June 28, 2016: The House Benghazi Committee releases their final report, which lacks any new politically damaging revelations.

The report is over 800 pages. and comes after 15 months of investigation, at a cost of over $7 million. However, the New York Times comments that the report “offers a handful of new details but nothing that will alter the conventional narrative about the events of September 11, 2012,” the date of the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The report does point out numerous failures regarding the US government’s response to the attack, but those were mostly outside the control of Clinton’s State Department, such as a slow response time from the US military.

The Times also comments that “after nearly four years and eight congressional investigations, Mrs. Clinton emerged largely unscathed. […] In the end, the biggest revelation unearthed by the [committee] came 15 months ago: the disclosure that Hillary Clinton had used a private email address and server during her four years as secretary of state.”

Clinton comments, “I’ll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it’s pretty clear that it’s time to move on.” (The New York Times, 6/28/2016)

 

July 1, 2016: Attorney General Loretta Lynch will accept whatever recommendations the FBI and career prosecutors give in the Clinton investigation.

Jonathan Capehart interviews U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at the Aspen Ideas Festival on July 1, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Jonathan Capehart interviews Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Aspen, Colorado, on July 1, 2016. (Credit: MSNBC)

Attorney General Loretta Lynch says of the FBI’s Clinton investigation, “The recommendations will be reviewed by career supervisors in the Department of Justice and in the FBI, and by the FBI director, and then as is the common process, they present it to me and I fully expect to accept their recommendations.”

She doesn’t completely recuse herself from the process, saying that if she did that she wouldn’t even be able to see the FBI’s report. She says, “While I don’t have a role in those findings, in coming up with those findings or making those recommendations as to how to go forward, I will be briefed on it and I will be accepting their recommendations.” (Politico, 7/1/2016)

The New York Times comments, “Her decision removes the possibility that a political appointee will overrule investigators in the case.” The Justice Department supposedly had been moving towards the arrangement since at least April 2016, but a private meeting on June 27, 2016 between Lynch and Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, “set off a political furor and made the decision all but inevitable.” (The New York Times, 7/1/2016)

Lynch claims that she had been planning to essentially recuse herself for months, although there is no evidence of this. But it seems clear her controversial meeting with Clinton played a role. She says of the meeting, “I certainly wouldn’t do it again. Because I think it has cast a shadow.” (Politico, 7/1/2016)

The Times says that the US attorney general often follows the recommendations of career prosecutors, so she “is keeping the regular process largely intact.” However, when the FBI, led by Comey, wanted to bring felony charges against former CIA Director David Petraeus in 2013, Lynch’s predecessor Eric Holder arranged a plea deal, reducing the charge to a misdemeanor and no jail time. The created a “deep and public rift” between the FBI and the Justice Department. (The New York Times, 7/1/2016)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says President Obama didn’t play a role in Lynch’s decision, nor did he offer input on her decision to make that announcement. (Politico, 7/1/2016)

July 3, 2016: A former FBI official says leaks claiming Clinton will not be indicted “are not being made by anybody that knows what they’re talking about.”

Photo of former FBI director Tom Fuentes appearing on CNN with Fredricka Whitfield on July 3, 2016. (Credit: CNN)

CNN photo of former FBI director Tom Fuentes in an interview with Fredricka Whitfield on July 3, 2016. (Credit: CNN)

Former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes comments about the FBI’s Clinton investigation: “What I’ve been hearing is, is that the leaks that are supposedly being attributed that say she’s not likely to be charged are not being made by anybody that knows what they’re talking about. I’ve talked to people who at least know that there’s nothing leaking out of the FBI about any decision that’s been made.”

He continues, “I just question the leaks that are coming out. From what I’ve heard, there are no leaks coming out. And agents that even know and that have friends that are working on this case don’t know what’s going on. This has been tightly held. And also, within the FBI, any threat of a leak of the investigation against employees of the FBI is a career ender. It’s serious and they can be prosecuted. And they know that. And so that’s why you don’t often have leaks come out during the FBI part of it, but when they start disseminating it, especially when the report goes across the street to the Department of Justice, then you’re going to start hearing about that.” (CNN, 7/3/2016)

July 3, 2016: A former FBI official says the relatively short time Clinton was interviewed by the FBI could mean “the case has already been made” that she should be indicted.

Former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes (Credit: CNN)

Former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes (Credit: CNN)

Former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes is asked if anything can be surmised from the relatively short amount of time (three and a half hours) the FBI questioned Clinton. He says, “Oftentimes, the subject interview at the end of a case… may not be that important. That’s one reason why it could be short. It could be they already have all the evidence they need. It doesn’t matter, really, what she says. They have physical and documentary evidence to substantiate the case. Or they were asking her questions that may lead to additional interviews. We don’t know that. But oftentimes, a short interview with the main subject at the end of a case usually means the case has already been made and the evidence already obtained and they don’t really need other than what the subject can offer reasons or mitigation for the information the FBI already has.”

When asked if Clinton’s recent comment that she’s been waiting since August 2015 to be interviewed by the FBI is true, Fuentes says, “No. I don’t believe that’s true.”

He says that while she might have been ready to talk to them, they weren’t ready to talk to her until after they’d compiled all the other evidence. “[Then] when they were ready to talk to her in recent times, she hasn’t been as quick to be interviewed, and I’ve heard discussions about the timing of that.” (CNN, 7/3/2016)