Sunday, June 17, 2018
IG Horowitz Said the FBI Hillary Email Investigation Was not Political -- But Read What He Said before Reaching His Conclusion
TODAY'S NEWS -- THE IG REPORT ON THE FBI INVESTIGATION OF HILLARY'S EMAILS IS A SWAMP DOCUMENT. We have all heard the explanations for DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz' report. • You know -- the one in which he wrote : “In particular, we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.”....And he wrote : "The text messages and instant messages sent by these employees included statements of hostility toward then candidate Trump and statements of support for candidate Clinton."....And : “Some of these text messages and instant messages mixed political commentary with discussions about the Midyear investigation, and raised concerns that political bias may have impacted investigative decisions.”....And : "We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, for the admitted purpose of preventing them from telling him not to make the statement, and to instruct his subordinates in the FBI to do the same." Yep. THAT Report. the one in which Horowitz published these quotes -- actually, text messages exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” Strzok and Page, romantically involved, both served for a short time on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation team, and of whom the IG report revealed a new one in which Strzok vowed to "stop" Trump from becoming President. “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok. “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.....And text messages in which he made it clear that as many as five total FBI employees exchanged politically charged messages. The report revealed instant messages between unnamed agents, labeled “Agent 1” and “Agent 5,” discussing their jobs in August 2016 : “I find anyone who enjoys [this job] an absolute f---ing idiot. If you don’t think so, ask them one more question. Who are you voting for? I guarantee you it will be Donald Drumpf,” Agent 1 sent. “I forgot about drumpf...that’s so sad and pathetic if they want to vote for him,” Agent 5 responded. “Someone who can’t answer a question. Someone who can’t be professional for even a second.” Agent 5 later wrote: “I would rather have brunch with Trump and a bunch of his supporters like the ones from Ohio that are retarded.” • Yep. THAT Report. • And, then, after 500 pages of ripping apart the FBI for its handling of the Hillary email investigation, it is THAT Report in which Horowitz decides to refer five FBI employees for investigation, revealing that more bureau officials than previously thought were exchanging anti-Trump messages. AND, in THAT Report, at the end, Horowitz found no evidence connecting those political opinions held by FBI officials to decisions made in the Clinton investigation : “There were clearly tensions and disagreements in a number of important areas between Midyear agents and prosecutors. However, we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions. Nonetheless, these messages cast a cloud over the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation and the investigation’s credibility.” • Yep. THAT Report. The one in which Horowitz wrote that the FBI -- and specifically Strzok -- did not act quickly enough after the discovery of Clinton emails on the laptop of ex-Reprepresentative Anthony Weiner in the fall of 2016. The report says Strzok and others argued that the Russia investigation was a “higher priority” at the time than reviewing the laptop. “We found this explanation unpersuasive and concerning,” the report said, noting the FBI could have gotten a search warrant in late September, but waited more than a month to do so -- ultimately revisiting the case days before the election. Clinton has long said that announcement contributed to her defeat. But the report also suggested that Strzok, ironically, may have acted out of bias for Clinton in slow-walking the laptop review. And, THAT Report in which Horowitz also criticized then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s infamous meeting on an Arizona tarmac with former President Bill Clinton just days before the FBI decided it would not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. The report said investigators "found no evidence" of an "inappropriate discussion." But it found that Lynch’s "failure to recognize the appearance problem created by former President Clinton’s visit and to take action to cut the visit short was an error in judgment." • THAT REPORT. Stzrok. Page. McCabe. Comey. Lynch. Add Obama to that list. But, the Inspector General, like the rest of the Deep State and its propagandist media and ProgDem protectors, found no evidence that "documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions." • All of us know just how Fake that conclusion is. But, instead of my words, read the words of IG Horowitz himself -- and don't be fooled into believing that he didn't read and approve the Executive Summary that some are saying was written by Deep Staters at his IG office. Horowitz read it all -- and if he didn't, he is still responsible for it. So, let's read what I find to be the most damning words