Newly Released Emails Show ‘Ethical Mess’ Among Top Echelon FBI Officials, Group Says

June 22, 2019 Updated: June 23, 2019

WASHINGTON—Former FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017 just a few hours after the bureau’s top leadership drafted a letter to Congress that “muddled” his congressional testimony the week before.

That testimony concerned Huma Abedin’s use of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecured private email system, according to the nonprofit government watchdog Judicial Watch.

Comey was terminated by President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017, the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee received the letter concerning Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony claiming that Abedin made a “regular practice” of forwarding “hundreds and thousands” of emails from the Clinton system to her husband’s laptop computer.

Abedin’s husband is former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), who the same month in 2017 pleaded guilty to sending obscene photos to a minor. He was released from prison earlier this year.

“Director Comey spoke of hundreds and thousands of emails being forwarded from Ms. Abedin to Mr. Weiner’s laptop computer,” FBI Assistant Director Gregory Brower wrote in the letter to the committee.

Brower said 49,000 emails were forwarded, but only “a small number were a result of manual forwarding” to Weiner by Abedin. A dozen of the emails contained classified government information, he said.

Trump fired Comey for making “serious mistakes” in the FBI investigation of Clinton’s use of the unsecured private email server instead of a government system to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business from 2009 to 2013, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Judicial Watch said June 20 that it had received 345 pages of internal FBI documents, including an email thread initiated at 6:34 a.m. on May 9, 2017, by bureau attorney Lisa Page to multiple high-ranking bureau executives concerning Comey’s inaccurate congressional testimony.

“After a flurry of emails, by 8:56 a.m. Comey’s chief of staff, Jim Rybicki, sent the group a draft letter for Congress, saying, ‘Below is a draft that has been reviewed by the Director. Please let me know your thoughts,’” Judicial Watch said in releasing the document.

“At 2:02 PM, Asst. Director for Congressional Affairs, Greg Brower, asked his colleagues to review the latest iteration of the draft letter to the Senate,” Judicial Watch continued. The final version of the letter was sent shortly thereafter.

The emails were among 13,000 pages of records ordered to be released to the watchdog group by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, in a lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a Dec. 4, 2017, Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents released by Judicial Watch also included a March 24, 2017, email from New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt to then-FBI Assistant Director for Public Affairs Michael Kortan.

Schmidt provided Kortan with multiple details about an upcoming story written by three of his newsroom colleagues, but he asked no questions of the FBI executive.

And an April 10, 2017, email from Page to top FBI colleagues described an advance look at an upcoming story given to them by The New York Times.

A third thread of emails released by Judicial Watch showed a spat between then-lovers Page and former FBI counter-intelligence agent Peter Strzok, who managed the Clinton email probe, concerning a Judicial Watch revelation:

Lisa Page: “Are you serious, dude? I sent to [redacted]. So I’ve committed some grave sin for not including you on this? My apologies, DAD Strzok, sir.”

Peter Strzok: “You know what? Take a step back and look at this… And stop with the DAD Sir bullsh*t. That is not the point and you know it.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “These new Page-Strzok emails show the Obama FBI to be a mess both professionally and ethically.”

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