- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The assertion of an FBI agent in 2016 that President Barack Obama “wants to know everything” about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails was contrary, not surprisingly, to the Obama White House’s insistence that Mr. Obama scrupulously avoided political interference in the probe.

The text message from the agent also serves as a reminder that Mr. Obama wasn’t above declaring Mrs. Clinton free of wrongdoing while the FBI probe was still going on.

In October 2015, while FBI agents were still assessing the classified information on Mrs. Clinton’s private email server, Mr. Obama went on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to downplay the investigation.

“I don’t think it posed a national security problem,” Mr. Obama said at the time. “This is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”

Newly revealed text messages between FBI paramours Peter Strzok and Lisa Page include an exchange on Sept. 2, 2016, about preparing talking points for then-FBI Director James B. Comey to give to Mr. Obama.

“potus [president of the United States] wants to know everything we’re doing,” Ms. Page texted Mr. Strzok, a message that raises questions about Mr. Obama’s personal involvement in the investigation.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about the disclosure Wednesday, “This is a really big deal.”

In the fall of 2016, Mr. Obama’s spokesmen at the White House were stating repeatedly that the president didn’t know details of the probe, and didn’t want to know.

“The White House is going to be scrupulous about avoiding even the appearance of political interference in prosecutorial or investigative decisions,” said then-press secretary Josh Earnest on Oct. 31, 2016.

Two days earlier, Obama deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters that the White House had been caught by surprise when Mr. Comey announced that the FBI had uncovered more Clinton emails.

“We saw it in the media. That was the first we learned of it,” Mr. Schultz said.

Mr. Schultz, who is still serving as a spokesman for Mr. Obama, had no immediate comment on the disclosure about the FBI agents.

A few days before Election Day in 2016, Mr. Obama, who campaigned vigorously for Mrs. Clinton, criticized Mr. Comey for the announcement that the FBI was essentially reopening the email investigation.

“We don’t operate on incomplete information,” Mr. Obama said, without mentioning Mr. Comey’s name. “We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

Some in the Obama camp are saying privately that the agent’s message more likely pertained to the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

Three days after the FBI agents exchanged the message, on Sept. 5, 2016, Mr. Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a G-20 summit in China.

Mr. Obama referred to that meeting with Mr. Putin at a press conference in December 2016, about a month after the election:

“And so in early September, when I saw President Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn’t happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out, and there were going to be some serious consequences if he didn’t,” Mr. Obama said at the time. “And, in fact, we did not see further tampering of the election process. But the leaks through WikiLeaks had already occurred.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide