Well, there was another Friday document dump, this time the FBI’s notes on interviews they conducted with Hillary Clinton’s aides. Nearly 200 pages worth of notes included interviews conducted with Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin. Cheryl Mills, who served as Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, was recently offered partial immunity for her interview with the FBI. The move drew criticism from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chair of the House Oversight Committee regarding how the FBI dealt with these interviews, noting the disturbing instances in which immunity deals were handed out like candy. Furthermore, there’s a glaring conflict of interest: Mills was interviewed as a witness in the investigation into Clinton, while simultaneously serving as her lawyer.
Yet, the latest detail with this document dump is that President Obama was corresponding with Clinton on her private, unsecured, and unauthorized email server using a pseudonym, while she was secretary of state (via Politico):
The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”
In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender.
"Once informed that the sender's name is believed to be pseudonym used by the president, Abedin exclaimed: 'How is this not classified?'" the report says. "Abedin then expressed her amazement at the president's use of a pseudonym and asked if she could have a copy of the email."
The State Department has refused to make public that and other emails Clinton exchanged with Obama. Lawyers have cited the "presidential communications privilege," a variation of executive privilege, in order to withhold the messages under the Freedom of Information Act.
The report doesn't provide more details on the contents of that particular email exchange, but says it took place on June 28, 2012, and had the subject line: "Re: Congratulations." It may refer to the Supreme Court's ruling that day upholding a key portion of the Obamacare law.
T. Becket Adams at The Washington Examiner noted that this little nugget raises questions about whether President Obama was truthful when he said he found out about Clintons’ email server when it was first reported in the news last year:
The latest revelation from the FBI adds to a growing list of questions about Obama's claim in 2015 that he didn't learn of Clinton's private email server until it was on the news.
"My emails, the Blackberry I carry around, all those records are available and archived," the president said in an interview with CBS News' Bill Plante. "I'm glad that Hillary's instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed."
Asked when he learned of Clinton's private emails, Obama responded unequivocally, "the same time that everybody else learned it through news reports."
The White House and the State Department have yet to explain why the FBI believes the president used a pseudonym in emails to Clinton. Further, neither the White House nor the State Department have ever said anything about former secretary of state notifying the president's team that she had "changed her primary email."
Katie wrote in February that the story at the time was Obama did correspond with Clinton, but was unaware that her email server was private. Now, we know that the Obama White House knew full well about the server’s existence due to the change in her primary email.
The White House was apparently aware that Hillary Clinton was using a private email account because her staff said so. When Clinton changed her "primary email address," the White House was informed so that Clinton could still send emails directly to President Obama, Clinton aide Huma Abedin told the FBI during its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server. Obama could only receive emails from designated accounts, and Clinton's was one of them, Abedin said. Accounts that weren't authorized would be rejected by the White House server.
Okay—so many thought this was true from the get-go probably, but now we have documented evidence that the president might have known about this a lot sooner than when he spoke about this matter with CBS News, even going so far as to deploy some secrecy of his own by using a fake name over an unsecure server. At what point did the president know about the private server? Why did he use a fake name, did he know the server was unsecure? Did the email from June of 2012 deal with the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare? There are a lot of questions with these latest documents, which will be answered in due time, but not immediately since these notes were released to the public at a rather odd time: when all of the press left for the weekend.