Rep. Trey Gowdy said Friday it was “stunning” that the Justice Department had reportedly provided immunity to a computer technician who wiped Hillary Clinton’s private email server despite orders from Congress to preserve its files.
“This is prosecutor 101. You don’t give immunity to the person who actually robbed the bank,” Gowdy said on Fox News.
He continued: “You may want to give it to the getaway driver. You may want to give it to the person who helped count the money afterwards, but you don’t give immunity to the person who walked in and robbed the bank. That’s not that complicated, but that’s apparently what the FBI did.”
On Thursday night, The New York Times reported the Justice Department had given immunity to Paul Combetta. The technician previously conceded to authorities he deleted Clinton’s files while “aware of the existence of the preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data,” according to the report.
“They gave immunity to the very person you would most want to prosecute, which is the person who destroyed official public records after there was a subpoena and after there was a prosecution order,” Gowdy said on Fox News.
Gowdy said the FBI “guessed wrong” and “blew it” by giving Combetta immunity.
“They got it wrong,” he said. “They blew it. They gave immunity to the trigger man. That’s why those of us that used to do it for a living didn’t like to give immunity.”
The former Benghazi chairman added: “You better be right on who the trigger person is. You better be right on who the culprit is if you’re going to give transactional immunity. If that’s what they did, then they immunized the one person you would must want to prosecute for the destruction of government records. It is frankly stunning.”
Brian Fallon, a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, told the Times that Combetta’s actions had already been “thoroughly examined” by authorities.
“As the FBI’s report notes,” Fallon said, “neither Hillary Clinton nor her attorneys had knowledge of the Platte River Network employee’s actions.”
House Republicans announced Tuesday that they had requested an investigation into whether Clinton and her team illegally destroyed evidence during the FBI’s investigation into her use of a private email server.
Pamela Engel contributed to this report.