Horowitz wrote before finding no "political bias." • • • THE ENTIRE FBI HILLARY EMAIL PROBE WAS LOADED WITH POLITICAL BIAS. Here is the heart of it, and it touches the real culprits -- Lynch and Obama and Bill Clinton -- not the Deep State underlings who are being tossed under the bus while the ProgDem Swamp elites escape. • • • THE IG REPORT COVERS THE COMEY-LYNCH MEETING ON THE WORD "MATTER." • "A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election, Oversight and Review Division 18-04 June 2018. CHAPTER FOUR : DECISION TO PUBLICLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE MIDYEAR INVESTIGATION AND REACTION TO WHITE HOUSE STATEMENTS ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION (Report page 59ff). Part B. September 28, 2015 Meeting between Attorney General Lynch and Director Comey : "In late September and early October 2015, Comey and Lynch each had upcoming media and congressional appearances. Anticipating that they would be asked whether the Department and FBI had opened an investigation into former Secretary Clinton, Comey asked to meet with Lynch to coordinate what they would say. Comey told the OIG that it was the first time the two of them would be asked questions about the investigation publicly, and he wanted to discuss how they should talk about it given that there had been news coverage of the referral and 'a lot of public discussion about that the FBI is already looking [into] this.' The meeting was held on September 28, 2015, and lasted approximately 15 minutes. Participants in the meeting included Lynch, Axelrod, and Toscas [Deputy Assistant AG, NSD, DOJ, George Toscas] from the Department, and Comey, Rybicki [Comey Chief of Staff], and then Deputy Director Giuliano from the FBI. 1. Comey’s Account of the Meeting. Comey told the OIG that during this meeting AG Lynch agreed they needed to confirm the existence of the investigation, but she said not to use the word 'investigation,' and instead to call it a 'matter.' Comey said that Lynch seemed slightly irritated at him when she said this, and that he took it as a direction. Comey stated : And I remember saying, 'Well, what should I call it?' And she said, 'Call it a matter.' And I said, 'Why would I do that?' And she said, 'I just want you to do that and so I would very much appreciate it if you would not refer to it as an investigation.' And the reason that gave me pause is, it was during a period of time which lasted, where I knew from the open source that the Clinton campaign was keen not to use the word investigation....[A]nd so that one concerned me and I remember getting a lump in my stomach and deciding at that moment should I fight on this or not. Comey told the OIG that he decided not to fight this instruction from the AG, but that it 'made [his] spider sense tingle' and caused him to “worry...that she’s carrying water for the [Clinton] campaign[.]' As described in Chapter Six, Comey told the OIG and testified before Congress that this instruction from Lynch was one of the factors that influenced his unilateral decision to make a public statement on July 5, 2016, without coordinating with the Department. However, Comey also said to us that he had no other reason to question Lynch’s motives at that time, stating, '[I]n fact my experience with her has always been very good and independent, and she always struck me as an independent-minded person[.]' Comey stated that one of the reasons he remembered this meeting so well was that Toscas made a comment after the meeting about the 'Federal Bureau of Matters,' indicating to Comey that Toscas 'had the same reaction I did to it.' He said that Toscas did not say explicitly that he shared Comey’s concerns about the meeting, but was 'signaling' agreement to him through 'body language and humor.' Rybicki and Giuliano did not specifically recall the discussion that took place at the meeting, other than that AG Lynch told Comey to refer to the investigation as a 'matter.' Giuliano stated, 'I don’t remember that specific [meeting]. I do remember the topic. And I do remember thinking that (A) it’s ridiculous, and (B) quite honestly, I didn’t care what they called it....It wasn’t going to change what we did.' He recalled discussions with the Midyear team after the meeting with Lynch, telling the OIG that 'a lot of people got wrapped around the axle' about the issue and 'thought that that was kind of getting into the politics of the investigation.' He also stated that Comey was 'definitely troubled by it. However, Rybicki said that he did not recall Comey being troubled by the meeting or expressing concern that the instruction from Lynch was an effort to coordinate with the Clinton campaign. Rybicki also said that he personally did not come away from the meeting with the view that Lynch was biased. Rybicki did recall Toscas joking about the 'Federal Bureau of Matters.' 