Hillary Clinton is on a path to win the Democratic nomination, but the looming FBI investigation and the possibility of an indictment against the former Secretary of State is casting a pall over the race that could end up sending the Democratic Party scrambling later this summer.
Clinton is under FBI investigation for her alleged use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State to share classified information. Though a growing number of legal experts believe that the investigation will end with an indictment for Clinton, it’s the timing that may be the biggest concern for the Democratic Party.
FBI Director James Comey said this week that the bureau is in no rush to finish the investigation before this summer’s Democratic National Convention.
“Somebody asked me if the Democratic National Convention is a hard stop or a key date for you? Are you doing this aimed at that? And I said, no,” he said via NBC News. “We aspire to do all our investigations in two ways — well and promptly, especially investigations that are of great interest to the public. We want to do them promptly.”
Comey added that there is growing pressure for the FBI to ensure that it is indeed completed “well and promptly,” but between the two he would make sure it’s done well.
That could create a scenario where Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic Party’s candidate only to face an indictment — and for the party to potentially find a new candidate. Legal experts believe that steps taken by the FBI point toward indictment. Last month, U.S. officials moved to extradite the Romanian hacker known as “Gufficer,” who first revealed Clinton’s unsecured email server.
The hacker, whose real name is Marcel Lehel Lazar, would be a key part in making the case that Hillary Clinton’s email server was unsecure and could have spilled secrets to America’s enemies, Fox News experts Catherine Herridge and Pamela K. Browne wrote.
“Because of the proximity to Sidney Blumenthal and the activity involving Hillary’s emails, [the timing] seems to be something beyond curious,” the report quoted Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in reference to Guccifer’s extradition.
Even as she wraps up the Democratic race against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton has faced growing pressure over the FBI investigation. Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley said Friday that the FBI may fight back if Clinton or others push “political interference” to get in the way of the investigation.
“Is there going to be political interference? If there’s enough evidence to prosecute, will there be political interference?” Grassley said via the Des Moines Register. “And if there’s political interference, then I assume that somebody in the FBI is going to leak these reports and it’s either going to have an effect politically or it’s going to lead to prosecution if there’s enough evidence.”
When asked what the FBI might release, Grassley walked back the comments a bit, noting that he was not advocating for the FBI to leak Clinton’s dirty laundry.
“I wouldn’t be encouraging it because if it’s a violation of law, I can’t be encouraging a violation of law,” Grassley said. “This is kind of my own opinion, this is something I’ve heard.”
Despite the growing concerns of a potential indictment, Hillary Clinton has remained defiant regarding the FBI investigation. She has continually dismissed it as a “security review” and told NBC’s Matt Lauer that those who believe she will be indicted are living in “that world of fantasy and hope.”
[Picture by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]