After months of speculation, the FBI has finally confirmed that they will be interviewing Hillary Clinton over the emails on her private server. It is an investigation that has gone on for months. So here’s the question: is the FBI able to do anything with this case that isn’t seen as political?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
Late Friday, CBS News was able to confirm that the FBI will in fact be interviewing Hillary Clinton over her private email server, though the bureau has not said when it will hold that interview. So what do we already know about this email scandal? Not theories, but facts?
Fact number one: as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s emails did absolutely contain classified information. In fact, so far, as many as 1,818 classified emails have been located by the FBI on Clinton’s private server.
The question is not whether Clinton had classified emails, it’s whether she broke the law.
That is because an analysis by attorney and national security expert Bradley Moss reveals that most of the classified information in her emails was received, not sent, and that matters.
Secondly, the other question is how much of that classification was done retroactively, meaning how much of the material was designated classified at the time Clinton had it versus how much of it was deemed classified at a later date.
And another important point is that the FBI has been interviewing top Clinton aides like Huma Abedin because remember, that much of the classified information was received and not sent. Abedin, who has worked with the former First Lady since a White House internship back in 1996 and vice-chairs her campaign for president, has now been interviewed by the FBI and is a potential target, along with Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan.
“No one has reached out to me yet, but last summer, I think last August, I made it clear I’m more than ready to talk to anybody any time. And I’ve encouraged… all of uh…you know my assistants to be very forthcoming. And I hope that this is close to being wrapped up,” said Clinton.
Clinton also said, “It’s a security inquiry. I always took classified materials seriously. There was never any material marked classified that was sent or received by me and I look forward to this being wrapped up.”
Clinton has said there is no way she will face charges, in part because other secretaries of state like Colin Powell have done the same thing.
Colin Powell admitted to using a personal email account while in office. He went so far as to use two entirely different computers: a secure State Department computer for secure business and a personal laptop for friends-and-family communication. He admitted, however, to using the personal email account to conduct State Department business regarding non-classified “housekeeping stuff,” though information sent to that account was later classified.
But what is different is that Powell never set up his own personal server, and one of the big questions for Clinton is whether hackers were able to access her server.
A Romanian hacker by the name of Guccifer is now in FBI custody. He claims that he easily hacked into Clinton’s email and had access to all those classified documents.
So what you need to know is that the FBI has an obligation to conduct a full investigation but considering the fact that we are nearing the end of the primary season, the FBI also has an obligation in the public interest to make a determination quickly on whether Clinton did anything illegal and whether she will face any charges.
If no charges are brought, it will be seen by some as political. If charges are filed, it will again appear to be political. And of course, the other question: has Clinton told the truth about these emails from the beginning, or has she continually changed her story to fit the narrative she wants?
Either way, the sooner we have that conversation and get this cleared up, the better for everybody.
That’s Reality Check. Let’s talk about it on Twitter.