By Terry Haynes
New evidence points to collusion between the Department of Justice and FBI at a pivotal moment in the Hillary Clinton email probe, according to emails recently reviewed by Fox News.
The February 2016 emails were written in the aftermath of 22 messages labeled “Top Secret” having been found on Clinton’s private email server from her 2009-2013 tenure as secretary of state.
In congressional testimony, former FBI Director James Comey dismissed notions of DOJ-FBI coordination during their look into the matter, specifically denying any conspiracy with the Department of Justice in his advisement against pursuing charges in the Clinton case in July of 2016.
By contrast, however, in a letter issued Wednesday, Republican North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows noted communication that, in his view, designated points of possible collusion at “crucial moments of the investigation.”
The messages examined by Fox began on February 8, 2016, at which time FBI Head of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap was informed by Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr that the State Department was ready to bring to justice those responsible for the reckless care of top secret information. Starr wrote, “The Department of State is prepared to take appropriate action for any instances of mishandling of classified information in accordance with our own internal processes.”
Starr made clear his wish to not hamper the FBI’s continuing inquiry, adding that — if directed — he would postpone any “administrative action” until the conclusion of the bureau’s case.
On February 13th — five days later — FBI criminal division and Office of General Counsel member Jonathan Moffa, FBI agent Peter Strzok and constituents of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia received a message from an unnamed senior official at the DOJ’s National Security Division, saying, “Wanted to make sure that DOJ is kept in the loop as response is drafted. We have discussed a bit more here at CES [counterintelligence and export control section] and have some additional thoughts on the best response on the admin action question. Can we make sure we discuss as a group as response is put together?”
Ultimately, the State Department declined to take action regarding the 22 security-sensitive Clinton emails. By the time the FBI review was over in July of 2016, several key players at the State Department had resigned.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray were petitioned by Republican South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to review the allegations of coordination between the DOJ and the FBI in the Clinton probe.