2. Lynch’s Recollection of the Meeting. Lynch told the OIG that Comey expressed concern during the meeting about how to comply with the Department’s longstanding policy of neither confirming nor denying ongoing criminal investigations in the face of direct questions about thenumber of agents assigned to the case and the resources dedicated to it, because answering those questions implicitly would acknowledge that there was an open investigation. Lynch said that providing testimony about the allocation of resourcesor the way that the Department works a case is a normal practice, but that in her view, they were not ready to publicly confirm an investigation. Lynch stated that her discussion with Comey was framed in terms of how they could testify about the resources dedicated to the investigation without breaking Department policy. Lynch said that Comey was seeking guidance on how to handle those issues, particularly given that the referral was public, and that detailed information about the investigation had been discussed in the press. Lynch said that she was aware of numerous letters from Members of Congress requesting information about the investigation, and that her meeting with Comey took place around the same time as a telephone call she had with Senator Charles Grassley, who wanted to discuss the Department’s handling of Bryan Pagliano, a State Department employee who set up one of Clinton’s servers, in order to inform Congress’s decision as to whether to grant him immunity to compel his testimony before Congress. Lynch told the OIG : Senator Grassley was asking me literally will I confirm that there is a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton, who are the other targets, who are the subjects, has a grand jury been impaneled, has this young man [Pagliano] been given immunity, would I give him a copy of the immunity order, and all the things that, that Oversight typically asks for. So I knew, and I certainly had the view, that we had to be clear and open with Oversight. You know, whether it’s me or the Director. But consistent with our law enforcement obligations, there are some doors that we do not open. And I did not think that we were ready to open that door on the Hill at that time. Lynch said that her concerns about opening the door to detailed questions about the investigation informed her view that the Department should not confirm that there was an investigation. She said that she recalled stating at the meeting with Comey, '[T]hey don’t need us to tell them that there is an investigation. They need us to confirm that there is an investigation. And there is a difference.' She explained : 'And once we confirm it publicly, either by saying yes there is an investigation, or by talking about it in a way that confirms it, the next series of questions is going to be is it criminal. And it’s all going to be about is the Secretary a subject or a target. And there were others involved as well. There are other people beyond her who may or may not be named, but, you know, you start having these discussions. When will it be over? What are you finding? All those things that in fact Grassley did ask.' The OIG asked Lynch if she instructed or told Comey, 'I want you to call it a matter.' Lynch said that she did not and would not have, because that was not how she spoke to people. She told the OIG that she remembered saying the following at the meeting : 'Well I, I do remember saying, you know, we typically say we have enough resources to handle the matter.... I don’t know if I used other words like the case, you know, the inquiry, or something like that. But I do remember saying that, and I think I may have been saying that because, again, I was always careful not to talk about an investigation.' Based on notes and Department emails, the OIG determined that Lynch’s call with Senator Grassley was scheduled for later that same day, September 28, 2015. According to talking points prepared for this call, Lynch intended to tell Senator Grassley that the Department could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation or persons or entities under investigation, consistent with longstanding Department policy. The talking points stated, 'This policy, which has been applied across Administrations, is designed to protect the integrity of our investigations and to avoid any appearance of political influence. I was getting questioned about the referral...and is it going to lead to an investigation and, you know, we have it, we acknowledge it, we’re going to handle it. And that’s all I can say kind of thing. And so I know that in addition to saying...yes, everyone knows there’s an investigation. They don’t need us to tell them that. They need us to confirm it, and we don’t do that. And here’s why we don’t do that. I remember making those statements. And I remember saying but of course you’ve got to...respond. And one way to respond is just to say...you’ve got what you need to handle the matter.' Lynch said that she thought that there had been agreement at the meeting about what to say. Her takeaway was that they were going to take steps not to confirm that there was an official investigation open and would be careful not to do so in how they discussed it. Lynch stated, '[I]t wasn’t a long meeting. It was that, it wasn’t contentious. Nobody seemed upset. So it was more of a discussion.' She said that she did not recall Comey or anyone else expressing disagreement, or Comey asking, 'Why on earth would I do that?' Lynch said that the decision to avoid confirming an investigation