Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert doubled down after the FBI dismissed claims that a Chinese state-owned company hacked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
'[P]artisan politics, sadly, are very much at play within some of the leadership at the FBI," the Texas congressman said in a statement late Wednesday.
The Daily Caller first reported that the FBI was notified of the purported hack in 2015, when the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) warned the bureau of the intrusion. The hack reportedly implanted code that generated a “courtesy copy” for almost all Clinton's emails -- which was then forwarded to the Chinese company.
A source briefed on the matter confirmed to Fox News the details of the Caller’s reporting. Gohmert also had told Fox News on Tuesday that the emails were obtained by a foreign country’s intelligence, though he declined to name the country in question.
But on Wednesday, the FBI sharply disputed the claims, saying it “has not found any evidence the servers were compromised.”
In his overnight statement, Gohmert argued it was the ICIG -- not the FBI -- that discovered the breach. He said the FBI conveniently omitted that detail.
“It’s not surprising that the FBI ‘has not found any evidence’ regarding Clinton’s servers being breached,” Gohmert, R-Texas, said. “It was the Obama-appointed Intelligence Community Inspector General that discovered the breach. It was not the FBI that found it, so their statement was technically correct, but very deceptive in its omission.”
The FBI also had referred Fox News to the Justice Department’s Inspector General report, which was released in June, to push back on the Caller's reporting.
That report, which examined the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server and her handling of classified information, detailed how the FBI conducted an intrusion analysis into the server to look for evidence of a breach.
Yet even that report acknowledges those efforts were limited.
The report notes the FBI “was limited in its intrusion analysis due to the ‘FBI’s inability to recover all server equipment and the lack of complete server data for the relevant time period.'”
The report also notes that the FBI “identified vulnerabilities in Clinton’s server systems and found that there had been numerous unsuccessful attempts by potential malicious actors to exploit those vulnerabilities.”
The report quotes an FBI forensics agent who said he did not believe there was “any way of determining … 100%” whether Clinton’s servers had been compromised, but felt "fairly confident that there wasn’t an intrusion.”
Gohmert first raised the issue of the breach at former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok’s public testimony on Capitol Hill last month, asking whether Strzok was briefed about an anomaly on Clinton’s emails found by ICIG officials.
Strzok said he remembered meeting with the ICIG officials, but did not remember the details of the meeting.
Gohmert raised that exchange in his overnight statement.
“When I asked Peter Strzok about this, he said that he remembered being briefed by the ICIG investigator but did not remember what it was about. That is not credible,” Gohmert said, while accusing Strzok of trying to "protect" Clinton.
A spokesman for Clinton told The Daily Caller that the FBI “spent thousands of hours investigating, and found no evidence of intrusion. That’s a fact.”
The ICIG declined to comment.
Strzok was part of the Mid-Year Exam team at the FBI—the bureau’s code word for the Clinton investigation. Strzok, who served on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team until his anti-Trump text messages were discovered, lost his security clearance in July and was fired from the FBI earlier this month.