Posted tagged ‘Loretta Lynch’

Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election

June 23, 2017

Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election, Washington Times, Stephen Dinan, June 23, 2017

Letters also went to Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria and Leonard Benardo and Gail Scovell at the Open Society Foundations. Mr. Benardo was reportedly on an email chain from the then-head of the Democratic National Committee suggesting Ms. Lynch had given assurances to Ms. Renteria, the campaign staffer, that the Clinton probe wouldn’t “go too far.”

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The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s efforts to shape the FBI’s investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the committee’s chairman announced Friday.

In a letter to Ms. Lynch, the committee asks her to detail the depths of her involvement in the FBI’s investigation, including whether she ever assured Clinton confidantes that the probe wouldn’t “push too deeply into the matter.”

Fired FBI Director James B. Comey has said publicly that Ms. Lynch tried to shape the way he talked about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and he also hinted at other behavior “which I cannot talk about yet” that made him worried about Ms. Lynch’s ability to make impartial decisions.

Mr. Comey said that was one reason why he took it upon himself to buck Justice Department tradition and reveal his findings about Mrs. Clinton last year.

The probe into Ms. Lynch comes as the Judiciary Committee is already looking at President Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee, said the investigation is bipartisan. The letter to Ms. Lynch is signed by ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and also by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, the chairman and ranking member of the key investigative subcommittee.

Letters also went to Clinton campaign staffer Amanda Renteria and Leonard Benardo and Gail Scovell at the Open Society Foundations. Mr. Benardo was reportedly on an email chain from the then-head of the Democratic National Committee suggesting Ms. Lynch had given assurances to Ms. Renteria, the campaign staffer, that the Clinton probe wouldn’t “go too far.”

At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Mr. Comey told lawmakers that Ms. Lynch had attempted to change the way the FBI described its probe of Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server. The change appeared to dovetail with how Mrs. Clinton’s supporters were characterizing the probe.

“At one point, [Ms. Lynch] directed me not to call it an ‘investigation’ but instead to call it a ‘matter,’ which confused me and concerned me,” Mr. Comey said during his June 8 testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. “That was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we are to close this case credibly.”

Acknowledging that he didn’t know whether it was intentional, Mr. Comey said Ms. Lynch’s request “gave the impression the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our investigation with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity.”

Mr. Comey said the language suggested by Ms. Lynch was troublesome because it closely mirrored what the Clinton campaign was using. Despite his discomfort, Mr. Comey said, he agreed to Ms. Lynch’s language.

Loretta Lynch, Portrait of Corruption

June 16, 2017

Loretta Lynch, Portrait of Corruption, Front Page MagazineAri Lieberman, June 16, 2017

She barely served two years as attorney general during Obama’s tenure but during that time, Loretta Lynch distinguished herself as arguably the most corrupt attorney general in the history of the United States. That’s a tall order considering that her predecessor was Eric Holder, who was notorious for politicizing his office and cited for contempt of Congress for stonewalling in the infamous Fast and Furious fiasco. Nevertheless, when it comes to outright corruption, it’s hard to find a better candidate than Loretta Lynch.

Lynch like everyone else who listened to the mainstream media elites believed that a Clinton presidency was all but guaranteed. She was likely angling for a position within the next administration and would utilize the power of her office to make certain that nothing altered the presidential trajectory charted by media elites, leftist pollsters and top Democratic Party insiders.

During his recent testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI director James Comey testified that Lynch directed him to refer to the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton as a “matter,” which “confused and concerned” him and gave him a “queasy feeling.” The benign language employed by Lynch directly tracked the Clinton campaign’s talking points in an effort to downplay the significance and negative ramifications of the criminal probe.

But it gets worse for Lynch, much worse in fact. Circa reports that in closed session before the Intelligence Committee, Comey testified that he confronted Lynch with a sensitive document in which it was suggested that Lynch was going to use her authority and power of her office to thwart prosecution of Clinton irrespective of the FBI’s findings in the email probe. Lynch reportedly stared at the document and then “looked up with a steely silence that lasted for some time, then asked him if he had any other business with her and if not that he should leave her office.”

