The FBI interviewed Hillary Clinton on Saturday about her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, her campaign announced after the meeting, as federal investigators neared the end of the probe that has hung over her White House bid.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, gave a voluntary interview for 3 1/2 hours at FBI headquarters in Washington, her campaign said.
“I’ve been eager to do it, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to assist the department in bringing its review to a conclusion,” Clinton said in describing the FBI session to NBC’s “Meet the Press” for an interview. She agreed that the tone of the session was civil and business-like.
Clinton said she had no knowledge of any timeline for the review and would not comment on whether she was given an indication that charges would not be filed.
Spokespeople for the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.
For Clinton, the interview indicates that the Justice Department’s yearlong probe is drawing to a close only four weeks before she is set to be formally nominated as the Democrats’ choice to succeed President Barack Obama.
Clinton’s FBI interview was expected, and it does not suggest that she or anyone else is likely to face prosecution. If Clinton and her aides are exonerated, it might help brush aside a major distraction throughout her campaign that has made many voters question her trustworthiness.
But as the past week shows, the case is complicated. Clinton sat down with the FBI just days after her husband, former President Bill Clinton, walked across a hot airport tarmac in Phoenix for an impromptu meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Lynch’s husband. The couple had just landed.
The nation’s top law enforcement official later expressed regret that she had met with the former president, whose plane was about to depart Phoenix, even though she said it was social in nature and they did not discuss the email review. Bill Clinton nominated Lynch as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in 1999.
Lynch said Friday that she intended to accept the findings and recommendations of career prosecutors who have spent months investigating the case. As far as the meeting with Clinton, she said in hindsight that she would not do it again.
An aide to Bill Clinton said Saturday that the former president recognized how others could view his meeting with Lynch and agreed with her that he would not do it again. The aide was not authorized to be named and issued the statement on condition of anonymity, in response to news media queries.
For her part, Hillary Clinton told NBC that she learned about the meeting between her husband and Lynch through the news media and described it as they did — “It was purely social” — and said they didn’t discuss the investigation.
“But obviously no one wants to see any untoward conclusions drawn, and they’ve said, you know, they would not do it again,” she said.
The meeting raised questions about its propriety given the investigation, and congressional Republicans have renewed calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case.
Donald Trump, the Republican Party candidate, has repeatedly said the email issue undermines Clinton’s fitness for office, and he suggested she will receive leniency from a Democratic administration. Trump has called his opponent “Crooked Hillary” and said she cannot be trusted in the White House.
Following reports of Clinton’s FBI interview, Trump tweeted: “It is impossible for the FBI not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. What she did was wrong! What Bill did was stupid!”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that the FBI interview reinforces Clinton’s “central role in deliberately creating a culture which put her own political ambitions above State Department rules and jeopardized our national security.”
During the campaign, the former New York senator has argued that she is more trustworthy than Trump on handling the issues that matter to most Americans: foreign policy, national security and running the economy. But the investigation poses an unwelcome distraction just as Clinton has vanquished her primary rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, holds a huge fundraising advantage over Trump and polls show her well-placed to become America’s first female president even as many voters question her honesty.
While she was Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton exclusively used a private email server for her government and personal emails, rather than the State Department’s email system. The Associated Press revealed the existence of the server in March 2015.
Clinton has said relying on a private server was a mistake but other secretaries of state had also used a personal email address.
The FBI is investigating the potential mishandling of sensitive information. The matter was referred last summer by the inspectors general for the State Department and intelligence community following the discovery of emails that were later determined to contain classified material.
Clinton has repeatedly said that none of the emails were marked classified at the time they were sent or received. As part of the probe, she has turned over the hard drive from her email server to the FBI.
The State Department’s inspector general, the agency’s internal watchdog, said in a blistering audit in May that Clinton and her team ignored clear warnings from State Department officials that her email setup violated federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers. Clinton declined to talk to the inspector general, but the audit reported that Clinton feared “the personal being accessible” if she used a government email account.
Agents have already interviewed top Clinton aides including her former State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, a longtime aide who is the vice chairwoman of Clinton’s campaign.
The staffer who set up the server, Bryan Pagliano, was granted limited immunity from prosecution by the Justice Department and has also cooperated with federal investigators. The FBI as a matter of course seeks to interview individuals central to an investigation before concluding its work.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
EEL RIVER says
HOW CAN YOU COMMIT TREASON WITHOUT PUNISHMENT, AND A FEW OTHER FEDERAL LAWS, WELL U HAVE JUST SEEN IT HAPPEN, THE FIX WAS IN LONG AGO. AND THE GREAT DOG AN PONY SHOW CONTINUES TO AMAZE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. HOW STUPID DOES THE COMMUNIST PARTY THINK WE ARE? 3 OR 4 DIFFERENT JUDGES HAVE COMMENTED ON HOW GUILTY THIS OL BAG REALY IS. NAMED 3 OR 4 LAWS AN STATUTES THAT THIS OL BAG HAS BROKEN!
