FBI reveals previously unseen documents on Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting after third FOIA request

May 10, 2018

FBI reveals previously unseen documents on Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting after third FOIA request JStone / Shutterstock.com

The FBI is going to have some trouble earning back the public’s trust after grossly ignoring Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements related to the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) just announced that on the FBI’s third attempt to search for any remaining documents or details related to the now-infamous private meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton at an airport tarmac in Phoenix, AZ in 2016, the bureau has uncovered “approximately 16 additional pages and two text messages” tied to the meeting.

This sudden discovery follows months of obstruction from the federal agency that included claims that no such evidence even existed. Now, the new evidence reportedly must be “turn[ed] over to the ACLJ by the end of the month.”

If at first you don’t succeed…

When news of Lynch and Clinton’s tarmac meeting broke, then-FBI Director James Comey took the highly unusual step of speaking on the attorney general’s behalf when he announced that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was exonerated of any criminal charges for knowingly transmitting classified state secrets over a private email server.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) completely compromised its credibility when Comey held the impromptu conference, a development the Barack Obama administration was all too aware of, as the government scrambled to engage in damage control.

For obvious reasons, the public has an interest in uncovering all of the official state correspondences related to the tarmac exchange. And according to a report released on Tuesday, the ACLJ may have finally hit pay dirt by legally forcing the FBI to release all of its files related to this incident.

The ACLJ explained its ongoing battle with the government on its official website:

As we reported a few weeks ago, just days before the FBI was to file a response to the ACLJ’s motion for summary judgment challenging the adequacy of the FBI’s search for documents, the FBI, instead, filed a motion with the court requesting that summary judgment proceedings be stayed while the FBI conducted a third search for documents.

Yes, you read that right. A third search.

The FBI’s earlier searches were less than sufficient to comply with federal requirements under FOIA. In fact, following its first supposed search, the FBI claimed that “no records” existed responsive to the ACLJ’s FOIA request.

The ACLJ later obtained evidence that proved the FBI’s claim false, and the ACLJ demanded another search. While a second search was conducted by the FBI, which produced some documents, it quickly became clear that the search was, again, inadequate.

“Bad optic”

Also at the center of the ACLJ’s FOIA request are communications between disgraced FBI paramours Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who were both unceremoniously removed from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russia’s alleged collusion with the Donald Trump campaign team after released text messages between the pair revealed their extreme prejudice for the Trump administration.

The most recently released texts produced from the pair, dated just three days after the tarmac meeting, read:

All the airport tarmac articles finally burst out. Took a little bit. Not a big deal, just ASTOUNDINGLY bad optic.

Omg he is spinning about the tarmac meeting, viewed in conjunction with the {REDACTED} Wants to meet at 4, have us bring lists of what we would do in an ordinary circumstance (easy, refer to PC) and in this circumstance (easy, refer to 7th floor)….

According to the ACLJ’s assessment, these texts show that senior-level officials from the FBI and DOJ were engaged in a “full crisis management mode” effort to put a positive spin on the Clinton-Lynch meeting. The “he” referenced in the second text likely refers to the assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap, while “7th floor” is FBI lingo for the institution’s top officials.

While Lynch and Clinton later claimed that they discussed “innocuous” subjects during the meeting, follow-up investigations later revealed that the attorney general used an alias email to discuss the scandal, while the Obama administration colluded with members of the press to downplay the relevance of the meeting.

In another batch of text messages between Strzok and Page, the latter official even referred to Lynch’s recusal as a “profile in [courage],” implying that the attorney general knew well in advance that Mrs. Clinton would be exonerated. Additionally, in October 2017, the FBI admitted that Comey drafted a letter exonerating Clinton months before interviewing over a dozen key witnesses — including Clinton herself.

In all probability, no one will ever know exactly what was discussed on Lynch’s plane as it taxied on the Phoenix runway, but the meeting between her and Clinton constitutes an important piece of a puzzle that increasingly makes it seem that partisanship and elitism influenced the email server scandal.

While the FBI gave their best effort in hopes of hiding it, they may finally have been forced to reveal to the world just how corrupt and underhanded the “scandal-free” Obama administration truly was.

Benjamin Baird

Benjamin Baird is a senior staff writer for the Conservative Institute. He is a veteran infantryman of Iraq and Afghanistan with over 1000 days in combat and holds a degree in Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University. Ben is a regular contributor at the Middle East Forum and has written for dozens of conservative publications, including The Daily Caller, American Spectator, American Thinker, New English Review and Yahoo News.