Lisa Page: DOJ Blocked FBI From Charging Hillary Clinton With 'Gross Negligence'
James Comey discussed Espionage Act charges against former secretary of state
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page testified that the FBI, including former director James Comey, discussed Espionage Act charges against Hillary Clinton, indicating “gross negligence," but was shut down by the Justice Department.
The transcripts from Page’s secret testimony in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees last year reveals new perspectives on the investigation into Clinton's emails.
The transcripts revert to the FBI’s "Midyear Exam" investigation, which examined whether Clinton broke the law when she sent and received classified information on her unauthorized private email server.
Clinton was cleared of all charges by Comey in a press conference on July 5, 2016.
Page informed the committee that the FBI "did not blow over gross negligence.”
Page testified that the FBI believed Clinton might have committed gross negligence.
“We, in fact — and, in fact, the Director — because, on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there’s a potential here for this to be the charge. And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence," she said.
Paged testified that DOJ blocked it:
“The Justice Department’s assessment was that it was both constitutionally vague so that they did not actually feel that they could permissibly bring that charge.”
Page claimed Comey and the FBI spoke with the DOJ about a gross negligence charge for Clinton on various occasions, but they pushed back.
“We had multiple conversations with the Justice Department about bringing a gross negligence charge. And that’s, as I said, the advice that we got from the Department was that they did not think — that it was constitutionally vague and not sustainable," she said.
"When you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: ‘You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to,’” he said.
Page replied: “That’s correct.”
Page's testimony highlights issues related to the decision not to charge Clinton with any crimes.
Following the discovery that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac in June 2016 while Hillary was running for presdient, Lynch declined to recuse herself from the case and also said she would accept Comey’s decision on what charges to bring against Clinton.
According to the Washington Examiner: Comey gave the notorious press conference on July 5, 2016, where he listed Clinton’s numerous missteps, including the fact that 110 emails in 52 email chains included classified information at the time they were sent or received by Clinton.
It was Strzok who reportedly modified the language in James Comey's draft statement from “grossly negligent” in an earlier draft to “extremely careless” in the final statement.
At the time, the National Review's Andy McCarthy wrote, "According to Director James Comey, Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code ... and, in essence, to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute."
It was earlier reported that a chart had been shared inside the FBI which did not include "gross negligence" on the list of potential criminal violations that Clinton could’ve been charged with.
In front of Congress last year, an email including the chart was reportedly shown to the assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division Bill Priestap.
He testified that he didn't know why the email said, “DOJ not willing to charge this.”
Page’s testimony indicates that the decision not to charge Clinton with gross negligence came directly from the DOJ.
Priestap also testified that "if there is a Federal criminal statute still on the books, then, you know — and we think there may or might be a violation of that, we still have to work to uncover whether there was.”
Page testified that the DOJ pushed back on the FBI’s desire to explore the gross negligence charge.
The hundreds of pages of newly released Page testimony are just the latest peek into the investigations surrounding Hillary Clinton and President Trump.
Testimony from Bruce Ohr, a high-ranking DOJ official connected to dossier author Christopher Steele and whose wife worked at Fusion GPS, was released last week.