We are to blame for the corruption that permiates the entire DC Establishment. It is our votes who put these criminals in office, it is our votes (and lack of votes) who keep these career politicians there, term after term, to further build thier power and influence, and our spoiled ways that prevent us from doing the right things because we don’t want to be inconvenienced. We get what we create, and then are unhappy about it, but won’t do anything to fix it. We are mostly of good intentions, just too lazy and spoiled to take the necessary action. Too bad that we don’t have the motivation of our Founding Fathers. For those of us who hated the Obama years, get ready for even worse if Hillary Clinton is elected.
You are so right. Sadly there are these people who do not have a clue, & they vote for the biggest liars every time.
Louise van Vianen says
Hillary Clinton free???????? No crime committed? Lies prevailing and accepted as truth? A crooked justice system controlled by bribes and death threads?How is all this going to end? I tell you how. America ending up under communistic, socialistic, Islamic control. Every form of freedom suppressed. A Fema camp cotton bed our only home. Death by starvation, satanic sacrifice rituals or shot dead on the spot. Is that what you want for your future Americans? Seeing your children being sacrificed, cut and their blood offered to the OWL god. Is that what you want to look forward to? “Mummy, I am hungry” and no food to give them. You wife being raped in front of you and your children. Your home confiscated as well as all the money you have on the bank? Is that what you want fellow Americans. It’s coming whether you like it or not. That’s the future of our country. And you are asking for it by allowing those like the Obamas, the Clintons, the Lynches, and their sort, now occupying our governrnent leadership positions to continue their criminal activities and getting away with it. So don’t
complain when it starts happening. Blame yourself by having done nothing to prevent it. Yes, there are expressions of protest, disagreements, words, words, words, ……….but where is the action to back it all up? Freedom of speech – in action?
Right at the White (Rainbow) house! Fifty states demanding the resignation of the present government , being replaced by Donald Trump as our saviour president, our rescuer, a man who loves his country and will do anything to bring it back to where it used to be. Donald Trump in the White House – right now. I suggest all 50 states getting together to organize a peaceful march up to the White House to remove this present criminal government, demanding its resignation and voting Donald Trump in office. Not in November, RIGHT NOW!!!!!!! Its now or never folks. Words don’t work anymore. Neither do debates, T.V. interviews only leading to justifying crimes, or comments. Preachers confusing the masses. Occultism, fantasies, lies, immorality, all being glorified in schools, universities, on radio. television, films and magazines all loaded with false prophets.
Eight years of treason ending up in confusion as to which bathroom to go to. No ACTIONS against it. Confusion about the true
gender. You children are not yours anymore. Their minds being controlled the minute they turn on television or their computer. So is yours for the same reason. It has to stop. Right now before it is too late folks. The only solution is a
march, up to the White (Rainbow) house to stop it all – by all Americans. You future and mine is at stake. It’s either death or life
for every American. Us and our children. Do you want to continue watching parents killing their children and visa versa?
Traitors betraying our country and becoming billionaires by doing so? Sexual immorality being promoted in everything that sounds, shows and reads. Bribes to keep riots and protest marches going on. And on and on it goes all paid by stolen money.
IT HAS TO STOP AMERICANS. IT HAS TO STOP. BUT IT IS UP TO ALL OF US. SO, TO WASHINGTON, IT HAS TO BE.
ALL OF US TOGETHER OR REPRESENTED BY APPOINTED LEADERS OF ALL 50 STATES. CRIMES ON HIGH LEVELS
HAVE TO STOP. IT’S UP TO ALL OF US. So, LET’S GET IN ACTION. UP TO WASHINGTON – ALL OF US OR REPRESENTED
BY 50 HEADS OF STATE. NOW 0R NEVER!!!!!!!!!!! We cannot lose time anymore. Now is the issue. Write the head of your state and demand a confrontation with the government represented by all 50 states leaders. Demanding resignation of the current government, and replacement by Donald Trump – our only hope for making America great again. Peace and safety
for all of us and our children and future generations. The time is NOW! Win or lose! It’s up to every American individual. You and me!
Stephen Russell says
Only 3 hours, Hell Id done it for 6 now that we know got away scot free.
Whose covering for her to this Extent
& I say Release Gen Petraus & Re enstate to office
& bring back IT guy from Russia.
Cant charge now IF U cant charge Hillary for same or worse.
Unfair & WRONG.