CNN's Toobin: FBI 'Incompetent' or 'Actively Partisan,' 'Looks Like Wing' of GOP

Reacting to news that the FBI had released documentation on former President Bill Clinton's controversial pardon of Marc Rich from 2001, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin exasperatedly declared that the agency was either being "oblivious and incompetent" or "actively partisan" in the presidential race. He later observed that the document release "makes the FBI look like a wing of the Republican party."

On Tuesday's The Situation Room, after host Wolf Blitzer read the FBI's "official statement" explaining the timing of its action on the Marc Rich documents as being in reaction to a Freedom of Information Act request, Toobin snarked: "Yeah, the official statement from me is: Give me a break. I mean, the, you know, I have made FOIA requests, and they take years. It is a very difficult process."

After CNN correspondent Dana Bash injected, "Fifteen years?" Toobin continued: "It can sometimes take 15 years. And the idea that they were obliged to do this on top of Comey's statement about Hillary Clinton last week, it just shows at least that they are oblivious and incompetent if not actively partisan in this presidential race."

A couple of hours later on Anderson Cooper 360, host Cooper asked: "Jeff, first of all, on this whole Marc Rich document dump from the FBI, is it just a coincidence that it happened now?"

The CNN legal analyst began: "Well, perhaps. It is certainly bizarre. As someone who has made FOIA requests to the FBI, they are notoriously terrible about responding to them. They take years. They don't release documents in any sort of orderly or consistent way, but it is conceivable that this was just a coincidence."

He then added: "But, coming on top of the director, Comey's very unusual and controversial release last week, it just makes the FBI look like a wing of the Republican party."

Below are transcripts of relevant porrions of CNN's The Situation Room and CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 from Tuesday, November 1:

6:44 p.m. ET
WOLF BLITZER: We've got an update on our top story, the all of a sudden the FBI releasing these documents related to the controversial Bill Clinton pardon of a financier whose wife made major contributions to the Democratic party back in 2001. FBI has finally released a statement. Let me read it to our viewers:

"The FBI's Records Management Division receives thousands of FOIA requests annually which are processed on a first in, first out basis. By law, FOIA materials that have been requested three or more times are posted electronically to the FBI's public reading room shortly after they are processed. Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials become available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI's public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures."

Jeffrey Toobin, this is the official statement from the FBI hours after all of a sudden this emerged.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, the official statement from me is: Give me a break. I mean, the, you know, I have made FOIA requests, and they take years. It is a very difficult process.

DANA BASH: Fifteen years?

TOOBIN: It can sometimes take 15 years. And the idea that they were obliged to do this on top of Comey's statement about Hillary Clinton last week, it just shows at least that they are oblivious and incompetent if not actively partisan in this presidential race.

(...)

8:13 p.m. ET
ANDERSON COOPER: Jeff, first of all, on this whole Marc Rich document dump from the FBI, is it just a coincidence that it happened now?

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, perhaps. It is certainly bizarre. As someone who has made FOIA requests to the FBI, they are notoriously terrible about responding to them. They take years. They don't release documents in any sort of orderly or consistent way, but it is conceivable that this was just a coincidence, but, coming on top of the director, Comey's very unusual and controversial release last week, it just makes the FBI look like a wing of the Republican party.

NB Daily Campaign Watch 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Political Scandals FBI CNN The Situation Room Anderson Cooper 360 Video James Comey Jeffrey Toobin Hillary Clinton Bill Clinton Marc Rich


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