Issa: FBI Can Now Choose To Look ‘Less Effective’ Or ‘Corrupt’

REUTERS/Larry Downing

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
Font Size:

WASHINGTON — House Judiciary Committee member and Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa says the Federal Bureau of Investigation got nothing out of punting the Hillary Clinton classified e-mail probe but a “bad reputation.”

“The FBI can now choose between looking like a less effective investigative organization or they can look corrupt,” Issa told The Daily Caller Wednesday night. “Because either they gave too much or too little along with the Justice Department.”

Issa revealed at a committee hearing Wednesday that the immunity granted to Clinton aides during the FBI investigation of her mishandling of classified documents in her private e-mail server went far beyond the scope that was previously reported.

Former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills and another senior staffer had “some” classified material on laptops they turned over to the bureau for its investigation, but the aides still received broad immunity. At least five Clinton aides received similar immunity.

“Isn’t there a double standard that when you granted immunity to these 5 individuals you took them out of the reach of prosecution for crimes committed related to destruction of documents or withholding or other crimes pursuant to Congressional subpoenas?,” Issa asked FBI Director James Comey at the committee hearing Wednesday.

“I don’t think anybody was given ‘transactional immunity,’” Comey responded.

Issa shot back, “Oh, really? Now we have not allowed to make your immunities public, but I am going to take the privilege of making one part of it public. I read them. You gave immunity from destruction to both of those attorneys, not just turning the documents over, specifically for destruction. You did the same thing with these other two individuals… you gave them immunity from destruction.”

Comey at that point admitted that he could be wrong, but later said he was “pretty sure” what was granted was “use immunity” and that “transactional immunity” was not granted.

“The FBI director seemed to act like it didn’t happen until we re-read and called him on it. And that’s because those documents were never in our possession. We were just allowed to see them, so when there was some dispute we called the Justice Department so we could review them again and we reviewed them again and they are already a quid pro quo—a trade,” Issa told TheDC.

He explained, “In return for giving this data on this computer, you not only get immunity from the computer’s contents but you get this broader immunity from all prosecution, including the prosecution in that they prosecuted David Petraeus on.”

Issa noted that the immunity given to the Clinton aides will protect them long after the Obama administration has packed up and left Washington.

“Each of these immunity documents have the same sort of a flaw. It’s overly broad for what they received. We don’t know the proffer because in no case do they present any documentation of a proffer. In other words, what they say that they would tell them or even what they did tell them,” Issa said. “So we don’t know what they offered for the immunity they got, unless if it was for the computer and we don’t know what they got.”

“Either [the FBI] gave too much for too little, which they got nothing, or they were corrupted essentially by the Obama-Clinton machine. That, quite frankly, has now given people a pass. There were criminal acts committed and no one was punished. That’s what we learned today,” the congressman said.

Follow Kerry on Twitter