Feds Eye Criminal Probe of Hillary Clinton’s Emails
By Melanie Batley
Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department has been asked by two inspectors general to launch a criminal probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account for government communication when she was secretary of state.
The request, first reported by The New York Times, is under review, but no decision has been made by the Justice Department, head by Lynch, who was recently appointed by President Barack Obama.
If Lynch were to approve the probe, it would put her agency in a position of looking for possible criminal action related to one of the most powerful politicians in the Democratic Party.
Inspectors general for the State Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are seeking the investigation after writing two memos on the subject to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management, copies of which the Times said were provided to it.
The conclusion of the memos was that Clinton’s private email account had “hundreds of potentially classified emails,” Fox News reported.
The inspectors general said that at least one email that had been made public by the State Department contained sensitive information, according to Fox News.
“She followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials,” Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said Friday in a statement.
“As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted,” Merrill said.
Since the existence of the private email account was uncovered in March, Clinton has insisted that she never sent classified information from her private account, Politico said.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” she said in March. “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
She has nonetheless shielded her correspondences from congressional and Freedom of Information Act requests, the Times reported.
“We are working with both the State IG and the Intelligence Community’s Inspector General to ensure that our review of former Secretary Clinton’s emails is completed in a manner that protects sensitive and potentially classified information,” said Alec Gerlach, a State Department spokesman, in a statement, according to Politico.
The State Department is evaluating 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over from her private account. To date, the department has released 3,000 pages, some of which had redactions.
Roughly 25 of the emails were retroactively deemed to be classified.
Secretary of State John Kerry, asked about the probe request NBC Friday morning, said he expected “it’ll be cleared up.”
“All I know is what I’ve read today and learned today. Inspectors Generals operate completely independently, that’s why they were put there,” Kerry said.
After the Times published the story late Thursday, significant changes were made in response to complaints from Clinton’s representatives.
“Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted,” Merrill said, Politico reported.