was not made with any political motive in mind, and that she did not coordinate messaging with the Clinton campaign. Lynch told the OIG that she was surprised to learn from Comey’s later congressional testimony that he interpreted the discussion at this meeting as evidence of potential political bias. She stated : 'I was surprised. I was disappointed, somewhat angry. And mostly surprised that he had never raised it either at the time or later, that if it was a concern -- I was surprised that if he thought that it was a problem, he was okay also handling things in that way. I just had never viewed him as someone who was reluctant to raise issues or concerns, given that I had known him for, for some time [.]' Lynch recalled Toscas making a joke about the 'Federal Bureau of Matters' to one of the agents who was sitting beside him, and people laughing. She said that she took this as a joke, as good-natured 'ribbing' or 'teasing,' and that the laughter told her that others in attendance also took it as a joke. Axelrod told us that the discussion about whether to acknowledge an 'investigation' was just one small part of that meeting. He said that Lynch suggested using the term 'matter' as a way of 'thread[ing] the needle' to avoid violating Department policy while also not appearing evasive. According to Axelrod, no one from the FBI raised objections during the meeting, and the tone of the discussion was collegial. He said that he thought that Comey and Lynch had reached a 'mutual agreement that using the term ‘matter’ was the best way to thread the needle.' Axelrod told the OIG that he was surprised to hear Comey’s later congressional testimony that he (Comey) felt uncomfortable with the discussion, which Axelrod said was not consistent with his recollection of Comey’s reaction in the room, and did not 'square with...[his] recollection of the facts.' 3. Toscas’s Notes and Recollection of the Meeting Toscas took detailed notes at the September 28 meeting, which he provided to the OIG. Toscas said that his notes were unusually lengthy for such a brief meeting because AAG Carlin was out of town and he was asked to attend in Carlin’s place, and he wanted to be able to tell Carlin what happened. Referencing his notes, Toscas testified to the OIG at length about what took place during the meeting. According to Toscas, Comey told Lynch that he planned to acknowledge at a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) roundtable that the FBI had received the referral from the IC IG and that it was being properly staffed and receiving all necessary resources. Comey stated that he planned to say that the FBI does not comment on its investigations per longstanding policy, but that all of its investigations are done professionally and timely. Toscas said that Comey assured Lynch that he would not say that they had opened an investigation, but that this would be implicit in what he said, and there would be news reports afterwards saying that there was an investigation. According to Toscas, Lynch replied that she preferred 'to discuss it in terms of a matter.... [T]his is the way I do it and then it avoids this issue because we should neither confirm nor deny.' Toscas said that he interpreted Lynch’s statement as expressing her preference rather than telling Comey what he should do. Toscas stated he did not recall Lynch instructing Comey to call it a matter, and he thought he would have remembered that if it had occurred. He also said that he did not interpret Lynch’s comment as her 'trying to shade [the investigation] into something it wasn’t for some particular reason.' However, he acknowledged that he was not the FBI Director, and that Comey may have had a different perspective. Toscas said that after Lynch’s comment, Axelrod stated that they needed to coordinate what to say with a letter sent by the FBI General Counsel to the State Department the previous week and attached to a public filing in FOIA litigation, in which the FBI took 'great pains to not call this an investigation, so as not to confirm the existence of an investigation.' According to Toscas, the Department and the FBI had used the same language in other letters to Congress, and Lynch had a call scheduled later that day with Senator Charles Grassley in which she planned to tell him that it would be premature to acknowledge or share information about any investigation. Toscas said that Axelrod’s statement led to a back and forth between Comey and Axelrod, during which Comey proposed modifying the letters to Congress to acknowledge that the FBI had opened an investigation. Toscas said that he was not sure if Comey was 'toying with [Axelrod] at that point because I don’t think we would ever reissue letters that...clearly state normal positions.' Toscas said that Comey then asked Axelrod directly, 'Why not use the word, you know we’re trying to treat it like any other case and would we do that ordinarily?' In response, Axelrod again mentioned the need to be consistent with the letters that were sent the previous week. Toscas told the OIG that he mentioned at the meeting that the Department opens only a small fraction of the referrals it receives from the intelligence community as criminal investigations, and that the Department may not want to publicly acknowledge an investigation into former Secretary Clinton because it could serve as precedent for other referrals. Toscas said he also made clear to the group that Midyear was a criminal investigation, and that the prosecutors had referred to it as an investigation in letters to counsel and in search warrant applications. Toscas said that Comey concluded the meeting by agreeing to call it a matter, stating, 'OK, I think that will work.' This statement also appeared in Toscas’s contemporaneous notes. Toscas told the OIG that there was no indication at the time that Comey was concerned about the meeting or that the meeting had led him to question Lynch’s impartiality. Asked whether he made a comment to Comey about the 'Federal Bureau of Matters,' Toscas said that he did not specifically recall doing so but may have. He said that, if he did, he intended it as a joke rather than as a criticism of Lynch. He told the OIG : 'I don’t know if I ribbed [Comey] walking out. You know he’s a friend of mine.... In any event, maybe I said that, maybe I didn’t. It wouldn’t faze me if I did, because it was in line with what I was saying to them [about 'investigation' being part of the FBI’s name]. But it makes it appear as though I was sort of knocking the AG [Lynch] in the way they reported it, which is obviously why some goofball felt that they should talk about that to the newspapers. C. October 1, 2015. Comey Meeting with Media. In a 'pen and pad' with reporters on October 1, 2015, Comey used the term 'matter' in response to questions about whether the FBI had opened an investigation. According to a transcript of the appearance, Comey told reporters that he recently had a closed session with HPSCI and would say publicly what he told the committee : that the FBI had received a referral involving former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email account and the possible exposure of classified information through that account, but that he was limited in what he could say because the FBI does not talk about its ongoing work. Comey stated, 'I am following this very closely and I get briefed on it regularly.... I am confident that we have the resources and the personnel assigned to the matter, as we do all our work, so we’re able to do it as we do all our work in a professional, prompt and independent way.' Asked about the timeline for completing any investigation, Comey stated, 'Again, I’m not going to talk about this particular matter.... Part of doing our work well is we don’t talk about it while we do it.' Following Comey’s appearance, various news articles reported that Comey had acknowledged the existence of an investigation into former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Comey received an email containing news clips summarizing several of these articles and forwarded it to Rybicki, stating, 'Will leave it to you to tell DOJ that I never used the word investigation.' Rybicki replied, 'Already covered. I read back your statement to them and told them this is exactly the type of confusion we were concerned about as we were crafting.' " • That was a report of a political meeting about how to soften the news that the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of her emails while Secretary of State. Obama's political appointee heads of the FBI and DOJ, and their staff. And, the political decision was taken to call the "investigation" a "matter." That was a political decision. • • • OBAMA TRIES TO STEER THE FBI INVESTIGATION TO CLEAR HILLARY. And, the White House followed up on it. Here is the next part of the Horowitz report : "II. Reaction to White House Statements about the Midyear Investigation. On Sunday, October 11, 2015, an interview of then President Barack Obama was aired on the CBS show 60 Minutes. During this interview, Obama characterized former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server as a 'mistake,' but stated that it did not 'pose a national security problem' and was 'not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.' Obama also stated that the issue had been 'ginned up' because of the presidential race. Two days later, on October 13, 2015, Obama’s Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, was asked whether Obama’s comments 'should be read as an attempt to steer the direction of the FBI investigation.' Earnest replied that Obama made his comments based on public information, and they were not intended to influence an independent investigation. Former President Obama’s comments caused concern among FBI officials about the potential impact on the investigation. Former EAD [Executive Assistant Director] John Giacalone told the OIG, '[W]e open up criminal investigations. And you have the President of the United States saying this is just a mistake....That’s a problem, right?' Former AD Randy Coleman expressed the same concern, stating, '[The FBI had] a group of guys in here, professionals, that are conducting an investigation. And the...President of the United States just came out and said there’s no there there.' Coleman said that he would have expected someone in FBI or Department leadership to contact one of Obama’s national security officials, and 'tell [him or her], hey knock it off.' Michael Steinbach, the former EAD for the National Security Branch, told the OIG that the comments generated 'controversy' within the FBI. Steinbach stated, '[Y]ou’re prejudging the results of an investigation before they really even have been started....That’s...hugely problematic for us. Department prosecutors also were concerned. Responding to an email from Laufman about Obama’s 60 Minutes interview, Toscas stated, 'Saw this. And as [one of the prosecutors] and I discussed last week, of course it had no—and will never have any -- effect whatsoever on our work and our independent judgment.' Prosecutor 4 told the OIG that Obama’s statement was the genesis of the FBI’s suspicions that the Department’s leadership was politically biased. This prosecutor stated, 'I know that the FBI considered those [statements] inappropriate. And that it...[generated] a suspicion that there was a political bias...going on from the Executive Branch. Asked about former President Obama’s statements, Lynch stated, 'I never spoke to the President directly about it, because I never spoke to him about any case or investigation. He didn’t speak to me about it either.' She told the OIG that she did not think the President should have made the comment on 60 Minutes. She stated, 'I don’t know where it came from. And I don’t know, I don’t know why he would have thought that either, to be honest with you. Because, to me, anyone looking at this case would have seen a national security component to it. So I don’t, I truly do not know where he got that from.' Former President Obama’s Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, made additional comments about the Midyear investigation during a press conference in early 2016. On January 29, 2016, in response to a question about whether the White House thought that former Secretary Clinton would be indicted, Earnest stated : 'That will be a decision that is made by the Department of Justice and prosecutors over there. What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it’s trending, but I’m certainly not going to weigh in on a decision or in that process in any way. That is a decision to be made solely by independent prosecutors. But, again, based on what we know from the Department of Justice, it does not seem to be headed in that direction.' After this press conference, Melanie Newman, the Director of the Department’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA), received a transcript of Earnest’s statements about the investigation and forwarded it to Axelrod and three other Department officials. Newman stated in the email to these officials, 'I’ve spoken to the [White House] and asked that they clarify this, to make clear they have no insight into this investigation. And if they don’t correct it, I will. I’m waiting to hear back.' This email also was forwarded to Lynch. Asked about this email, Newman said that she spoke to Earnest that day. Newman said that Earnest told her that he had based his comments on what he had read in news stories, not conversations with anyone in the Department. She said that no one in the White House ever reached out to her about the Midyear investigation, nor was she aware of White House staff reaching out to anyone else in the Department, noting, 'They were very, very, very careful about engaging with us on that topic.' Axelrod similarly told the OIG that Earnest’s comments implied that the White House had received a briefing on the Midyear investigation, which he said 'never happened.' Lynch’s Chief of Staff stated that Department officials were 'very upset' about Earnest’s statement, because 'as far as we knew, no one at Department of Justice had spoken to anyone in the White House about it.' The Chief of Staff told the OIG that they were particularly concerned by Earnest’s statement that former Secretary Clinton was not a target. The Chief of Staff said that she spoke to officials in the White House Counsel’s Office to tell them that the Department did not know where Earnest was getting his information, and to ask them to talk to Earnest. The Chief of Staff did not specifically recall Lynch’s reaction to this statement, but said that she was '[p]robably very upset....[A]nytime there was ever any suggestion that the White House, or that DOJ had improperly done something in an investigation, or discussed something of...a political nature, she would not be happy about it.' Prosecutors again were concerned by these comments. On January 29, 2016, Toscas sent the following email to Laufman, seeking to assure the team that the investigation would not be influenced by White House statements : 'As discussed, I spoke with ODAG and they are not aware of anybody from DOJ sharing any such information or assessment with the White House, as the below statements appear to suggest. I want to reiterate what I’ve told you and the team throughout our work on this investigation -- the explicit direction we received from the AG and DAG on multiple occasions is that they have total confidence in the team of prosecutors who are working on this case and they have instructed us to proceed with this matter as we would any other, without interference of any kind, and with the independence we have in all of our cases. They have never wavered from that and have never said or done anything to send or suggest a contrary message. With respect to the below statements that erroneously imply that the Department has shared information about, or an assessment of, this matter with the White House, we should not and will not allow such irresponsible statements to have any effect at all on our work. We will continue to thoroughly and professionally investigate this matter as we would any other -- and, as always -- and as you, John [Carlin], and I have said repeatedly -- we will follow the facts wherever they lead. Thanks.' Toscas emailed Laufman a second time, stating, 'Please feel free to share this with the whole team (if you haven’t already).' During his interview with the OIG, Toscas described Earnest’s statements as 'goofy' and 'ridiculous,' expressing frustration that he had to address comments by the White House when preparing Lynch to testify before Congress because of the perception of political bias that they created. Asked about Earnest’s statements, prosecutors told the OIG that the only interactions they had with the White House concerning the investigation were with the White House Counsel’s Office to obtain a classification review of documents in a Special Access Program (SAP) controlled by the White House and to interview a National Security Council staffer. Prosecutor 1 told the OIG that he was not aware of contacts between Department leadership and the White House Counsel’s Office or White House staff. Notes taken by Laufman indicate that on January 30, 2016, one of the prosecutors reached out to their point of contact in the White House Counsel’s Office and asked about Earnest’s comments. According to these notes, this prosecutor was told that the content of the discussions between the White House Counsel’s Office and the Midyear team about the classification review and the interview of the staffer was limited to a small group of people in the White House Counsel’s Office, and that nothing that the prosecutors had discussed with the White House Counsel’s Office would be known to Earnest. Lynch testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 9, 2016. Asked about the investigation, Lynch stated that she had never discussed the investigation with former President Obama or anyone in the White House. Lynch stated, '[I]t’s my hope that when it comes to ongoing investigations that we all would stay silent. And I can assure you that neither I nor anyone from the Department has briefed to Mr. Earnest or anyone at the White House about this matter or other law enforcement matters....I’m simply not aware of the source of his information.' Lynch told the OIG that she recalled that Newman spoke with the White House Communications Office after Earnest’s comments and was clear that they were inappropriate and needed to be corrected. Asked whether she perceived these comments as an effort to direct where the investigation was going or felt influenced by them, she said that she did not. Lynch said that she also had a discussion with the White House Counsel after she testified, and that during this discussion he acknowledged that the comments should not have happened. However, former President Obama again made public comments about the Midyear investigation in an interview with FOX News Sunday on April 10, 2016. Obama stated that while former Secretary Clinton had been 'careless' in managing her emails while she was Secretary of State, she would never intentionally do anything to endanger the security of the United States with her emails. He also stated that he would not interfere in the FBI’s investigation into her private email server. Obama stated, 'I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI -- not just in this case, but in any case.' " • • • DEAR READERS, there were denials all around. Lynch never talked to Obama or the White House -- "I never spoke to the President directly about it" -- except Lynch did speak to the White House Counsel...??? White House press secretary Josh Earnest apparently just decided on his own to downplay the FBI criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton --"What I know that some officials over there have said is that she is not a target of the investigation. So that does not seem to be the direction that it’s trending..." AND, there was Obama speaking publicly not once but twice, telling the world that Hillary's use of a private email server as a "mistake," but stating that it did not "pose a national security problem" and was "not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered." Later, Obama used the same word -- "careless" -- Comey would use on July 6, 2016, when he exonerated Hillary. Former AD Randy Coleman got it right, stating, "[The FBI had] a group of guys in here, professionals, that are conducting an investigation. And the...President of the United States just came out and said there’s no there there." • It was POLITICAL -- from the White House through Lynch to Comey and the FBI investigators in the trenches. They were all scurrying to save their preferred candidate. More tomorrow.