Republican’s Revisionist History

On May 9th Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein penned a memorandum to the AG.

Rosenstein1

Laying out the reasons FBI Director Comey should be replaced.Rosenstein2

The problem with this paragraph is Directory Comey did not usurp the Attorney General’s authority, it was delegated to him by the Attorney General, who endorsed his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution.

The NY Times (MARK LANDLER, MATT APUZZO and AMY CHOZICK) reported on July 1st: under the headline “Loretta Lynch to Accept F.B.I. Recommendations in Clinton Email Inquiry

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, conceding that her airport meeting with former President Bill Clinton this week had cast a shadow over the federal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email account, said Friday that she would accept whatever recommendations career prosecutors and the F.B.I. director made about whether to bring charges in the case.

Presumably this was followed up by a formal delegation of authority, which IMHO was clearly her intent.

On the day of Comey’s announcement the NY Times ran the headline “F.B.I. Director James Comey Recommends No Charges for Hillary Clinton on Email

NB! Comey “recommends” vice “concluded”

In the preamble to his remarks he said (emphasis mine):

Good morning. I’m here to give you an update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.

This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.

I want to start by thanking the FBI employees who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts.

On July 6th USA Today reported “Loretta Lynch makes it official: No charges in Hillary Clinton email probe” (emphasis mine)

“Late this afternoon, I met with FBI Director James Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email system during her time as Secretary of State,” she said. “I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation.

Recapping:

  1. Lynch delegated recommendation authority to Comey
  2. Comey announces his recommendation, arrived at without consultation with Justice Department.
  3. Lynch accepts Comey’s recommendation after reviewing it with Comey, career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation.

Where in this process did Comey usurp the AG’s authority?

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