A ex – aide to Hillary Clinton has been given immunity in a criminal investigation, and the FBI is likely to question Clinton herself.
Hillary Clinton’s email server technician is finally singing.
The Washington Post is confirming that the Department of Justice granted immunity to Bryan Pagliano as a swap for his cooperation with the FBI’s investigation into whether classified information was mishandled on Clinton’s private email server.
As one Justice Department put it: “There was wrongdoing. But was it criminal wrongdoing?”
Pagliano could hold the key to that query. The IT director on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, Pagliano was hired as deputy chief information officer at the State Department in May 2009. Part of his job there was to manage Clinton’s server, which hosted her personal email address and was kept at her residence in New York.
Pagliano previously invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when called to testify by congressional committees. A spokesman mentioned the Clinton campaign was “pleased” that Pagliano was cooperating, though what else are they going to say?
Clinton herself is very likely to be questioned by the FBI sometime in the next few weeks. The Post reports:
As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents will likely want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said.
Clearly this is not good news for Clinton. The question is just how bad it is.
Clinton is successfully fighting a two-front war. On one side, she’s running a political campaign for president. On the other, she’s working to defend herself against charges of wrongdoing in the email investigation, because criminal charges could effectively death knell her campaign. The most current developments in the email case come just as things were beginning to look good on the political side-Clinton has hit her stride in latest primaries and appears to have a solid edge over Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination.
What certainly is not clear yet is who may face criminal charges: Clinton? Other aides? No one at all? There’s not yet any proof of a grand jury being convened to handle the investigation.
The case of David Petraeus, the former CIA director who it was one speculated may run against Clinton, looms over the case, and its effect is unclear. The Post reports that Petraeus’s wrongdoing is seen as worse, and since he got off with a light sentence of two years’ probation and a $100,000 fine, officials felt it would be hard to go after Clinton. But Petraeus’s escape angered some in the Justice Department and FBI who claimed political interference, adding to the scrutiny in this case and the pressure for an independent process. The final decision rests with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
The reality that Clinton was utilizing a private server for her work email surfaced in the course of the investigation into the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, which killed four Americans. None of the information of the emails so far has been especially damning about Benghazi or anything else-though there are some embarrassing moments, which include Clinton’s seeming technological ignorance and the flattery of friends like Sidney Blumenthal. But a total of 65 emails were not released because they contain data classified “secret.” Clinton and her aides demand she did not send any classified information, and that anything that is currently secret had its classification changed later. Others, which include the inspector general for the Intelligence Community, have disagreed.
The emails have turn out to be a classic Clinton scandal. Even though expertise have found no wrongdoing on her part with respect to the Benghazi attacks themselves, Clinton’s private-email use and worries about whether she sent classified information have become huge stories unto themselves. This is a pattern with the Clinton family, which has been in the public spotlight since Bill Clinton’s first run for office, in 1974: Something that looks perhaps scandalous on its face turns out to be innocuous, but an investigation into it reveals different questionable behavior. The canonical case is Whitewater, a failed real-estate investment Bill and Hillary Clinton made in 1978. While no questions ever produced proof of wrongdoing, investigations in the end led to President Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice.
With Hillary Clinton leading the field for the Democratic nomination for president, every Clinton scandal-from Whitewater to the State Department emails-will be under the microscope. (No other American politicians-even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush-have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.) Keeping track of each controversy, where it came from, and how serious it is, is no small task, so here’s a primer. We’ll update it as new information emerges.