Ah, just when we all thought we could get a little R&R over the long holiday weekend, President Donald Trump comes out swinging against Andrew McCabe. The latest attack on McCabe comes after today’s news that the FBI Deputy Director will likely retire early next year when his full pension benefits kick in.
In Trump’s tweet, he once again references the “33,000” illegally deleted emails. But, here’s the thing, the emails aren’t actually “missing” or “illegally deleted.” We know what happened to them. During congressional testimony, Comey said that there was no “intentional misconduct” as it related to the destruction of the emails by Hillary Clinton. Sure, it sounds sketchy. However, Comey provided this explanation:
…[W]e found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed.
As far as the backstory, it’s really not as suspicious as it seems. In 2014, the State Department realized that they had a gap in records, and asked Clinton, as well as other secretaries of state, to turn over any work-related emails that they may have. The lawyers doing the sorting for Clinton in 2014 did not read all of the individual emails. Instead, they did keyword searches to find ones that they were work related.
“It is highly likely their search terms missed some work-related e-mails, and that we later found them, for example, in the mailboxes of other officials or in the slack space of a server,” Comey, said during Congressional testimony.
“[Clinton] then was asked by her lawyers at the end, ‘Do you want us to keep the personal emails?’ And she said, ‘I have no use for them anymore.’ It’s then that they issued the direction that the technical people delete them,” he said.
Bottom line: This was investigated, and there isn’t anything illegal there. Yes, it’s beyond stupid that Clinton had a private email server to begin with. But, the destruction of the emails has been investigated and there is nothing actionable to suggest some grand conspiracy to conceal evidence.
Colby Hall contributed to this report.
Correction: an earlier version of this article misidentified McCabe as the DAG
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.