These strange and rather adversarial interactions with Lynch, coupled with the now infamous 25-minute meeting that Lynch had with Bill Clinton (where the two allegedly discussed grandchildren and golf) at a Phoenix tarmac just days before Hillary was scheduled to testify before the FBI, led Comey to conclude that he needed to make his findings public “to protect the credibility of the investigation.”

The disturbing revelations regarding the nation’s top law enforcement officer and her attempts to interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation have prompted bipartisan calls by a growing chorus of Senate Judiciary Committee members to subpoena Lynch and investigate her conduct. Among those who have called for an investigation are Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and surprisingly, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) the committee’s ranking member and certainly no ally of Donald Trump. But Lynch’s alleged conduct was so egregious and outrageous that it left Feinstein with little choice. Silence on the matter would reek of hypocrisy and double standards.

Fox reported that on Wednesday, Judiciary Committee chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to Feinstein noting that the committee will pursue investigations into any efforts to influence FBI investigations. That would presumably include purported efforts by Lynch to influence or even thwart the outcome of the FBI’s email probe. The letter should have been sent days ago following Comey’s testimony and it is unclear why Chairman Grassley dragged his heals on the matter.

But even if Lynch is called before the committee, don’t expect much. Lynch is anything but straight-forward. She is adept at evading and obfuscating. During her testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last year, exasperated congressmen marveled at her seeming inability to provide straight-forward answers to direct questions requiring a simple “yes” or “no” response.

One frustrated congressman, David Trott (R-Michigan) noted that Lynch refused to answer probative questions on at least 74 occasions. Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-S.C.), noted that Lynch’s “lack of clarity is bad for the republic.” And Rep Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) bluntly told Lynch that she was “sending a terrible message to the world,” and that her “lack of clarity” before the committee was “pretty stunning.” Rep. Doug Collins (D- Ga) dryly commented that he missed Eric Holder because “at least when he came here he gave us answers.”

But Lynch remained unfazed by the criticism. Her stoic demeanor throughout the proceedings betrayed the thought-process of a well-connected, high-level law enforcement official who thought she was above the law. Nevertheless the new and troubling revelations provided by the former FBI director in his testimony before the Intelligence Committee have provided committee members with specific, concrete information and not just innuendo. There is now evidence of actual impropriety and not merely the appearance of impropriety. In light of this tangible evidence, it will be interesting to see how the former attorney general will attempt slither her way out of the corrupted hole she dug herself into.

Did Loretta Lynch try to protect Clinton?

June 14, 2017

Did Loretta Lynch try to protect Clinton? Fox News via YouTube, June 13, 2017

 

Gohmert: Obama DOJ, Not the Russians, Tried to Influence Presidential Election

June 12, 2017

Gohmert: Obama DOJ, Not the Russians, Tried to Influence Presidential Election, Breitbart, Penny Starr, June 11, 2017

 

In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “America’s News HQ” on Sunday, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) said that if anyone interfered with the 2016 presidential election, it wasn’t the Russians but the Department of Justice.

He specifically named former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former FBI Director James Comey.

Gohmert referred to Comey’s testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee where he said Lynch had told him to refer to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation,” even though Clinton was under investigation.

Comey said that led him to publicly announce the end of the Clinton investigation in July 2016.

“At best, it was an attempt to manipulate the election, not by the Russians in this case, but by the Department of Justice – the Attorney General herself – because that came from Comey,”  Gohmert said.

“[Comey] totally ruined his own credibility – or what was left of it,” Gohmert said. “He did vast damage and raised big red flags and questions over Loretta Lynch’s job as head of the Justice Department.

“[Lynch] was using her official position to help the campaign of Hillary Clinton and that didn’t seem to bother him enough to do a memo,” Gohmert said.

