investigation was handled. “Comey is also facing dissent from his traditionally conservative rank-and-file agents over the decision in July  not to recommend charges in the Clinton email case. It’s unclear whether that played any role in his decision to essentially announce last week’s development.”
An unnamed “former FBI top official who has worked on similar investigations” says, “The stuff about a rebellion going on inside the [FBI] is absolutely true, but that’s not going to influence his decision. He loves his troops, but it’s not a fair judgment that that’s why he did it.” (Politico, 10/31/2016)
Former Justice Department spokesperson Emily Pierce says that Comey has “come under a lot of criticism from his own people for how he’s handled this. He’s trying to gain back some of their respect. … His ability to do what he does largely depends on the respect within his own ranks. He often does things because he’s trying to prove his bona fides to his rank and file. I think that’s part of it.” (Politico, 10/28/2016)
October 31, 2016: The supervisor of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation is revealed.
It is reported that Michael Steinbach recently spoke at a meeting of the Washington, DC, chapter of the Society of Former FBI Agents. Steinbach is the FBI’s executive assistant director in charge of national security investigations.
According to one former FBI agent who attended the meeting, Steinbach said that he supervised the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, though FBI Director James Comey made the final decision on whether to recommend an indictment or not. It is unclear if Steinbach was the sole supervisor of the investigation or if there were others of his similar authority.
He claims that about 25 FBI employees worked on the investigation. He says that all of them agreed with Comey’s decision not to recommend an indictment. Furthermore, contrary to media reports, there has been no rebellion of FBI agents due to dissatisfaction with the investigation. He staunchly supports everything Comey has done, and finds no fault with any aspect of the investigation. (The Washington Times, 10/31/2016)
Ironically, the same day the article is published in which Steinbach claims there is no FBI rebellion, an unnamed “former FBI top official” is quoted in another article, saying, “The stuff about a rebellion going on inside the [FBI] is absolutely true…” (Politico, 10/31/2016)
October 31, 2016: The New York Times’ editorial board heavily criticizes “James Comey’s Big Mistake.”
That is the title of the op-ed published four days after FBI Director Comey announced the at least partial reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. The editorial states, “Now, thanks to Mr. Comey’s breathtakingly rash and irresponsible decision, the Justice Department and FBI are scrambling to process hundreds of thousands of emails to determine whether there is anything relevant in them before [the US presidential election on November 8, 2016] — all as the country stands by in suspense. This is not how federal investigations are conducted. In claiming to stand outside politics, Mr. Comey has instead created the hottest political football of the 2016 election.
“And he clearly failed to consider the impact of the innuendo he unleashed just days before the election, seemingly more concerned with protecting himself from recrimination by critics in Congress and the FBI. … The Clinton campaign and its supporters are apoplectic. But top federal law enforcement officials from both Democratic and Republican administrations have been just as swift and fierce in their condemnation of Mr. Comey.
“In an election that has featured the obliteration of one long-accepted political or social norm after another, it is sadly fitting that one of the final and perhaps most consequential acts was to undermine the American people’s trust in the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.” (The New York Times, 10/31/2016)
November 2, 2016: Fox News claims the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation is “a very high priority,” and it is “likely” it could eventually lead to an indictment.
Fox News reports that the FBI’s Clinton Foundation has now taken a “very high priority.” This is according to unnamed “separate sources with intimate knowledge of the probe.”
The FBI had already collected a great deal of evidence and interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people. But in recent weeks, emails released on a daily basis by WikiLeaks, plus occasional Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) email releases, have provided many more leads. One source says, “There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day.”
FBI agents are “actively and aggressively pursuing this case.” Due to all the new information, agents will be re-interviewing many people again, some for the third time. Agents are also double checking the FBI interview summaries (known as “302’s”) of Clinton and her top aides, to make sure their answers jibe with all the new information.
The FBI’s White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation. (Fox News, 11/2/2016)
Fox News journalist Bret Baier claims that he spoke to the sources, and they told him that it is “likely” the investigation will eventually result in an indictment or indictments, “barring some obstruction in some way” from the Justice Department. (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
The next day, Baier modifies his claim about an indictment being likely. “I want to be clear about this, and this came from a Q and A that I did with Brit Hume after my show and after we went through everything. He asked me if, after the election, if Hillary Clinton wins, will this investigation continue, and I said, ‘yes absolutely.’ I pressed the sources again and again what would happen. I got to the end of that and said, ‘they have a lot of evidence that would, likely lead to an indictment.’ But that’s not, that’s inartfully answered. That’s not the process. That’s not how you do it. You have to have a prosecutor. If they don’t move forward with a prosecutor with the [Justice Department], there would be, I’m told, a very public call for an independent prosecutor to move forward. There is confidence in the evidence, but for me to phrase it like I did, of course that got picked up everywhere, but the process is different than that.” (Fox News, 11/3/2016)
November 2, 2016: The FBI allegedly has not destroyed the laptops of two Clinton aides, and their immunity deals may have been voided.
In October 2016, it was reported that Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson got immunity deals in return for their cooperation in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, and in return for turning over their computer laptops, the FBI promised to destroy those laptops after analyzing the data on them.
However, on this day, Fox News reporter Bret Baier claims, “As a result of the limited immunity deals to top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Justice Department had tentatively agreed that the FBI would destroy those laptops after a narrow review. We are told definitively that has not happened. Those devices are currently in the FBI field office here in Washington, DC, and are being exploited. The source points out that any immunity deal is null and void if any subject lied at any point in the investigation.” (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
November 2, 2016: It is alleged there is 99% certainty that Clinton’s private server was hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies.
During a story about new developments in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, Fox News journalist Bret Baier claims that his sources also say the FBI has a greater than 99 percent confidence that Clinton’s private email server was hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies. Also, information had been successfully taken from the server.
However, further details, such as which five countries these are, what information was taken, or how the FBI has learned this, are not mentioned. (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey said there was no “direct evidence” Clinton’s email account had been successfully hacked. But the next day, the New York Times reported that “both private experts and federal investigators immediately understood his meaning: It very likely had been breached, but the intruders were far too skilled to leave evidence of their work.”