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Comey & Sec. Clinton: Best Friends Forever?

Former FBI Director Jim Comey's subordinates edited out crucial statements present in his July 5, 2016 statement of exoneration for Hillary Clinton, according to a new report published by The Hill.

Hillary Clinton, left, and Jim Comey, right

Clinton was investigated by Comey's Bureau of Investigation for her extensive use of a private email server while she served as the secretary of State, which led to the transmission of highly classified information without the firewalls provided by government email accounts. Comey's probe was panned due to the poor manner in which it was conducted: among other things, it was revealed that Comey begun drafting the letter of exoneration prior to conducting key interviews with witnesses.

A draft of Comey's letter of exoneration, which was released by Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), shows that mentions of the term "grossly negligent" were removed (along with "evidence supporting felony and misdemeanor violations," per The Hill).

Comey also underplayed the fact that Clinton's email server could have been breached by hostile actors. The Hill reported on this "adjustment":

Comey also originally concluded that it was 'reasonably likely' that Clinton’s nonsecure private server was accessed or hacked by hostile actors though there was no evidence to prove it. But that passage was also changed to the much weaker 'possible,' the memos show.

Senator Johnson, who published the draft memo and was appalled by the removal of these key words from the letter of exoneration, spoke harshly:

The edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions. This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election.