Hillary Clinton’s email mess just won’t go away. FBI Director James Comey was asked Wednesday if the Bureau would make their findings public whether charges are brought or not. Comey declined to answer, but told Fox News nobody who is investigated gets special treatment.
Clinton has downplayed the FBI investigation, calling it a “security inquiry.” She used the term again Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“I say what I’ve said now for many, many months. It’s a security inquiry. I always took classified material seriously,” Clinton said. “There was never any material marked classified that was sent or received by me, and I look forward to this being wrapped up.”
However, when asked on Wednesday about the Hillary Clinton email probe, Comey said he’s “not familiar with the term ‘security inquiry.’”
FBI Director, James Comey questions Hillary Clinton’s take on FBI email probe. https://t.co/foyHQVUWHw
— Nightline (@Nightline) May 12, 2016
“We’re conducting an investigation,” Comey said. “That’s what we do.”
Reports of FBI investigators meeting with some of Clinton’s top aides sparked the Wednesday news conference. Speculation has been growing that the investigation will be completed in the midst of the 2016 presidential race. Comey, however, said he’s not “tethered” to a schedule, and wants to do the job “well” rather than quickly.
The timing of the investigation and its result, whether she’s charged with a crime or not, will be crucial. Many wonder whether Hillary Clinton’s email blunder will lose her the Democratic nomination. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, is behind her by several hundred delegates, but he’s not out of the race yet. Sanders won the West Virginia primary on Tuesday.
The investigation reaches far and wide. Marcel Lehel Lazar, a Romanian computer hacker known as “Guccifer,” was recently arrested and extradited to the U.S. to face cyber charges. One of those charges, says Fox News, may prove a third party did get into Hillary Clinton’s email. Lazar claims he breached Clinton’s personal email server easily in 2013. The hacker is reportedly cooperating with the FBI. He claimed to have had an 80-minute conversation with the FBI on the plane from Romania to Virginia. He said the conversation was recorded, and that he took his own notes as well. A government source gave no details but said that a long conversation did take place.
Another player is former State Department IT staffer Bryan Pagliano, who is also cooperating with the FBI. Pagliano installed and maintained Hillary Clinton’s email server. The Department of Justice has granted him immunity. However, ABC News reports that investigators can’t find Pagliano’s emails from the time he was Clinton’s IT guy.
“To be clear, the Department does have records related to Mr. Pagliano and we are working with Congress and [Freedom of Information Act] requesters to provide relevant material,” said State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau. “The Department has located a pst from Mr. Pagliano’s recent work at the Department as a contractor, but the files are from after Secretary Clinton left the Department.”
In other words, investigators can’t find Pagliano’s emails from when Clinton was secretary of State, the time period when her email server was allegedly hacked.
Hillary Clinton’s email debacle, though ongoing, was not addressed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, until now. Mr. Clinton now says Hillary’s emails were only deemed “secret” after she saw them. He said prosecuting her after that fact would be like prosecuting someone doing 40 mph in a 50 mph zone because the police had arbitrarily changed the speed limit to 35 mph.
Judge Andrew Napolitano disagrees. He says that “Emails are confidential, secret or top-secret at the time they are created, whether marked or not.” He also said that Clinton got a “two hour tutorial” from the FBI on the handling of state secrets, after which she swore an oath to protect them whether bearing “classified” markings or not.
Do you think the Hillary Clinton email investigation will keep her out of office?
[Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images]