Comey: Clinton Aides Refused To Cooperate Without Immunity

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziHillary Clinton’s position on the email scandal has repeatedly changed from its first emergence in the presidential campaign from denial of bad judgment to the denial of the use of the private server for any classified information to the denial of any material “marked” as classified to the denial of seeing or understanding classified markings. However, one claim has remained unchanged. Clinton has maintained that she and her staff have “cooperated fully” with investigators. That claim was previously shown to be untrue when it was revealed that neither Clinton nor her staff would agree to speak with State Department investigators even though they said that such interviews were needed to determine the scope any damage to national security or security breaches. Now, however, the lack of cooperation has been put into sharper relief with the testimony of FBI Director James B. Comey this week. My column this week raised serious misgivings over the handling of the investigation with the disclosure of five immunity grants by the Justice Department, including one given to Cheryl Mills. Those misgivings were raised with Comey before the United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where Comey revealed the extent to which Clinton aides refused to cooperate, including an assertion of the privilege against self-incrimination raised before answering questions about a key telephone conference conversation before the infamous “bleaching” over email records being sought by Congress. Comey testifies today before the House Oversight Committee. I am currently scheduled to discuss these issues tonight on the O’Reilly Factor.

Comey insisted that there was nothing “irregular” about the deal given Mills despite the countervailing concerns detailed in my column. His defense of the immunity deals was that the Clinton staff would not cooperate without being protected from criminal prosecution based on their answers or cooperation. The lack of cooperation was captured in the fact that Mills refused to turn over her laptop without such an immunity grant. This was government information needed in a criminal investigation and Mills refused until they gave her immunity. So here is a laptop with potential criminal information and classified information, but Mills withheld it as leverage for immunity under an “active production immunity” deal.

cheryl_d-_millsComey’s defense of the deal was highly dubious: “The FBI judgment was we need to get to that laptop. We need to see what it is. This investigation’s been going on for a year. And this was, in the negotiation, a tool that her lawyer asked for, that the Department of Justice granted so we could get the laptop.” So the Justice Department gave immunity to one of the highest ranking individuals and the figure most often cited as at risk for criminal charges . . . to get a laptop that the FBI could have secured through a order of production. The assumption of a long drawn out fight also assumed that the public disclosure of the Clinton staff withholding key information would not have forced the hand of Mills. Comey also did not address the bizarre role of Mills who, despite being a key and immunized witness, was allowed to sit in on Clinton’s questioning.

As for Paul Combetta, an employee at Platte River Networks, who deleted information that he reportedly knew was being sought by Congress, Comey insisted that “The department granted immunity to the one fellow who erased the stuff so that we could figure out, did anybody tell you to do this, did anybody ask you do this, to see if we could make an obstruction case — we couldn’t.” So you gave immunity to a witness who was facing a real threat of criminal charge and would be likely eager for a plea bargain? Immunity was not needed to get that individual to cooperate but it is also a questionable defense when you also gave immunity to the very high-ranking officials who was involved in the key decisions over the deletion of the emails.

Magnifying these concerns further is a recent disclosure of FBI material from the investigation, including “302 forms” from FBI interviews. There is a telling passage included in one such report from the end of page 18. The paragraph is assumed to refer to the interview of Combetta or another Platte River employee. When the FBI turned to that key telephone conference with Kendall and Mills. The witness immediately stops cooperating and invokes his privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment. It was a telling invocation over a conversation with Clinton’s lawyers. Yet, the Justice Department gave both Combetta and the key Clinton aide in the conversation, Mills, immunity.

Putting aside the questionable judgment behind such immunity grants, one thing is clear: as with the total refusal to cooperate with the State Department investigation, there was a refusal to cooperate with the FBI investigation by key Clinton figures until they received grants of immunity — even without public records.

137 thoughts on “Comey: Clinton Aides Refused To Cooperate Without Immunity”

  1. I did not like Hillary before the email “scandal”. But, I have learned a lot about her and seen all the ugly photos thrown up on the media like the one today and I decided from the scandal that I will vote for her. Ugly photo notwithstanding.

    1. Of course you will be voting for Hillary Clinton. The media presstitutes controlled by the MIC — the military industrial complex — have told you to vote for her. She is their puppet and you are the obedient, pliant, passive sycophant who will do what you are told to you. You have no choice in the matter. You’ve surrendered to the MIC a long time ago.

  2. I can’t stand Clinton (or Trump, ftm), but I don’t blame anyone for refusing to talk to the FBI without immunity.

    I wouldn’t give them the time or the weather without it.