Gohmert said this should be the subject of a congressional investigation.

“We need to round up all those people [Comey] talked to – because we have a conspiracy remaining afoot in the Department of Justice that is going to be out to destroy this president and they’ve got to be fired if not worse.”

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press

June 11, 2017

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press, PJ Media, Andrew Klacan, June 11, 2017

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

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It now seems clear that Barack Obama was a corrupt machine politician in the worst Chicago mold. He used the IRS to silence his enemies, and the Justice Department to protect his friends. His two major “achievements” — a health care law that doesn’t work and a deal that increased the power and prestige of the terrorist state of Iran — were built on lies to the public and manipulation of the press. And that’s according to his own allies! Only the leftist bias and racial pathology of the media kept his administration from being destroyed by scandal, as it surely would have been had he been a white Republican.

I don’t mention this to bring up old grudges, but for what it says about the current moment and the week just passed. Here’s some of what we recently learned:

Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony concerning former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s corruption confirmed our worst suspicions about the Obama DOJ. In an apparent attempt to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Lynch told Comey to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s abuse of classified material as “a matter” rather than an investigation. And, as we already knew but Comey confirmed, Lynch’s secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton so underscored Comey’s sense of her crookedness that the self-serving drama queen Comey actually went around her to publicly declare Hillary guilty-but-not-guilty.

“It won’t get much attention, but that was pretty damning,” said CNN’s John King of Comey’s testimony about Lynch. You can translate “it won’t get much attention” into “we won’t give it much attention.”

But all that was nothing compared to the brutal, nearly 300-page report released last week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a report absolutely blasting the previous Obama AG, Eric Holder. The report details how Holder and the Obama administration labored to cover up the details of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal — a scandal which, unlike the non-collusion-with-Russia non-scandal, was implicated in the murder of an American law officer. Even the mom of the slain officer couldn’t get the truth out of Holder and his cronies. The report says Holder considered the officer’s family a “nuisance” because they were trying to get him to tell them how exactly the lawman died at the hands of gangsters who were wielding guns Obama’s DOJ had allowed them to buy.

We’ve heard a lot from Comey and the press this week about the precious independence of the Justice Department. And yet Attorney General Holder once said, “I’m still the president’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy.” Holder was also the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents relating to Fast and Furious. And, speaking of obstruction of justice — we were speaking of obstruction of justice, weren’t we? — President Obama asserted executive privilege to make it easier for Holder to keep those docs in the dark. Hey, nothing’s too good for the president’s wingman!

What a sleazy bunch they were! Hiding their corruption behind the color of their skin. Criticized for Fast and Furious in 2011, Holder said: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.” What a sleazy bunch.

So let’s remember. Obama is the nefarious machine pol who appointed James Comey to head the FBI in the first place. This is the Comey who took no notes when he spoke with Obama, no notes when he questioned Hillary about her emails, no notes, apparently, during the cover-up conversation with Lynch that left him with “a queasy feeling,” but who suddenly began documenting his exchanges with Trump — exchanges that Trump says never happened. This is the Comey who let Hillary off the hook because he somehow knew she didn’t intend to share classified information (a matter that doesn’t exist in the relevant law), but who cannot comment on whether Donald Trump intended to obstruct justice when Trump expressed his hopes about an investigation.

And the Obama administration — this crooked gang of liars and colluders — this is the gang that was deemed “scandal free” by virtually every “mainstream” news outlet. Indeed, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson had to leave CBS News in large part because CBS would not run her work on Fast and Furious.

My point is not to excuse Trump for any of his inappropriate and sometimes boorish behavior. I hope he learns better. My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

In Clinton Caper, Comey Was the Most Visible Player, Not the Most Consequential

May 10, 2017

In Clinton Caper, Comey Was the Most Visible Player, Not the Most Consequential, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, May 10, 2017

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

If Comey had gone the other way, his recommendation to file charges would have been rejected, and his wings would have been clipped in a hurry. He is being cast as the official responsible for key decisions in the Clinton case and the fate of the Clinton candidacy. But the decisive scandal is Hillary Clinton’s alone, and the key decisions were never Jim Comey’s to make.

