147 agents working to determine if there is a “prosecutable case”
Despite her nonchalance about the issue, Hillary Clinton’s email problems are not going away. The FBI investigation has entered a new phase as the FBI is set to interview Hillary’s longtime and closest aides.
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 indicate that the FBI investigation of the server and recovery of deleted emails is coming to a close and that the next phase of the investigation will soon begin.
The Los Angeles Times continues:
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.”
Watch the report:
For its part, the FBI does not seem to be skimping on allocating resources for the investigation. The Washington Post reports that there are 147 agents involved in the investigation.
For me, the 147 number was eye-popping — suggesting this investigation was far more wide-ranging than I, at least, believed. That doesn’t mean Clinton is guilty — or anything close to it. But it does suggest that this is not a sort of obligatory look-see by the FBI. This is a wide-reaching examination of all of the communications between Clinton and her aides — and no one running for president wants that to be happening as they try to wrap up the party’s presidential nomination.
The Washington Post continues:
. . . [A]ccording to legal experts, Clinton is very unlikely to be punished for her exclusive use of a private email server during her time at State since the practice was not forbidden. (Worth noting: Lots of other secretaries of state used private email accounts to supplement their official accounts; none used only a private email account and server.) Potentially more problematic for Clinton is her insistence that she never knowingly sent or received any messages that were marked classified at the time.
Hillary’s defense is that there is no rule or law against having a private email server tucked away in someone’s bathroom. She’s right, there isn’t. However, the very appearance of trickery and deceit, of putting national security at risk so that she could “control the narrative,” is a serious problem for her. It smacks of the dishonest, unethical, and untrustworthy reputation that has dogged her for decades.