Former FBI investigator Peter Strzok, who was pulled from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team after it was revealed he exchanged text messages mocking President Trump, was reportedly behind the decision to change then-FBI Director James Comey’s description of Hillary Clinton’s email use from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
CNN reported Monday that Peter Strzok not only led the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state but was also partly behind the change in Comey’s draft language to the “extremely careless” phrase which was seen as a damning indictment of Clinton’s behavior—even though Comey decided not to recommend charges when he made the announcement in July 2016.
Clinton, then in the midst of a bruising presidential campaign fight against then-candidate Trump, was perhaps fortunate to escape without a charge recommendation. However, the phrase “extremely careless” was featured in most news reports on her email usage, and rang in the ears of voters all the way to Election Day.
Yet, the phrase “grossly negligent” would have almost certainly been more powerful, and also carries connotations of criminal activity. CNN notes that federal law has criminal penalties for “gross negligence” in the handling of classified material.
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