FBI was not actively investigating Clinton emails during Page-Strzok text exchange

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., jumped to conclusions about former President Barack Obama’s involvement within the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e mail server following the discharge of a tranche of FBI messages.

In one of many texts messages launched in a report of the FBI’s dealing with of the Clinton emails by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., FBI lawyer Lisa Page advised Peter Strzok, an FBI agent with whom she was romantically concerned, that Obama wished “to know every part we’re doing,” on Sept. 1, 2016.

The unspecified topic Obama wished to know every part about spurred Republican hypothesis.

Gaetz stated in a since-deleted tweet that the message referenced the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of a personal e mail handle whereas serving as secretary of state.

“On September 2, 2016, whereas the FBI was actively investigating @HillaryClinton’s use of a personal e mail server, #Page stated that ‘POTUS needs to know every part we’re doing.’ This assertion raises alarming questions concerning the extent of Obama’s involvement with FBI investigations.”

But the Wall Street Journal reported that associates of Strzok and Page stated the texts have been about Russia’s meddling within the 2016 presidential election, which they have been then investigating.

We gained’t speculate as as to if the Clinton emails have been the topic of this text message. Instead, we have been curious concerning the timeline of occasions on the FBI. Was the bureau “actively investigating” Clinton’s emails on Sept. 2, 2016, as Gaetz stated? We discovered no indication of that.

Gaetz’s workplace did not reply to our preliminary requests for proof, after which deleted the tweet. They later advised us they’d been referring to the State Department, not the FBI. The FBI declined to remark, and the State Department did not reply to our request for remark.


On July 5, 2016, then-FBI director James Comey announced of the Clinton e mail server investigation that, “After an incredible quantity of labor over the past yr, the FBI is finishing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive resolution.”

“Although the Department of Justice makes last selections on issues like this, we’re expressing to Justice our view that no costs are acceptable on this case,” Comey stated.

On Oct. 28, 2016, Comey made an surprising announcement in a letter to a number of members of Congress.

“In reference to an unrelated case, the FBI has realized of the existence of emails that seem like pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote. “I’m writing to tell you that the investigative workforce briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI ought to take acceptable investigative steps designed to permit investigators to evaluate these emails to find out whether or not they comprise labeled data, in addition to to evaluate their significance to our investigation.”

Comey was referring to messages discovered on Anthony Weiner’s seized laptop, the place investigators have been trying into whether or not Weiner had dedicated a criminal offense by sexting a teenage lady.

They found that Huma Abedin, Clinton’s high aide and Weiner’s spouse, additionally used that laptop computer to speak with Clinton, so that they determined to research whether or not there was any labeled data in them.


Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who chaired the House Committee on Oversight in 2016, tweeted, “FBI Dir simply knowledgeable me, ‘The FBI has realized of the existence of emails that seem like pertinent to the investigation.’ Case reopened.”

But Comey by no means used the phrase reopened as a result of, as NBC News’ Pete Williams reported, the case had by no means been formally closed. But that doesn’t imply the case was being actively investigated.

“FBI officers advised us that as a technical matter, it had not been closed,” Williams advised PolitiFact. “As I recall, a number of the proof had but to be returned to the homeowners, for instance, and there have been different administrative points. It would have been incorrect, we have been advised on the time, to say that the investigation had been ‘closed,’ which is one thing of a time period of artwork on the FBI.”

“But that’s not to say that the e-mail matter was nonetheless being ‘actively investigated’ when the emails have been found,” Williams added. “Just as a result of it wasn’t formally closed didn’t imply it was being actively investigated. It wasn’t an both/or.”

“Comey’s July announcement would imply that no matter these brokers have been doing, it was not working in direction of making the choice of whether or not or not to file costs,” stated Artin Afkhami, an affiliate editor at Just Security.

“The key level right here, in different phrases, is not that Comey is ‘reopening’ a closed matter due to some bombshell,” Benjamin Wittes, editor in chief of Lawfare, wrote on the time. “It is that he’s amending his public testimony to Congress that the FBI is finished whereas the bureau examines new materials that will or could not have implications for investigative conclusions beforehand reached.”

State Department

Gaetz’s workplace advised us that after taking a more in-depth have a look at our request for proof, they deleted the tweet and corrected the assertion to say the State Department, not the FBI, had been actively investigating the server on Sept. 2, 2016.

In that case, Gaetz’s workplace can be right. The State Department reopened their investigation of Clinton’s emails on July 7, 2016, following a pause because the FBI investigated. We discovered no proof they’d completed their investigation on the time of the text message.

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, stated it will not make sense for FBI brokers to have been texting concerning the State Department investigation.

“The State Department and the FBI conduct separate investigations,” Mariotti stated. “The State Department has totally different personnel, totally different data and totally different experiences. In different phrases, if an agent was assigned to the State Department investigation, their proof and experiences can be distinct from the FBI.”

Our ruling

Gaetz tweeted, “On September 2, 2016, whereas the FBI was actively investigating @HillaryClinton’s use of a personal e mail server, #Page stated that ‘POTUS needs to know every part we’re doing.’”

We discovered no proof the FBI was actively investigating Clinton’s server on Sept. 2, 2016.

The case had not been formally closed, however reporting signifies the investigation had ceased till the Weiner emails have been found by a separate FBI investigation.

Gaetz’s workplace since deleted the tweet and stated they meant the State Department, not the FBI. The State Department investigation was energetic then, however it will have been unusual for FBI brokers to debate a separate company’s investigation.

We charge this assertion False.


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