Comey: Combetta Insisted That He Acted Alone In Destroying Evidence After He Was Given Immunity

I recently wrote a column on FBI investigation into the Clinton email scandal and revised my view as to the handling of the investigation in light of the five immunity deals handed out by the Justice Department.  I had previously noted that FBI Director James Comey was within accepted lines of prosecutorial discretion in declining criminal charges, even though I believed that such charges could have been brought. However, the news of the immunity deals (and particularly the deal given top ranking Clinton aide Cheryl Mills) was baffling and those deals seriously undermined the ability to bring criminal charges in my view.  Now, Comey has testified before both the Senate and the House. His answers only magnified concerns over the impact and even the intent of granting immunity to those most at risk of criminal charges.

Before his testimony in the House, Comey spoke in the Senate and stated that he gave immunity to Mills because she refused to turn over her laptop — a highly dubious rationale, as I previously discussed.

First the timeline is now becoming clear and it makes the immunity deal even more bizarre given what the FBI knew about Colorado-based tech specialist Paul Combetta and Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and IT specialist Bryan Pagliano.

cheryl_d-_millsIn July 2014, then-chief of staff Cheryl Mills was told that Clinton’s emails were being sought.

On July 23, 2014 Combetta got a call from Mills on the server and emails.

On July 24, 2014, Combetta received an email from Clinton IT specialist Pagliano.

On July 24, Combetta then went online to Reddit to solicit help on stripping out “a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived emails.” He revealed that “they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone.”

What is incredible is that the Justice Department would give immunity to the parties on both ends of those communications — guaranteeing that a criminal prosecution is no longer a real threat.

bleachbit-paul-combettaComey deepened those concerns with his testimony.  After these conversations with Mills and Clinton aides, Combetta destroyed the evidence.  Comey admits that that Mills did disclose the preservation order.  Combetta however mysteriously then destroys the evidence.  Comey was asked what he got from the immunity deal with Combetta.  He said “We learned no one directed him to do that.”  First, that is a pretty poor showing for immunity, particularly when there is usually a proffer offered before an immunity grant on the expected content of immunized testimony.  The greater problem is that it makes little sense.  Why would Combetta take it upon himself to destroy evidence that he knew was being sought by Congress and was already a matter of intense national attention.  Comey could not explain why he simply accepted Combetta’s word or why that denial was worth an immunity deal.

 

None of that makes any logical sense if you are trying to build a criminal case.  It certainly strains credulity to believe that a techie in Colorado decided to unilaterally defy the United States Congress and destroy evidence in one of the nation’s greatest scandals.  The fact that this occurred immediately after calls from Clinton figures like Mills would raise considerable doubt in most investigators.  Yet, the Justice Department jumped at the chance to immunize the key players in the key communications.  That is a legitimate matter of congressional concern . . . and investigation.

140 thoughts on “Comey: Combetta Insisted That He Acted Alone In Destroying Evidence After He Was Given Immunity

    • Combetta not supposed to blamed Hillary, otherwise the option is that he would a statistic of Hillary …like DNC whistleblower Seth Rich was murdered on that Sunday in Washington DC after wikileak..

  1. issacbasonkavich, September 29, 2016 at 5:58 pm
    “Ken Rogers, You put it another way and with much needed humor.”

    martinandcarol, September 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm
    “We laughed our way through your post twice. Something we need right now.
    “There are so many “Tootsie Rolls” in our American pool we don’t need to swim. We can walk out.”

    Happy to lighten your load a little. We seem to find ourselves in one of those either laugh-or-cry historical situations, so to avoid being grim, we should consider adopting Timothy Leary’s recommendation in the 60’s during the civil rights struggle: “We need to laugh the rednecks out of Mississippi.”

    Although we obviously still have a long way to go before we laugh the politicians out of Washington, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Dana Carvey, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey, Amy Pohler, and other comedic artists who’ve skewered pol-cats have played an important role in countering the influence of that pompous and self-serving species, the “public servant.”

    As there’s every indication that we’re well on our way down the road to Armageddon, may their tribe increase.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/272573-darrell-hammond-impersonating-trump-like-no-other-experience

  2. Could you imagine giving Bonnie and Clyde immunity if the admitted that they robbed all those banks? Would they give the average American immunity for anything? It’s like playing tag and nobody is it. Do they think we’re all turnips?

  3. Why do we not know the identities of the prosecutors who negotiated all these deals? All of the heat has been on Director Comey, but I would like to know the names of the prosecutors who negotiated all these immunities and deposition details, what was off limits and so forth. They should be identified and testify to the various congressional committees. There are also rumors of frustrated FBI agents involved in the investigation. If true, they should follow the FBI’s whistleblower procedures, whatever they are, to report their concerns, and this should also be shared with the Congressional committees.

    • The destruction of government records under subpoena has never been “very little” in any context. People go to jail over such things. Presidents resign. Lawyers lose their jobs and licenses. If you honestly believe this kind of conduct is “very little,” then it’s clear you aren’t reaching opinions based on principle and honest thinking.

  4. Appears more and more that one of the most hypocritical governments in the known physical universe is also one of the most corrupt.

    Is that an oxymoron?

