The Justice Department official in charge of informing Congress about the newly reactivated Hillary Clinton email probe is a political appointee and former private-practice lawyer who kept Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta “out of jail,” lobbied for a tax cheat later pardoned by President Bill Clinton and led the effort to confirm Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Peter Kadzik, who was confirmed as assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in June 2014, represented Podesta in 1998 when independent counsel Kenneth Starr was investigating Podesta for his possible role in helping ex-Bill Clinton intern and mistress Monica Lewinsky land a job at the United Nations.
“Fantastic lawyer. Kept me out of jail,” Podesta wrote on Sept. 8, 2008 to Obama aide Cassandra Butts, according to emails hacked from Podesta’s Gmail account and posted by WikiLeaks.
Kadzik’s name has surfaced multiple times in regard to the FBI’s investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for using a private, homebrewed server. After FBI Director James Comey informed Congress on Thursday the FBI was reviving its inquiry when new evidence linked to a separate investigation was discovered, congressional leaders wrote to the Department of Justice seeking more information. Kadzik replied.
“We assure you that the Department will continue to work closely with the FBI and together, dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible,” Kadzik wrote on Oct. 31.
The DOJ is responsible for approving the bureau’s warrant applications and ultimately for convening a grand jury.
Fox News has previously confirmed the Justice Department was opposed to Comey making public the latest Clinton revelations.
Kadzik had been an attorney with Dickstein Shapiro LLP for 18 years before he represented Podesta in the Clinton/Lewinsky investigation. He was hired in 2000 as a lobbyist for tax cheat Marc Rich, who was controversially granted a pardon by President Bill Clinton during Clinton’s final days in office. Kadzik got the job “because he was ‘trusted by [White House Chief of Staff John] Podesta,’ and was considered to be a ‘useful person to convey [Marc Rich’s] arguments to Mr. Podesta,’” according to a 2002 House Oversight Committee report.
Podesta and Kadzik kept up their relationship after Kadzik was appointed to the DOJ. In a May 5, 2015 email, Kadzik’s son, PJ, wrote to Podesta seeking a job on Hillary Clinton’s newly launched presidential campaign.
“I have always aspired to work on a presidential campaign, and have been waiting for some time now for Hilary [sic] to announce so that I can finally make this aspiration a reality,” PJ Kadzik wrote.
Podesta said he would “check around,” but it’s unclear what came of the request.
Kadzik was also a dinner guest of Podesta and his wife, Mary, on Oct. 23, 2015 – the day after Hillary Clinton testified before the House Benghazi committee, another email shows.
In a separate exchange about another dinner meeting, on Jan. 12, 2016, Kadzik emailed Podesta: “We on?”
Podesta replied, “Yes sorry. 7:30 at our place.”
“Great. C u then,” Kadzik wrote back the next day.
Though he said he has had “many differences” with Kadzik, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R.-S.C., said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday that he wasn’t concerned about any potential conflicts of interest.
“Peter Kadzik is not a decision maker, he is a messenger,” Gowdy said.
Kadzik is still a key official in the department. He “led the successful effort to confirm Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates,” according to his DOJ biography. Lynch has come under increased scrutiny since it emerged she met privately with Bill Clinton in the days before the FBI initially said it would not seek to prosecute Hillary Clinton.