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At National Review last weekend, I addressed the Democrats’ loopy claim that the FBI became a Trump partisan in the 2016 election. The claim is worth more examination in light of President Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

In Clinton World, self-absorption always triumphs over self-inspection, so nothing could be more predictable than Hillary Clinton’s scapegoating of Comey, a diversion from acknowledging what really cost her the election: her own manifest flaws. Congressional Democrats are along for the ride: those who were swooning over Comey in July when he announced that Clinton would not be charged, then ripped him in October when he reopened and quickly reclosed the FBI’s investigation, and then branded him a Trump partisan hack after the votes were counted, are suddenly back in swoon mode.

Comey, of course, hasn’t changed through all of this. He’s always been the same guy. The laughably transparent explanation for all the careening around him is politics.

Mrs. Clinton was hoping to put the e-mail scandal behind her by arguing that she had been vindicated by a thorough, highly professional FBI investigation. But she lost, so the investigation that was to be her credential for office became the downfall that denied her. Comey thus became Rationalization 1 for her defeat … at least until Rationalization 1A, Russia, got some media traction. So now, Comey has gone from villainous J. Edgar Hoover to valiant Elliot Ness again – not out of anything he did, but because Democrats calculate that framing his termination as part of a “cover-up” may resuscitate the Trump-Russia narrative, which has grown stale in the absence of concrete evidence of collusion.

Note that in all of this, Comey is always in the center of events, but he has never been in control of events. Don’t be fooled by appearances. The FBI director has been the most visible player, but he has not come close to being the most consequential.

Yes, the FBI that actually carries out the dual functions of criminal inquiry and foreign intelligence collection. In either type of investigation, it is the Bureau that performs the rubber-meets-the-road work of gathering information and analyzing it, searching for the connections that prove actions and intentions. Consequently, Director Comey has gotten top billing in this drama – a happenstance made more pronounced by the director’s very forceful personality. It has made him look more important than, in fact, he has been.

Some perspective, please. There could have been no indictment against Hillary Clinton unless the Obama Justice Department approved it. Comey headed an investigative agency; he had no authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion – to decide whether charges got filed.

In the Clinton caper, Comey ostensibly seized the Justice Department’s decision-making power. In reality, though, he exercised it within obvious limitations, and under circumstances in which his superiors factored decisively.

Those superiors were President Obama, the chief executive, who made crystal clear in his public comments that he did not want Clinton indicted; and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the head of the real decision-making department – the Justice Department. Contrary to media-Democrat intimations, Lynch never actually recused herself after being caught in a shameful private meeting with Bill Clinton. That was right before the Justice Department – not Comey, the Justice Department – declined prosecution against Mrs. Clinton.

Lynch could have ignored Comey, and surely would have if he had not come out the “right” way. In effect, Comey was able to project the authority of the official making a tough call as long as the call he made was against filing an indictment.

The Obama Justice Department was never, ever going to indict Hillary Clinton. Even if he had wanted to push against that outcome, Comey had to know doing so would have been futile. But as long as he accepted the inevitable – as long as he defended the decision with dizzying disquisitions on mens rea and other criminal law esoterica – he would be given a wide berth.

That is what enabled him to do some highly irregular things: e.g., the July press conference describing the damning evidence but recommending against criminal charges, and the late October letter informing Congress that the investigation had been reopened (but, significantly, not suggesting that any charges were anticipated). The point, if I may speculate, was to protect the reputation of the FBI as much as possible under circumstances in which the Bureau was unavoidably embroiled in a political controversy. Comey knew there would be no indictment. That meant the FBI was vulnerable to charges of participation in a whitewash. The director no doubt convinced himself that it was essential, for the sake of the rule of law, to show that the FBI had not been corrupted – that it had investigated as thoroughly as the constraints imposed by the Justice Department allowed.

