Comey began drafting ‘exoneration statement’ before interviewing Clinton, senators say

Then-FBI Director James Comey began creating a statement exonerating Hillary Clinton in the investigation into her personal email use before interviewing crucial witnesses, including Clinton herself, 2 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Panel said Thursday.

“ Conclusion initial, fact-gathering second— that’ s absolutely no way to run an investigation, ” Committee Leader Chuck Grassley and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote in a notice this week to the FBI. “ The particular FBI should be held to a increased standard than that, especially in a few such great public interest plus controversy. ”

Grassley and Graham mentioned they learned about Comey’ s write “exoneration statement” after reviewing transcripts of interviews with top Comey aides.

“ According to the unredacted portions from the transcripts, it appears that in April or even early May of 2016, Mister. Comey had already decided he’d issue a statement exonerating Admin Clinton, ” the senators stated.

These people added, “ That was long before F agents finished their work. Mister. Comey even circulated an early set up statement to select members of older FBI leadership. The outcome of an analysis should not be prejudged while FBI realtors are still hard at work trying to collect the facts. ”

Clinton, the Democratic president nominee in 2016, was looked into by the FBI for using a personal email address and server to handle categorized information while serving as admin of state.

In July 2016, Comey famously called Clinton’ s e-mail arrangement “ extremely careless” although he decided against recommending felony charges.

In a news release Thursday, the senators said Comey began drafting the statement in April or Might 2016, which was before the FBI evaluated 17 key witnesses, including Clinton herself and other top aides.

The declaration preceded the FBI entering into a good immunity agreement with top Clinton aides with Cheryl Mills plus Heather Samuelson.

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The transcripts are from interviews conducted with the Office of Special Counsel, which usually interviewed James Rybicki, Comey’ t chief of staff, and Trisha Anderson, the principal deputy general advice of national security and cyberlaw, the senators said.

“ It is ambiguous whether the FBI agents actually checking out the case were aware that Mister. Comey had already decided on the particular investigation’ s outcome while their particular work was ongoing, ” the particular senators wrote.

In the Wednesday letter in order to FBI Director Chris Wray, the 2 senators said they have requested many records relating to the drafting from the statement.

Comey was fired as F director by President Trump in-may amid tensions over the Russia analysis.

Fox News’ Jason Donner added to this report.