  3. I just watched Prof. Turley on TV. He said the investigation of Hilary is like playing tag, but no one is it. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  4. Johnson stuck out his tongue at a reporter the other day and he seems geographically challenged. Maybe he smoked too much. Stein is sharper but maybe she would have gone off on a tangent about vaccines. I think they would all have made Clinton look good. I don’t think Trump lobbied for that because he thinks he is invincible.

  5. Not to change the subject professor, because far be it from me to deny you your daily dose of Clinton outrage.

    But the Senate just overrode the President’s veto of the 9/11 bill which allows US citizens to sue the Saudi government.

    Sovereign immunity anyone? Do the Republicans think they’re going to skate on this? Or that somehow the US is going to bully the world into a “we can sue you but you can’t sue us” position? Perhaps they realize it’s just a bit of Pander Theater which the Republicans love so much in election years, and they SO DESPERATELY need to get people’s minds off what a horrible candidate they have.

    Anyhoo. It would be great to see a piece about this and a little discussion.

    1. The only Senator to vote w/ Obama was the pitiful and reprehensible Harry Reid. This is not a partisan issue dog face, the vote was 97-1!! Don’t you realize we all got your number. Go to some left wing blog where spinning and lying is acceptable. We don’t play those games here. Your trying to make this partisan was above all else, STUPID! But, then again, that’s your specialty.

      1. Once again you reveal your ignorance and pettiness.

        We don’t play those games here.

        Who is we and what games are you talking about?

        This is a legal blog and sovereign immunity is a big deal, legally and politically. That fact that you have no idea about that reveals nothing more than your broad spectrum ignorance..

        Why don’t you go hang out at BrietBart with your peeps and let the grown-ups talk.

        You are a phony patriot, and you rarely if ever contribute a single intelligent original thought to this board.

        Please go away, or at least stop talking to me.

      2. It’s a sad day when the only member of the Senate to show any balls or brains is Harry Reid.

        JASTA might be the stupidest thing Congress has ever done.

  6. Karen and Squeek,

    If Trump were smart, he would have lobbied to get both Johnson and Stein on the debate stage. He does better w/ groups, and those 2 candidates will take votes away from Clinton and take none from him. Plus, I think Johnson and Stein should be included in the debates. It’s the right thing.

    1. I agree that both Johnson and Stein should have been included in the debates. But I don’t think their presence would garner them very many more votes than they are already likely to get. I also think you are wrong about Johnson taking votes away only from Hillary. I have read reports that some of Johnson’s votes will also come from some Republicans who are displeased with Trump as the Republican candidate, though those same reports do indicate that he has thus far drawn more away from Clinton than from Trump.

      Finally, you point out one of the major problems with Trump in your first sentence, “If Trump were smart…”

  7. Squeaky – when questioned later, she will say she does not recall ever taking the oath of office, ever understanding that oath, getting any training on that oath, etc,

  8. Nick – I don’t know. She seems to have a horrifying large percentage of the population who BOTH believe she is a liar AND will vote for her anyway.

    What do you do with that? If being corrupt does not disqualify a Democrat, I don’t know what would.

    1. That is because people think they are both liars but that he is also grossly unprepared.

    2. Well, I was all for her until the email stuff came out, and I knew she was a crook and a liar. But hey, nobody’s perfect! And I figured the Republicans would nominate somebody just as crooked as she was, maybe just more sophisticated about it. Because let’s face, the “paid speech” gimmick, and the “charitable foundation” swindle are pretty obvious frauds used to receive bribes.

      But then she did the email thing, which was too over the top even for me, who is pretty jaded for my young age. Then, Trump entered the race, and I think he is a very competent and basically decent person. So, I dumped Hillary. When I accuse IsaacB, for example, of calling Trump horrible bad names to justify his own voting for a crook, I do that with some personal knowledge of the process. It is not like it is an alien thought process to me.

      I am not proud to say this about myself, but it is the truth, and if you are going to do bad or stuff, I think you should at least have the guts to face it, and call it what it is.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

      1. I think he is lying grifter with a long record of skirting the law. He could still be convicted.

    3. “If being corrupt does not disqualify a Democrat, I don’t know what would.”

      I don’t know about disqualifying as a Democrat but as a Progressive, it is a necessary quality if you desire to function outside of the rule of law.

  9. And Trump could obey the will of his supporters and have her hung on his first day in office.

  10. Mary Anne, I really like women. But it’s O’k to make remarks about The Donald’s hair do and his pudginess, but no remarks about Hilary’s physical appearance. My wife has made comments to me about Hilary’s appearance. Mostly about her hair when it just looked droopy and she did not look like a professional women.

  11. The lack of coverage by the MSM is example #248 why people are fed up and will not elect Hillary Clinton.

    1. Well, come November 8th we’ll know just are reliable are your predictive abilities. Not all people are fed up with her. I along with tens of millions of others will be voting for her.

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