FBI's Inquiry into Obama DOJ's Role in Hillary Clinton Email Probe
In the final stages of the 2016 presidential election, the FBI launched an investigation into the alleged mishandling of classified information by a presidential candidate. This investigation sparked questions about the independence of the Justice Department and led to calls for an investigation into the chief investigator. Supporters of the candidate, Hillary Clinton, claimed that then-FBI Director James Comey had violated the law by informing Congress that he had reopened an investigation into Clinton's use of a private, insecure email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Questioning the Independence of the Justice Department
FBI officials questioned the independence of then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and considered requesting a special counsel to investigate Clinton's private email server. This information was revealed in a heavily redacted transcript of an interview with Trisha Anderson, then a deputy assistant FBI director. Anderson expressed her concerns about public perception of Lynch's independence after Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton while his wife's investigation was ongoing.
Consideration of an Independent Prosecutor
Anderson also revealed that FBI officials had discussed whether the FBI director should recommend the appointment of an independent prosecutor to investigate the Clinton email case. These facts were obtained from a heavily redacted 2017 transcript of an interview conducted by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), an independent agency investigating whether Comey had violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity on government time or using government resources.
The OSC promptly began an investigation into Comey following a complaint, but the probe was terminated after President Trump fired Comey in May 2017. In contrast, the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General did not complete its report on the Russian collusion allegations against Trump until 2019. A subsequent report by special counsel John Durham into the origins of the Trump-Russia allegations was not completed until earlier this year, two years after Trump left office.
Accountability and Redactions
Mike Howell, director of Heritage’s Oversight Project, noted that the only people to ever hold Hillary Clinton accountable were the American voters who rejected her bid for presidency. He expressed frustration over the continued redaction of information seven years after the infamous tarmac meeting between Clinton and Lynch.
Justice Department's Response
The Justice Department declined to comment on Anderson's statements to the OSC regarding concerns that the department was protecting the Clintons. The OSC, an independent investigative agency, operates under four federal statutes: the Civil Service Reform Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, the Hatch Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. These laws prohibit federal employees from using government time and resources for partisan politics.
Discussion of a Special Counsel
During her interview with the OSC, Anderson confirmed that the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Clinton was discussed. She also mentioned that numerous congressional letters had requested the appointment of a special counsel.
Concerns about Independence
Anderson discussed numerous meetings with high-level Justice Department staff to discuss the FBI investigation of Clinton. She expressed concerns about whether Lynch, as Attorney General, could maintain independence during the Clinton probe. This concern seems consistent with Comey's testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2017, where he stated that Lynch seemed to try to interfere with the probe of the Democratic nominee by pushing a political line.
Accountability and Consequences
Howell argued that the failure to hold Clinton accountable paved the way for the Biden family corruption scheme and led to Jake Sullivan, who was involved in the creation of the Russia hoax, becoming Biden's national security adviser. He called for accountability, stating that everyday Americans are living with the consequences.
How Political Controversies Impact New Businesses
The controversies surrounding the 2016 presidential election, particularly the FBI probe into Hillary Clinton's alleged mishandling of classified information, could have several implications for new businesses.
Uncertainty in the Political Climate
Such political controversies can create an unstable political climate, leading to uncertainty for businesses. This uncertainty can make it difficult for new businesses to plan for the future, potentially affecting investment decisions and growth strategies.
Changes in Regulatory Environment
Political controversies can also lead to changes in the regulatory environment. For instance, the controversy surrounding the FBI's investigation into Clinton's email use could potentially lead to stricter regulations on data handling and cybersecurity. New businesses, particularly those in the tech sector, may need to invest more in data security measures to comply with these regulations.
In conclusion, while political controversies like the one surrounding the 2016 presidential election can create challenges for new businesses, they also underscore the importance of staying informed about political developments and understanding their potential impact on the business environment. Businesses must be prepared to adapt their strategies in response to these changes.