The FBI rushed in the months ahead of the 2016 presidential election to accommodate Hillary Clinton’s request for expedited processing of information from its investigation into her secret emails, according to documents released Monday.
Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest legal group, obtained hundreds of pages of documents after suing the FBI for ignoring a public records request.
Among the documents are emails from then-FBI General Counsel James Baker recounting his conversation with Clinton attorney Doug Kendall in the weeks after then-FBI Director James B. Comey cleared the Democratic presidential candidate of criminal wrongdoing.
Mr. Kendall was seeking investigative documents, and Mr. Baker said he told Mr. Kendall that the FBI would process them quickly, once the bureau received an official request.
“They will send it in the morning. I said that we would process it expeditiously. David asked us to focus first on the secretary’s 302,” Mr. Baker wrote, referring to the FBI’s name for notes of interviews agents perform during investigations.
“We will have to focus on this issue tomorrow and get the 302 out the door as soon as possible and then focus on the rest of the stuff,” Mr. Baker told FBI colleagues.
He asked for action by the end of that week, saying “we need to move as quickly as possible on this.”
Included on the emails were FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who left the bureau under a cloud after her vehement anti-Trump sentiments were revealed.
The emails don’t detail any apparent illegal behavior but do signal an accommodating relationship that is very different from the approach the FBI took toward Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“They were bending over backward to accommodate one target while taking unprecedented actions against another,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. He said the other documents show “colluding” between Mrs. Clinton’s operation and the FBI in pushing the investigation into Mr. Trump.
In one email released Monday, Mr. Baker said he would give Mr. Kendall an “alert” ahead of the public release of the 302 form from Mrs. Clinton’s interview with the FBI.
That interview has been the subject of much criticism, coming late in the process. Several of Mrs. Clinton’s attorneys, who were also subjects of the investigation, were also allowed to sit in for her interview.
In another email released by Judicial Watch on Monday, Ms. Page in August 2016, a month after the Clinton investigation was closed, revealed “there were four (I think) 302s that had never been written.”
Mr. Fitton said the documents should spur the Justice Department to reopen the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
“The initial investigation was a shame and a joke, and Attorney General Barr needs to take a fresh, independent look at the decision not to prosecute her and others,” Mr. Fitton told The Washington Times.
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