Comey’s agenda to protect the FBI happened to coincide with the political agenda of Obama and Lynch. They, too, needed to show that there had been a thorough, professional investigation – they knew they could prevent any charges from being filed, and they reckoned that a solid FBI investigation would make their non-prosecution decision look like good-faith law enforcement rather than partisan politics. With a little help from their media friends, the general public would remain in the dark regarding the instances in which Lynch’s Justice Department frustrated the FBI’s ability to investigate: the close working relationship with Clinton team defense lawyers, the cutting off of salient areas of inquiry, the bizarre immunity grants.

What the public would see was Hillary “exonerated” after the FBI “left no stone unturned.”

Undoubtedly, Obama and Lynch were not thrilled by Comey’s press conference, laying out the FBI’s investigation. They may even have been quite angry about it. But they also realized that Comey remained a net positive in the equation. Because of their vulnerabilities – Obama because he could not be seen as interfering with law enforcement, and Lynch because of her bone-headed meeting with Bill Clinton – they needed the decision not to indict to appear to be made by someone with bipartisan credibility. Comey fit the bill, so they were willing to put up with a lot … as long as he held firm on the bottom line.

But make no mistake: If Comey had gone the other way, his recommendation to file charges would have been rejected, and his wings would have been clipped in a hurry. He is being cast as the official responsible for key decisions in the Clinton case and the fate of the Clinton candidacy. But the decisive scandal is Hillary Clinton’s alone, and the key decisions were never Jim Comey’s to make.

The Clinton E-mails Are Critical to the Clinton Foundation Investigation

November 2, 2016

The Clinton E-mails Are Critical to the Clinton Foundation Investigation, National Review, Andres C. McCarthy, November 1, 2016

lynchagAttorney General Loretta Lynch (Reuters photo: Shannon Stapleton)
 

(Please see also, Am I back in Argentina? — DM)

The Wall Street Journal’s report that, for over a year, the FBI has been investigating the Clinton Foundation for potential financial crimes and influence peddling is, as Rich Lowry said Monday, a blockbuster. As I argued over the weekend, the manner in which the State Department was put in the service of the Foundation during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary is shocking. It is suggestive of a pattern of pay-to-play bribery, the monetizing of political influence, fraud, and obstruction of justice that the Justice Department should be investigating as a possible RICO conspiracy under the federal anti-racketeering laws.

The Journal’s Devlin Barrett buries the Clinton Foundation lede in the 14th paragraph of his report. Even more astonishing are his final three paragraphs:

In September, agents on the foundation case asked to see the emails contained on nongovernment laptops that had been searched as part of the Clinton email case, but that request was rejected by prosecutors at the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. Those emails were given to the FBI based on grants of partial immunity and limited-use agreements, meaning agents could only use them for the purpose of investigating possible mishandling of classified information.

Some FBI agents were dissatisfied with that answer, and asked for permission to make a similar request to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter. [FBI Deputy Director Andrew] McCabe, these people said, told them no and added that they couldn’t “go prosecutor-shopping.”

Not long after that discussion, FBI agents informed the bureau’s leaders about the Weiner laptop, prompting Mr. Comey’s disclosure to Congress and setting off the furor that promises to consume the final days of a tumultuous campaign.

Let me unpack this.

Readers are unlikely to know that the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn is not just any United States attorney’s office. It is the office that was headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch until President Obama elevated her to attorney general less than two years ago.

It was in the EDNY that Ms. Lynch first came to national prominence in 1999, when she was appointed U.S. attorney by President Bill Clinton — the husband of the main subject of the FBI’s investigations with whom Lynch furtively met in the back of a plane parked on an Arizona tarmac days before the announcement that Mrs. Clinton would not be indicted. Obama reappointed Lynch as the EDNY’s U.S. attorney in 2010. She was thus in charge of staffing that office for nearly six years before coming to Main Justice in Washington. That means the EDNY is full of attorneys Lynch hired and supervised.

