When it was revealed earlier this month that the FBI had extended immunity to Bryan Pagliano -- the former Hillary Clinton staffer who set up her improper, unsecure, national security-compromising email scheme -- both the New York Times and Washington Post reported that federal investigators were likely to seek interviews with senior Clinton aides, as well as the presidential candidate herself. As Leah mentioned earlier, the Los Angeles Times is now reporting that a federal prosecutor has begun phoning up Clintonworld, alerting key figures' attorneys that this is, in fact, happening:
Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases. Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries. No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.
The interviews by FBI agents and prosecutors will play a significant role in helping them better understand whether Clinton or her aides knowingly or negligently discussed classified government secrets over a non-secure email system when she served as secretary of State. The meetings also are an indication that much of the investigators' background work – recovering deleted emails, understanding how the server operated and determining whether it was breached – is nearing completion. “The interviews are critical to understand the volume of information they have accumulated,” said James McJunkin, former head of the FBI's Washington field office. “They are likely nearing the end of the investigation and the agents need to interview these people to put the information in context. They will then spend time aligning these statements with other information, emails, classified documents, etc., to determine whether there is a prosecutable case."
This clearly isn't a pro forma "security review," the go-to dismissal Mrs. Clinton employed in media interviews and primary debates for weeks. The LA Times story repeatedly casts a Clinton indictment as unlikely, quoting a law professor who doesn't believe the evidence backs up allegations of criminality. Other legal experts disagree, such as former US Attorney General and federal judge Michael Mukasey, whose January Wall Street Journal op/ed spelled out the case for prosecution: "From [Clinton's] direction that classification rules be disregarded, to the presence on her personal email server of information at the highest level of classification, to her repeated falsehoods of a sort that juries are told every day may be treated as evidence of guilty knowledge—it is nearly impossible to draw any conclusion other than that she knew enough to support a conviction at the least for mishandling classified information," he wrote. The law forbids grossly negligent handling of classified material by US officials. Mrs. Clinton ordered a private email server set up, in violation of "clear cut rules," through which she conducted all of her official business. It was woefully under-secure, yet ended up housing more than 2,000 classified emails, including dozens designated as secret, top secret, and beyond top secret. She maintained her use of the server even after she was specifically warned by the State Department that foreign hackers were trying to penetrate government secrets by targeting top officials' private email accounts. I'm no expert, but in what way would this conduct not rise to the level of gross negligence? Furthermore, Hillary Clinton has lied repeatedly about virtually every aspect of this scandal -- with two additional lies being confirmed by a freshly-released message just last week. Via Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained State Department documents from February 2009 containing emails that appear to contradict statements by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails were turned over to the State Department and that she did not use her clintonemail.com email system until March 2009. The emails also contain more evidence of the battle between security officials in the State Department, National Security Administration, Clinton and her staff over attempts to obtain secure Blackberrys. The new documents include another February 13, 2009, email, written after the Mills-Clinton exchange, that shows that State and NSA security officials were shocked and surprised by Clinton’s Blackberry demands...Despite [warnings] about using Blackberry “outside a SCIF,” Mrs. Clinton and her staff continued to use unsecured Blackberrys. The documents suggest a continued push for secure Blackberrys in late March 2009 but the documents are heavily redacted...“So now we know that, contrary to her statement under oath suggesting otherwise, Hillary Clinton did not turn over all her government emails,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We also know why Hillary Clinton falsely suggests she didn’t use clintonemail.com account prior to March, 18, 2009 – because she didn’t want Americans to know about her February 13, 2009, email that shows that she knew her Blackberry and email use was not secure.”
In other words, no, Clinton did not turn over all of her work-related emails as she's claimed under oath (which we already knew to be untrue), and no, she did not start using her bootleg ClintonEmail account in late March of 2009. Before you go, be sure to read WaPo's extensive new story revealing the backstory of Hillary's email scandal. While the Obama administration was talking a big game on accountability and transparency, Hillary's cabal was engineering self-serving and rule-breaking workarounds. And despite admonitions from national security officials to abide by established protocols, Hillary's inner circle did exactly the opposite. The piece is so packed with useful information, it's probably worth a closer look in a follow-up post. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here's a pretty thorough review of the latest developments from MSNBC's Morning Joe, which has been fairly solid on fact-checking Hillary throughout the email controversy: