The FBI drafted a secret and ‘highly classified’ memo in May 2016 regarding the bureau’s Midyear investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server that she used to send classified government emails but never submitted it to then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, according to a letter written by three Republican Senators and delivered to Attorney General William Barr.
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Lindsey Graham, R-SC; Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Charles Grassley, R-Iowa and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Ron Johnson sent the letter to Barr Wednesday requesting information obtained by Inspector General Michael Horowitz about the bureau’s secret memo.
Now that the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded, we are unaware of any legitimate basis upon which the Department can refuse to answer the Judiciary Committee’s inquiries, The Chairmen Said.
Last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a ‘classified letter’ to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz requesting the information he referred to in the appendix of the report: “A Review of Various Actions by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice in Advance of the 2016 Election.” At the time, Grassley was the chairman of the Judiciary committee.
The letter stated that on “July 31, 2018, the Judiciary Committee requested a briefing on the steps the Department has taken, or plans to take, in light of the report’s findings.” They were denied the briefing due to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation.
Later “in a subsequent phone call with Department personnel on September 17, 2018, the Department declined to brief the Judiciary Committee, asserting without any clear basis, that it would interfere with Special Counsel Mueller’s equities,” the letter states.
“Now that the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded, we are unaware of any legitimate basis upon which the Department can refuse to answer the Judiciary Committee’s inquiries,” the chairman told Barr in the letter.
According to Horowitz’s report, late into the FBI’s investigation into Clinton, the bureau then “considered obtaining permission from the Department to review certain classified materials that may have included information potentially relevant to the Midyear investigation.” The bureau drafted a memo in 2016 to then Deputy Attorney General Yates.
The FBI said the review of the “highly classified materials was necessary to complete the investigation” but then never submitted the memo to Yates. According to the IG the FBI said it believed “this information would not materially impact the conclusion.”
The explanation is “inconsistent with the memorandum’s self-identified purpose and demands clarification,” the Republican chairmen told Barr in their letter. The Republicans are requesting access to Horowitz’s classified appendix regarding the bureau’s explanation for not submitting the memo.
“The classified appendix raises significant issues associated with the FBI’s failure to review certain highly classified information in support of its Midyear investigation,” it states.