In May 2016, FBI officials drafted a memo to then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, in which they requested highly classified documents from the DOJ that were “necessary to complete” their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server during her tenure as Secretary of State, otherwise known as “Midyear Exam.”
According to the DOJ Inspector General’s (IG) report which was released in June of last year, the memo was never sent. And within two months, the FBI ended their investigation without obtaining the documents.
The IG’s report states that the FBI “considered obtaining permission from the Department to review certain classified materials that may have included information potentially relevant to the Midyear investigation.”
The IG investigators were told that the memo was not sent because “they believed this information would not materially impact the conclusion.”
Senator Charles Grassley’s (R-IA) website states that the specific document they are requesting is from the “classified appendix” of the IG report. They expect it will “further describe the highly classified information, how it is relevant to the Clinton probe, and the FBI’s rational for not trying to access it.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee have taken note of this oddity and have written a letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting information.
They tried to obtain answers from the DOJ on three separate occasions in the past. The Daily Caller reports that “they inquired with the Justice Department about the matter on July 31, 2018, in a phone call on Sept. 17, 2018, and in a letter on Oct. 17, 2018. After the September 2018 phone call, the Justice Department declined to provide a briefing to the Senate Judiciary Committee, claiming that doing so would interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.”
In the letter to Barr, they wrote:
The inspector general’s finding raises significant issues associated with the FBI’s failure to review certain highly classified information in support of its Midyear investigation…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.
Their concern has grown as a result of revelations from the recently declassified closed-door testimony of Peter Strzok who spoke of a negotiated agreement between Clinton’s lawyers and DOJ lawyers over what information FBI officials could and could not access. I wrote about that here.
In addition, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton recently received over 400 pages of documents related to Midyear Exam from a Freedom of Information Act request initiated several years ago. These emails and other records provide pretty solid evidence of a coverup. I wrote about that here.
It’s likely the Senators will have better luck gaining access to the information from AG Barr than they did with AG Jeff Sessions and DAG Rod Rosenstein.