  5. Good question!

    “Well, how exactly did he [Comey] anticipate gathering this proof, when the DOJ had proactively shielded the five people tasked with setting up the private system and then destroying it? Was he hoping to extract a confession directly from Clinton?”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/440579/hillary-clinton-email-scandal-fbi-investigation-biased-all-along?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Trending%20Email%20Reoccurring-%20Monday%20to%20Thursday%202016-09-30&utm_term=NR5PM%20Actives

  6. I understand that the immunity given was use and derivative use immunity which says that the IRS will not use the testimony against the witness directly or indirectly (derivatively) but can still prosecute the witness based on evidence from independent sources. Thus, for example, if individual x is given use and derivative use immunity and individual y is given use and derivative use immunity each could still be prosecuted based on information from the other. If under a grant of use and derivative use immunity, individual x gives testimony incriminating individual y (who was also given such immunity), then individual y can be prosecuted on the basis of individual x’s testimony even though individual x can’t be prosecuted based on individual x’s testimony.

    Moreover, the issue of importance to the country that the FBI had to focus on as first priority and resolve reasonably quickly was whether Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted. One way to address that issue quickly and efficiently is to give use and derivative use immunity to all close to the ultimate target (here Hillary Clinton) so that, if any of them have incriminating information against the target (here Hillary Clinton), it comes out fast. The matter of overriding importance is whether Hillary Clinton committed a crime and should be prosecuted; it is a matter of significantly less importance whether Mills or any other person committed a crime for which she should be prosecuted, but again even giving Mills and the others use and derivative use immunity will not assure Mills and the others that they will not be prosecuted.

    That is why the brouhaha about the IRS and Lois Lerner was and is a tempest in a teapot. As the “scandal” was imagined by the Republicans, it was an administration led effort to harm its “enemies.” If that were true, it would have been very important to know that. Lerner seemed to be at or close to the center of it and would certainly know if the administration was involved. Her testimony could have been forced by giving her statutory immunity which is nothing more than use and derivative use immunity. She could not then claim the Fifth Amendment and would have to testify. The country would then know whether the administration was corrupt.

    Similarly, by giving use and derivative use immunity to persons around Hillary Clinton in a position to know if crimes were committed, the DOJ (which is the one giving immunity) and the FBI could proceed efficiently to determine whether Hillary Clinton committed a crime. On the basis of the evidence, including the immunized testimony, the FBI Director determined that there was no provable crime. That was the most important thing to know. .

    It is not a matter of material national importance whether whether Mills or any person other than Hillary Clinton committed a crime. Let’s move on, keeping in mind that they can still be prosecuted on the basis other than their own immunized testimony.

    • Honestly, that makes absolutely no sense because it proceeds under the assumption that those close to Clinton will honestly relate what they knew and when they knew it, including hanging out to dry their superiors. What it triggered were a bunch of people saying they didn’t remember.

  7. @tnash80hotmailcom

    “He [John Dean] continued to be actively involved in the cover up for near a year; when he saw it was unravelling, he ‘jumped ship’ and gave testimony which helped to sink his co-conspirators.”

    You quite apparently didn’t get THE MEMO from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, written by President Obama’s collegial appointee, Cass Sunstein, that there ARE NO CONSPIRACIES involving agents of the US Government. PERIOD.

    You should try to understand WHY there are no legitimate conspiracy theories involving agents of the US Government, and what the Government is doing to protect us from conspiracy theorists (CT) and from ourselves, if we don’t reject CT’s immediately.

    Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, what about the Government’s conspiracy theory that 19 Arabs armed only with boxcutters, aluminum airplanes, and jet fuel successfully conspired to defeat the most sophisticated air defense system on the planet, pulverized into microscopic dust three steel and concrete skyscrapers, with one plane punched a hole through several reinforced walls of the Pentagon, and made a fourth plane disappear into the ground in Pennsylvania, with some of the hijackers turning up documentedly alive and well not long afterward?”

    The operative word in that question is, of course, “Government,” which is allowed to have conspiracy theories, so long as they don’t implicate important people in the US Military-Industrial-Financial-Intelligence Complex.

    If all this isn’t clear enough, see the following article regarding the Obama/Sunstein “cognitive infiltration” plan to protect the Government from criticism by those who exasperatingly do not conduct themselves like normal, loyal, obedient American sheeple:
    http://www.salon.com/2010/01/15/sunstein_2/

  8. In a way, I’m actually glad that this took place. The American public will know clearly what 4 or 8 years of an HRC administration will look like.

    Choose wisely.

    Personally, I myself could never vote for Trump. Not after he made the comment that Snowden should be executed. But he is the lesser evil as far as I’m concerned… by far.

  9. One more thing, though it’s nothing new…

    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
    scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
    frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
    says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
    the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
    paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
    but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature.”

  10. […] This post by Jonathan Turley includes a timeline suggesting the firm destroyed subpoenaed evidence at the request of Cheryl Mills and/or Bryan Pagliano. Remember them, the human faces of  Crime 1, The Server Head? Turley initially defended Comey’s July recommendation that Hillary not be prosecuted. I didn’t. Comey clearly sold out the rule of law. Now that he’s learned the FBI dished out fast and loose immunity deals, Turley has changed his mind. He is astonished that the Justice Department “would give immunity to the parties on both ends of those communications—guaranteeing that a criminal prosecution is no longer a real threat.” However, his initial defense helped buy Hillary time and helped Comey deflect criticism. Delay. Obstruct. Then more damning evidence appears—but time has moved on. The election is now less than six weeks away. […]

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