US House Judiciary Committee republican members can’t stand it that their efforts to save President Donald Trump from the noose that’s coming from the FBI’s Trump-Russia Probe being led by the Special Counsel Robert Mueller III, have been for naught but that isn’t from lack of trying.
But they are taking one last crack at trying to please their chief by hopefully finding some dirt implicating the former FBI Director James Comey and his investigation into the email activities of Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was the US Secretary of State from 2009-2013.. The number of GOP conspiracy theories regarding Mr. Comey’s handling of any investigation into her alleged crimes are off the charts.
This explains their final round of the lame duck committee GOP members setting up hearings in December 2018 where they can question Mr. Comey for hours behind closed doors.
Thanks to Lawfare, here is the entire transcript of the US house Judiciary Committee lawmakers’ questioning and Mr. Comey’s testimony. Document: Transcript of James Comey’s Dec. 7 Interview With House …
My opinion is that Hillary Clinton’s boneheaded usage of a private server and email system as Secretary of State has provided the right with legitimate fodder to use against her. If she did this to protect her privacy by blocking right wingers from having access to her work, this was a foolish decision because there is nothing she can do to protect herself from the republicans’ relentless attacks against her which have become a cottage industry. At the time this story was being made public, she needed to accept responsibility, to apologize while acting human as she explained her actions. Running from the press didn’t help her.
But still it is my opinion that the news coverage about Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of her emails was way overblown. I never did believe that she did something that is illegal to where she could be criminally charged. However, she did act counter to the president’s office directions regarding email handling procedures. but it is important to note that none of these procedures were codified into law until after she left the US State Department in 2013.
As to whether the Russians ever hacked Mrs. Clinton’s personal 30,000 plus emails as separate from her work product on her personal non government server, I’m convinced that they never succeeded. This belief is based on the reality that if the Russians had possession of these documents, they would have been leaked long ago.
From what I am led to understand, anything properly marked “classified” by the state department is automatically blocked to where it would have been impossible for anyone to forward to her an email which was stamped “classified.” Consequently, any email she sent or responded to was not noted as being “classified.
Any audit done at any time under any state secretary would have found some documents which should have been classified or which were improperly marked. These slip-ups are then retroactively assigned a classified status. This is exactly what Mr. Comey found when he reviewed thousands of emails handled by Mrs. Clinton. And then of course, the state department does have a long history and reputation for over classifying data. The way this system worked, there is no way that Mr. Comey would ever be able to demonstrate that Mrs. Clinton had any criminal intent.
(Executive Order 13526 spells out how documents should be classified, including a header on the document clearly identifying the email as classified as “confidential,” “secret” or “top secret but mistakes (human error) happen where the documents are not properly marked.
What Mr. Comey discovered after reviewing all of her emails was about 110 out of thousands that should have been marked “classified’ and 3 which were not headed with the word “classified” at the top of the page but there was a “C” in the body of the document.
In addition, at the time when Mrs. Clinton was serving as secretary of state from 2009-2013, nothing was codified into law until late 2014, which would have prevented her by law from using a private server, as her predecessors have admitted to doing. Thus, the only way, the FBI Director Comey could have criminally charged Mrs. Clinton, is if she ever lied to the FBI, which of course, she did not.
As per an 11/7/16 ABC News report, “President Obama signed the Federal Records Act into law in late November 2014, requiring the head of each agency (including the state department) to “make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures and essential transactions of the agency.”
The irony is that the hacked material in the possession of the Russians that were eventually leaked via WikiLeaks, had been collected from a myriad of sites but NONE of the leaked material were proven to be from Mrs. Clinton’s private server. But the government server that Mrs. Clinton would have been obligated to use, had never been secure during the entire time that she worked for the State Department, and it has been proven to have been hacked multiple times. (See: State Department’s unclassified email systems hacked | Reuters Nov 17, 2014; Sources: State Dept Hack the ‘worst ever’ – CNNPolitics.com 5/10/ 2015 ).
As per FOIA.gov., Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. This means that everyone who works for the US government has to preserve their work product where the public can request copies as per the FOIA. This makes a process of responding to emails sent via government systems from non-governmental email systems, as being out of compliance with the intent of the law which is to make it as easy as possible for the government to honor all FOIA requests.
Both Hillary Clinton and most recently, President’s adviser/ daughter Ivanka Kushner who did their business via personal email accounts, failed in honoring the 1967 the Freedom of Information Act when they responded to emails sent via government systems from their personal email systems. This is not sufficient compliance.
Incidentally, the 12/8/18 WSJ report published the tidbit that Mr. Comey shared with members of Congress this week that he was concerned about officials in the bureau’s New York field office who had leaked sensitive information to Mr. Trump’s supporter Rudy Giuliani in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign.
At the next hearing, I would like the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee to ask the following questions:
1.) I would like further clarification regarding Mr. Comey’s recent off-the-cuff remarks about FBI officials in the bureau’s New York field office who had leaked sensitive information to Mr. Trump’s supporter Rudy Giuliani in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign.
2.) Have there been any audits of the state department’s non classified and non secure server post 2013 and what were the results?
3.) Since the FBI and the GOP lawmakers were so concerned about state department’s classified documents possibly having mistakenly seeped into the mix of non-classified data, where some documents have to be classified, retroactively what has been done to secure the governmental server designated to handle these emails. How many times has this US state department’s non-secure server been successfully hacked while Mrs. Clinton was state secretary and since then?
4.) Where’s the GOP outrage when the VP Mike Pence had been found to be been guilty of similar shenanigans? (See: This story from Tony Cook of the Indianapolis Star)