A newly released document from the FBI reveals that a staff member on Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Judiciary Committee helped to coordinate, through Newt Gingrich, the conservative group Judicial Watch’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s email server.
The document, an affidavit that was given by a “defense contractor specializing in the areas of missile, space, and intelligence” who also “owns a company focused on domestic data acquisition,” was released by the FBI last week as part of a collection of documents relating to the bureau’s investigation of Clinton’s email use.
The contractor told the FBI that he or she was contacted in July 2015 by a “senior staff member” working for Grassley on the Judiciary Committee who was “upset as a citizen and Senate Staff Member” and who “wanted to determine if there was an intrusion” into the private email server that Clinton maintained while she was serving as secretary of state and whether any data from the server “fell into the hands of a foreign power.”
The contractor couldn’t proceed with the project because the staffer couldn’t produce any funding. So, according to the contractor’s affidavit, the staff member then met with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. “Gingrich wanted to speak with others about the project,” the affidavit continues, “and in December 2015, recommended [REDACTED] speak with [REDACTED] at Judicial Watch.”
Comically, the defense contractor insists in the affidavit that Judicial Watch’s motivations were “not centered on the election.”
In either February or March 2016, according to the affidavit, Judicial Watch paid the defense contractor $32,000 to do the investigative work. So far, it doesn’t seem to have produced anything: Judicial Watch itself noted on October 17 that this “investigation is ongoing.”
So as Grassley’s committee was refusing to do its job and hold hearings on the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, its staff was coordinating funding for a conservative group to go on a wild goose chase around Hillary Clinton’s email server.