FBI Director James Comey, who earlier recommended Hillary Clinton not be indicted over her private email server, granted immunity to five Clinton aides who themselves could have been indicted.
The tech specialist who scrubbed Hillary Clinton’s email archive and was recently found to have sought help on Reddit for how to hide a certain “VIP’s” email address was acting at the behest of Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and IT specialist Bryan Pagliano, a top House Republican charged Wednesday.
Paul Combetta, a tech specialist involved with maintenance of Hillary Clinton’s server, now infamously started a Reddit thread asking users how to “strip out” emails from archived servers.
As argued by Rep. Jim Jordan, Combetta must have been working at the behest of Cheryl Mills and Brian Pagliano, two Clinton aides who also received FBI immunity deals:
On July 24, Combetta went online to Reddit where he asked for help stripping out “a VIP’s (VERY VIP) email address from a bunch of archived emails.” He also wrote, “Basically, they don’t want the VIP’s email address exposed to anyone.”
Jordan told Fox after the hearing the “they” Combetta referred to could only be Mills and Pagliano, based on the FBI’s own records. Like Combetta, Mills and Pagliano were granted limited immunity deals by the Justice Department, but in such a high profile case, legal experts said the deals would not go through without senior FBI leadership consultation.
FBI Director Comey acknowledged that he knew about the Reddit thread. Republican lawmakers argue Combetta lied to Congress.
The following is a transcript of the exchange in Congress:
“And so when he got immunity what did you learn?” Chaffetz asked.
“We learned no one directed him to do that,” Comey replied.
“You really think he did this by himself?” Chaffetz pressed.
Comey stated that the FBI found nothing to contradict Combetta’s story. This has since been shown not to be the case.
Another interesting bit about Comey’s testimony is he also refused to answer questions about the Clinton Foundation. It has since been shown that there are extensive ties between FBI Director Comey and the Clinton Foundation.
Cheryl Mills, a lawyer for Hillary Clinton, also appears to have lied to the FBI. Fox News reported:
Chaffetz also alleged that Mills misled the FBI and kept her immunity deal. He produced for the panel an email from February 27, 2010 that Mills wrote to Bill Clinton aide Justin Cooper, who managed the email system.
“Fyi – hrc email coming back — is server okay?” Mills wrote. But what Mills told the FBI in her interview last April conflicts with that. Mills told agents she didn’t know about the Clinton server, used exclusively for government business, until after they left the State Department in January 2013, a full three years later.
Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., challenged Comey on the Mills immunity deal, which he said was much broader than previously reported. In exchange for FBI access to her laptop, Issa said Mills was shielded from prosecution for obstruction of justice and destroying government records.
Cheryl Mills, Brian Pagliano, and Paul Combetta are not the only Clinton aides who seem to have received immunity deals under the risk of indictment.
John Bentel, Former Director of Information Resources Management for the State Department, received immunity before the investigation even began.
As reported by the Daily Caller:
Politico reported that Bentel was granted immunity even before he was interviewed by the FBI.
That may be because he appears to have given false answers to Congress about what he knew about Clinton’s email server. In a deposition with the House Select Committee on Benghazi last year, Bentel, who retired in 2012, said that he did not know anything about Clinton’s server. But two of Bentel’s subordinates told the State Department’s inspector general that Bentel told them that Clinton’s server had been approved by the State Department’s lawyers. They also said Bentel warned them to stop discussing the server.
Heather Samuelson, a Clinton loyalist with no experience in federal records keeping, was hand-picked to go through emails and determine what ones were “personal” and what ones were to be handed over to the federal government. Samuelson worked under Cheryl Mills and Clinton attorney David Kendall.
As Politico reported:
Heather Samuelson, a lawyer and 2008 Clinton campaign staffer, worked under Mills and Clinton’s attorney David Kendall to sift through her ex-boss’ messages. She helped separate those that were purely personal, which were not turned over to the State Department, from those that were work-related…
But Clinton-related sources said that Kendall and Mills, not Samuelson, ultimately made the determinations about which emails should be preserved before Clinton decided to delete the rest.
That makes five Clinton aides directly implicated in either directing the destruction of federal records, abetting the non-secured transmission of classified material, or lying to federal investigators given immunity by FBI Director James Comey.