Former Justice Department official Victoria Toensing says more and more evidence shows FBI Director James Comey made basic errors in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information and many FBI personnel believe his conduct has embarrassed the bureau.
In July, Comey offered a long list of poor decisions and “extremely careless” behavior by Clinton because she ran all of her email through a private email server before saying there was no intent by Clinton to break the law and no precedent existed for prosecuting the case. Therefore, Clinton would not be charged.
Since then, the FBI has released more and more evidence from the case, leaving Toensing and others with deep reservations about Comey’s competence. The latest revelations include the extension of immunity to Clinton’s State Department Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, that President Obama communicated with Clinton via her server under a pseudonym and that Comey allowed one prominent Democratic attorney to represent four different witnesses in the case.
“I think Jim Comey has to go,” said Toensing. “I can’t tell you the number of present federal prosecutors and FBI people who have been talking to my husband (former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova) and me about how upset they are with Jim Comey and his performance and how it’s embarrassed the FBI,” said Toensing.
While admitting any punishment for Comey is unlikely, Toensing is calling on Congress to rebuke him.
“Congress should at least pass some kind of a resolution condemning him for his inability, it seems, to conduct an investigation in a way that a first-year federal prosecutor would know how to do,” said Toensing.
Mills is one of multiple people who received limited or full immunity during the investigation. Toensing says that should have been unnecessary but Comey failed to take one of the most basic steps in law to further the investigation.
“You have to open a grand jury,” she said. “Why didn’t the director open a grand jury? In his report, he complains that he didn’t get certain documents. He tried to get these documents but couldn’t get them. Well, do you know what you do in an investigation? You open a grand jury. Then you issue a subpoena and you get those documents.”
She says would have been particularly important with Mills.
“If he had a grand jury open, he would have been able to subpoena the computer of Cheryl Mills. So he wouldn’t have had to give her immunity. He could have just subpoenaed it and he would have gotten that computer,” said Toensing.
Even more bizarre, despite Mills being given immunity – which is protection from criminal prosecution – Mills was allowed to sit in on the FBI’s interview of Clinton in July. is this common practice?
“I’ve never heard of it,” said Toensing.
She’s also never heard of an investigation where a single attorney has been allowed to represent so many critical witnesses.
“He allows Beth Wilkinson, a known Democrat, to represent two attorneys (including Mills) and two other people. He allowed one lawyer to represent four people. That’s unheard of,” said Toensing. “Just think how she got to coordinate their testimony.”
Toensing says the new revelation that Obama emailed Clinton on the private server raises another red flag.
“It seems that he also thinks the president was involved, because now we know from the weekend dump, that the president was using an alias. Therefore, the president had to know about this use of the private server. Now, he’s got the White House involved. He’s got the Democrat nominee involved. He just didn’t want to deal with it,” said Toensing.
She believes Comey, who has long had a reputation for seeing the law in black and white, wanted to avoid injecting the FBI into the middle of a contentious campaign season.
In addition, Toensing is flabbergasted that no one is facing charges for destroying evidence through the tens of thousands of emails that Clinton admits her legal team deleted. Clinton claims they were all personal matters but previous FBI document released dispel that argument.
Toensing says that shows clear intent, regardless of Comey’s insistence he could find none.
“Destroying evidence is just the most wicked evidence one could have against a person. I have never heard of lawyers purposely destroying evidence and not being the target of an investigation themselves,” said Toensing.
“I would be shaking in my boots if I had a subpoena from the Justice Department for a client and I went in and said, ‘Oh, we went through the files and we thought three file cabinets weren’t important so we just threw those away,'” said Toensing.