Former FBI Director James Comey’s infamous press conference in July 2016 where he scolded Hillary Clinton for being ‘extremely careless’ with her private email server was tamped down from an early draft that hit her for being ‘grossly negligent.’
That earlier version from about two months earlier used different words which carried a different legal connotation.
‘There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information,’ read the May 2 draft, the Hill reported.
What Comey actually said as he announced the decision not to prosecute in a highly unusual and high stakes press conference was: ‘Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.’
THAT’S GROSS: An early draft of former FBI Director’s July 2016 statement called Hillary Clinton ‘grossly negligent,’ but the words he ultimately used called her conduct ‘extremely careless’
Republican Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley of Iowa is probing the tick-tock of the Comey’s handling the case, which has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.
His probe comes even as investigators are probing Russian interference in the elections, and whether President Donald Trump’s firing of Comey was part of an effort to obstruct justice.
‘Apparently, as of May 2016, then-Director Comey and other FBI officials believed the facts fit that gross negligence standard until later edits were made,’Grassley wrote in a letter to Comey’s replacement, FBI Director Charles Wray, in a letter sent out Monday.
Those officials identifying in taking part in the draft are Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, and chief of staff Jim Rybicki.
Hillary Clinton speaks onstage during The Streicker Center hosts a Special Evening with Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at The Streicker Center on November 1, 2017 in New York City
Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn-in before testifing before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey’s loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president
Gross negligence in handling classified intelligence can carry criminal penalties that include jail time and fines.
Comey has already taken for beginning work on the statement that essentially exonerated Clinton even while slapping her failures even while the investigation was ongoing and before she sat for an interview.
‘Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation. The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy,’ Grassley and Sen. Lindsey Graham earlier wrote Wray in September.
President Trump chimed in with tweet: ”Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over…and so much more. A rigged system!’
A source remarked on the newly uncovered draft, telling the Hill: ‘The red-line history clearly shows the original statement was designed to allege Clinton committed gross negligence and then someone changed it to extreme carelessness. Clearly there was a difference of opinion on the term derived right from the statute.’