When we learn that Clinton Foundation investigators are being denied access to patently relevant evidence by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, those are the prosecutors — Loretta Lynch’s prosecutors — we are talking about.

Recall, moreover, that it was Lynch’s Justice Department that:

refused to authorize use of the grand jury to further the Clinton e-mails investigation, thus depriving the FBI of the power to compel testimony and the production of evidence by subpoena;

consulted closely with defense attorneys representing subjects of the investigation;

permitted Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson — the subordinates deputized by Mrs. Clinton to sort through her e-mails and destroy thousands of them — to represent Clinton as attorneys, despite the fact that they were subjects of the same investigation and had been granted immunity from prosecution (to say nothing of the ethical and legal prohibitions against such an arrangement);

drastically restricted the FBI’s questioning of Mills and other subjects of the investigation; and

struck the outrageous deals that gave Mills and Samuelson immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing the FBI with the laptops on which they reviewed Clinton’s four years of e-mails. That arrangement was outrageous for three reasons: 1) Mills and Samuelson should have been compelled to produce the computers by grand-jury subpoena with no immunity agreement; 2) Lynch’s Justice Department drastically restricted the FBI’s authority to examine the computers; and 3) Lynch’s Justice Department agreed that the FBI would destroy the computers following its very limited examination.

As I have detailed, it was already clear that Lynch’s Justice Department was stunningly derelict in hamstringing the bureau’s e-mails investigation. But now that we know the FBI wassimultaneously investigating the Clinton Foundation yet being denied access to the Clinton e-mails, the dereliction appears unconscionable.

It had to be screamingly obvious that the Clinton State Department e-mails, run through a server that also supported Clinton Foundation activities, would be critically important to any probe of the Foundation. Consider, for example, the issue of criminal intent, over which much has been made since Director Comey stressed the purported lack of intent proof in recommending against an indictment of Mrs. Clinton for mishandling classified information.

I believe, to the contrary, that there is abundant intent evidence. The law presumes that people intend the natural, foreseeable consequences of their actions: When you’re the secretary of state, and you systematically conduct your government business on private, non-secure e-mail rather than the government’s secure servers, you must know it is inevitable that classified information will be transmitted through and stored on the private server. Still, even though Clinton’s misconduct was thus willful and grossly negligent, no sensible person believes she was trying to harm the United States; the damage she did to national security was an easily foreseeable consequence of her scheme, but that damage was not what motivated her actions.

In such circumstances, it is a common tactic of defense lawyers to confound motive and criminal intent. Every criminal statute has an intent element (i.e., a requirement to prove that conduct was knowing, willful, intentional, or grossly negligent). Prosecutors, however, are virtually never required to prove motive. To be sure, they usually do introduce evidence of motive, because establishing a motive often helps to prove intent. But motive can sometimes confuse matters, so proving it is not mandatory.

A common, concrete example is helpful here: the guy who robs a bank because he is strapped for cash and his mom needs an operation. Although it was not the robber’s purpose to petrify the bank teller, proving that he had a desperate need for money helps demonstrate that his theft of money was quite intentional — not an accident or mistake. So even though we can all agree that our bank robber did not have a motive to do harm, his benign motive does not absolve him of guilt for the bank robbery he fully intended to commit.

Yet, such absolution is exactly what Comey offered in claiming there was insufficient proof of criminal intent to charge Clinton with mishandling classified information.  It was a rationale that echoed public comments by President Obama and Lynch’s Justice Department. They would have you believe that because Clinton was not motivated by a desire to harm national security she cannot have intended to violate the classified-information laws. It is sleight-of-hand, but it was good enough for Democrats and the media to pronounce Clinton “exonerated.”

Now, however, let’s consider the Clinton Foundation. While Clinton may not have been motivated to harm our national security, she was precisely motivated to conceal the corrupt interplay of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. That was the real objective of the home-brew server system: Mrs. Clinton wanted to shield from Congress, the courts, and the public the degree to which she, Bill, and their confederates were cashing in on her awesome political influence as secretary of state. That is exactly why she did business outside the government system that captures all official e-mails; and, critically, it perfectly explains why she deleted and attempted to destroy 33,000 e-mails — risibly claiming they involved yoga routines, Chelsea’s wedding, and the like.

While knowing the purpose of the private server system may not advance our understanding of the classified-information offenses, it greatly advances our understanding of the scheme to make the Clinton Foundation a State Department pay-to-play vehicle. Consequently, the Clinton e-mails generated in the course of this scheme are apt to be highly probative of  public-corruption offenses.

With that in mind, let’s go back to the Journal’s account of why Loretta Lynch’s EDNY prosecutors have blocked the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigators from examining the Clinton e-mails found on the laptop computers of Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson:

Those emails were given to the FBI based on grants of partial immunity and limited-use agreements, meaning agents could only use them for the purpose of investigating possible mishandling of classified information.

The Journal’s report says the FBI’s Clinton Foundation team was “dissatisfied” with this explanation — as well they should have been. The grants of immunity and limited-use agreements were disgraceful for the reasons outlined above. Significantly, however, the limitations imposed on the classified-information investigation should not, in the main, be binding on the Clinton Foundation investigation. Of course, the immunity grants to Mills and Samuelson must be honored even though they should never have been given in the first place. But those agreements only protect Mills and Samuelson. They would not prevent evidence found on the computers and retained by the FBI from being used against Hillary Clinton or any other possible conspirator.

Clearly, that is why agents on the FBI’s Clinton Foundation team wanted to get their investigation out of the EDNY’s clutches and move it to the U.S. attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York (my office for many years, as well as Jim Comey’s). The SDNY has a tradition of relative independence from the Justice Department and a well-earned reputation for pursuing political-corruption cases aggressively — a reputation burnished by U.S. attorney Preet Bharara’s prosecutions of prominent politicians from both parties. Alas, the Clinton Foundation agents were said to be barred from “prosecutor shopping” by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — the official whose wife’s Virginia state senate campaign was infused with $675,000 in cash and in-kind contributions by political committees controlled by Governor Terry McAuliffe, a notorious Clinton fixer and former Clinton Foundation board member.

Because of Democratic and media furor over Director Comey’s reopening of the Clinton e-mails investigation last week, the FBI is now under enormous pressure to review tens of thousands of e-mails stored on the laptop shared by Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner. The point is to hound the bureau into announcing before Election Day (seven days from now) whether any new classified e-mails have been found. If none are found, this outcome will be spun as yet another “exoneration” of Hillary Clinton.

Here, however, is the real outrage: Beneath all this noise, Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department is blocking the FBI from examining Clinton e-mails in connection with its investigation of the Clinton Foundation — an investigation that is every bit as serious.

Were it not for the Clinton Foundation, there probably would not be a Clinton e-mail scandal. Mrs. Clinton’s home-brew communications system was designed to conceal the degree to which the State Department was put in the service of Foundation donors who transformed the “dead broke” Clintons into hundred-millionaires.

At this point, the reopened classified-information investigation is a distraction: Under the Comey/DOJ “insufficient intent evidence” rationale, there would be no charges even if previously undiscovered classified e-mails were found on the Abedin/Weiner computer. Instead, what is actually essential is that the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigators get access to all the thousands of Clinton e-mails, including those recovered from the Mills and Samuelson laptops. The agents must also have the time they need to piece together all the Clinton e-mails (from whatever source), follow up leads, and make their case.

No one seems to notice that they are being thwarted. Hillary hasn’t even been elected, but already we are benumbed by Clinton Scandal Exhaustion Syndrome.