Copies of nearly all of the emails Hillary Clinton sent and received while she was secretary of state – including the infamous missing 30,000 messages – were stored at a cryptically named Gmail address, according to a new Senate report.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported the newly disclosed finding means that copies of classified and deleted emails likely existed on Google’s U.S.-based servers.
The FBI, according to the Senate report, was aware of that fact and the suspicious explanation for it but did not alert other intelligence agencies or the public.
The suspicious Gmail address was set up by an IT aide, Paul Combetta, who worked for a company that managed Clinton’s unauthorized server, Platte River Networks, according to the FBI.
It was Combetta who used the software program BleachBit to permanently erase copies of Clinton’s emails after they were subpoenaed by the House.
Combetta misled the FBI about his actions and was given immunity from prosecution, the Daily Caller noted.
He refused to cooperate with the Justice Department Inspector General and with the authors of the Senate report about his use of the Gmail address. He previously pleaded the Fifth before Congress in September 2016 about his deletion of emails.
The investigative team of Charles McCullough, the intelligence community inspector general, found that every one of Clinton’s emails except four were secretly copied to the the Gmail address, CarterHeavyIndustries@gmail.com, according to the report.
McCullough investigator Frank Rucker told Senate investigators that when he brought the findings to Peter Strzok, the anti-Trump FBI agent seemed uninterested and did not ask any follow-up questions.
A redacted and paraphrased version of the interview transcript was released Wednesday.
Rucker told the Senate staffers the Gmail address “appears in the metadata of almost all of her emails.”
He also told investigators that an email on Clinton’s server from former congressman and convicted sex offender Anthony Weiner said that Weiner’s email had been hacked. The system was configured to forward all his emails to someone else, further raising Rucker’s suspicions that something similar could be happening on Clinton’s server.
Rucker said that the FBI refused to tell him the explanation for the email address, leaving him concerned.
The IT aide Combetta refused to speak to both the Justice Department inspector general and Senate investigators.
FBI agents believed that Combetta repeatedly lied to them, declaring he did not delete emails. After prosecutors gave him immunity, he confessed to doing so.
Gohmert: ‘Raises more questions’
In a House Oversight and Judiciary Committee hearing in July 2018, Strzok told Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, he didn’t remember what Rucker told him.
The Senate report also says Strzok and another FBI official denied remembering anything Rucker told them.
“The trouble is the version of the truth that’s come out now only raises more questions,” Gohmert told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.
“When Peter Strzok said I remember Rucker coming over but I don’t remember anything we talked about, that’s when I knew he was lying,” Gohmert continued.
“Whether they knew about it before or not, there’s no way that kind of blockbuster info would not have made an impression on Strzok as head of intelligence,” he said. “You’re disinterested because you don’t want to know or you don’t want anyone else to know.”
Gohmert said it “raises more questions about the honesty and integrity of those in the FBI that they gave a pass on this and during the House and Senate inquiries into this, nobody mentioned that he had set up another address.”
“It makes the FBI look either incompetent or dishonest, because it didn’t come out from the FBI until the ICIG was so forthcoming that the FBI had no choice,” the congressman said.
“I think Combetta ought to be prosecuted,” Gohmert, a former judge, said.
He noted that typical immunity deals can be canceled if the person has lied at any point.
“And just because there’s incompetence, doesn’t mean there’s not also conspiracy there.”