The FBI agreed to destroy two Clinton aides’ laptops after granting them immunity as part of a “side agreement,” according to a letter from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Goodlatte alleges that the FBI promised to destroy the laptops of Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, and Heather Samuelson, an ex-campaign staffer and deputy to Mills, after conducting its search.
Fox News cites unnamed sources in a report saying that the FBI’s search was also limited in scope, in order to “[prevent] the bureau from discovering if there was any evidence of obstruction of justice.” Investigators could not review documents created after January 31, 2015:
The side deals were agreed to on June 10, less than a month before FBI Director James Comey announced that the agency would recommend no charges be brought against Clinton or her staff.
Judiciary Committee aides told FoxNews.com that the destruction of the laptops is particularly troubling as it means that the computers could not be used as evidence in future legal proceedings, should new information or circumstances arise.
Committee aides also asked why the FBI and DOJ would enter into a voluntary negotiation to begin with, when the laptops could be obtained condition-free via a subpoena.
The letter also asked why the DOJ agreed to limit their search of the laptops to files before Jan. 31, 2015, which would “give up any opportunity to find evidence related to the destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice related to Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.”
Aides expressed shock at the parameter, saying it is especially troubling as Mills and Samuelson already had immunity from the consequences of whatever might be on the laptop.
Goodlatte wrote a scathing series of questions to Lynch on the subject:
Like many things about this case, these new materials raise more questions than answers…
Why did the FBI agree to destroy both Cheryl Mill’s and Heather Samuelson’s laptops after concluding its search? [Emphasis in original.]
Doesn’t the willingness of Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson to have their laptops destroyed by the FBI contradict their claim that the laptops could have been withheld because they contained non-relevant, privileged information? If so, doesn’t that undermine the claim that the side agreements were necessary?
Have these laptops, or the contents of these laptops, in fact been destroyed, thereby making follow-up investigations by the FBI, or Congressional oversight, impossible?
Why was this time limit necessary when both Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson were granted immunity for any potential destruction of evidence charges?
Goodlatte also demanded to know how many classified documents were found on Mills’ and Samuelson’s laptops.
Beth Wilkinson, a D.C.-based lawyer who is married to former Meet The Press host and Clinton donor David Gregory, reportedly negotiated the “side agreements” for the two former aides. Wilkinson has represented four of Clinton’s aides.