Comey 2016: Decision To Not Suggest Charges Against Hillary Came ‘After’ Interview [VIDEO]
Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Judiciary Committee in September 2016 that the decision to not prosecute Hillary Clinton over mishandling of her State Department e-mail was made “after” interviewing key witnesses, but a memo written by Comey exonerating Clinton prior those interviews contradicts that claim, Red State recently found.
Federal investigators interviewed Clinton on July 2, 2016 and on July 5 Comey announced that he would not recommend to the Justice Department to file charges against Clinton. (RELATED: New Comey Revelations Undercut What Ex-FBI Chief Told Congress Last Year [VIDEO])
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham say 17 witnesses were interviewed after Comey drafted memos that cleared Clinton from prosecution.
However, a few months later, Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe asked Comey if the bureau ever had any intention of suggesting Clinton should be prosecuted by the time investigators interviewed her because of how poorly the FBI handled Clinton’s interview.
“Director, did you make the decision not to recommend criminal charges relating to classified information before or after Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the FBI on July the 2nd?” Ratcliffe first asked.
Comey replied, “After.”
“Okay. Then I am going to need your help in trying to understand how that is possible. I think there are a lot of prosecutors or former prosecutors that are shaking our heads at how that could be the case,” Ratcliffe said.
Rep. Ratcliffe, a member of the committee, scolded Comey during the September 2016 hearing saying he was shocked when he heard that Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were allowed to be present when Clinton was interviewed.
Ratcliffe said, “Any reasonable prosecutor out there who would have allowed two immunized witnesses central to the prosecution proving the case against her to sit in the room with the interview, the FBI interview, of the subject of that investigation.”
Ratcliffe, a former prosecutor and Justice Department employee himself, went on to say, “I have never met a prosecutor that has ever had that. So, to me, the only way that an interview takes place with the two central witnesses and the subject of the investigation is if the decision has already been made that all three people in that room are not going to be charged.”
Comey responded, “I know in our political lives sometimes people casually accuse each other of being dishonest, but if colleagues of ours believe I am lying about when I made this decision, please urge them to contact me privately so we can have a conversation about this. All I can do is to tell you again, the decision was made after that, because I didn’t know what was going to happen in that interview.”
Comey added, “She would maybe lie during the interview in a way we could prove—let me finish. I would also urge you to tell me what tools we have as prosecutors and investigators to kick out of an interview someone that the subject says is their lawyer.”
Ratcliffe, though, argued back that the entire interview should not have happened if Mills and Samuelson were going to be in the room during Clinton’s interview.
“That is not my point. The interview never should have taken place if you were going to allow the central witnesses that you needed to prove the case to sit there and listen to the testimony that the subject was going to give. It never happens. It has never happened to you, and it has never happened to me or any other prosecutor that I have met,” Ratcliffe said.
The Texas Republican noted, “And you know you have defended the people that were involved in this of being great, but if it has never happened, I wonder why this is a case of first precedent with respect to that practice that you and I have never seen in our careers.”
Comey replied, “You and I don’t control the universe of what has happened. I suspect it is very unusual. A key fact, though, that maybe is leading to some confusion here is we had already concluded we didn’t have a prosecutable case against Heather Samuelson or Cheryl Mills at that point. If they were targets of our investigation, maybe we would have canceled the interview, but, frankly, our focus was on the subject. The subject at that point was Hillary Clinton.”