Obstruction of justice: It went straight to the top, and Comey covered for both of them.
Via National Review
……the whitewash of the Hillary Clinton–emails caper was Barack Obama’s call — not the FBI’s, and not the Justice Department’s. (See, e.g., here, here, and here.) The decision was inevitable. Obama, using a pseudonymous email account, had repeatedly communicated with Secretary Clinton over her private, non-secure email account.
These emails must have involved some classified information, given the nature of consultations between presidents and secretaries of state, the broad outlines of Obama’s own executive order defining classified intelligence (see EO 13526, section 1.4), and the fact that the Obama administration adamantly refused to disclose the Clinton–Obama emails. If classified information was mishandled, it was necessarily mishandled on both ends of these email exchanges.
If Clinton had been charged, Obama’s culpable involvement would have been patent. In any prosecution of Clinton, the Clinton–Obama emails would have been in the spotlight. For the prosecution, they would be more proof of willful (or, if you prefer, grossly negligent) mishandling of intelligence. More significantly, for Clinton’s defense, they would show that Obama was complicit in Clinton’s conduct yet faced no criminal charges.
That is why such an indictment of Hillary Clinton was never going to happen. The latest jaw-dropping disclosures of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and his paramour, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, illustrate this point.
For the moment, I want to put aside the latest controversy — the FBI’s failure to retain five months of text messages between Strzok and Page, those chattiest of star-crossed lovers. Yes, this “glitch” closes our window on a critical time in the Trump-Russia investigation: mid December 2016 through mid May 2017. That is when the bureau and Justice Department were reportedly conducting and renewing (in 90-day intervals) court-approved FISA surveillance that may well have focused on the newly sworn-in president of the United States. (Remember: The bureau’s then-director, James Comey, testified at a March 20 House Intelligence Committee hearing that the investigation was probing possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Kremlin interference in the election.)
……On July 5, 2016, Comey held the press conference at which he delivered a statement describing Mrs. Clinton’s criminal conduct but nevertheless recommending against an indictment. We now know that Comey’s remarks had been in the works for two months and were revised several times by the director and his advisers. This past weekend, in a letter to the FBI regarding the missing texts, Senate Homeland Security Committee chairman Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) addressed some of these revisions. According to Senator Johnson, a draft dated June 30, 2016 (i.e., five days before Comey delivered the final version), contained a passage expressly referring to a troublesome email exchange between Clinton and Obama. (I note that the FBI’s report of its eventual interview of Clinton contains a cryptic reference to a July 1, 2012, email that Clinton sent from Russia to Obama’s email address. See report, page 2.)
……On the same day, according to a Strzok–Page text, a revised draft of Comey’s remarks was circulated by his chief of staff, Jim Rybicki. It replaced “the President” with “another senior government official.” This effort to obscure Obama’s involvement had an obvious flaw: It would practically have begged congressional investigators and enterprising journalists to press for the identification of the “senior government official” with whom Clinton had exchanged emails. That was not going to work. Consequently, by the time Comey delivered his remarks on July 5, the decision had been made to avoid even a veiled allusion to Obama. Instead, all the stress was placed on Clinton (who was not going to be charged anyway) for irresponsibly sending and receiving sensitive emails that were likely to have been penetrated by hostile intelligence services. Comey made no reference to Clinton’s correspondent…
……The decision to purge any reference to Obama is consistent with the panic that seized his administration from the moment Clinton’s use of a private, non-secure server system was revealed in early March 2015. I detailed this reaction in a series of 2016 columns (see, e.g., here and here). What most alarmed Obama and Clinton advisers (those groups overlap) was not only that there were several Clinton–Obama email exchanges, but also that Obama dissembled about his knowledge of Clinton’s private email use in a nationally televised interview. On March 4, just after the New York Times broke the news about Clinton’s email practices at the State Department, John Podesta (a top Obama adviser and Clinton’s campaign chairman) emailed Cheryl Mills (Clinton’s confidant and top aide in the Obama State Department) to suggest that Clinton’s “emails to and from potus” should be “held” — i.e., not disclosed — because “that’s the heart of his exec privilege.” At the time, the House committee investigating the Benghazi jihadist attack was pressing for production of Clinton’s emails.