Congress receives FBI material on Hillary Clinton emails
Just after Hillary Clinton asked her supporters in Philadelphia not to get “complacent” despite her recent bump in the polls, the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee said Tuesday that the FBI had handed over documents related to their investigation into Clinton and her private email server.
Clinton had no comment, and her campaign is asking for the notes from her interview with the FBI to be made public.
A spokeswoman for the Republican-led House oversight panel said staff is reviewing documents that are classified as secret. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the panel received “FBI witness interview reports, including that of Secretary Clinton’s interview, along with other materials from the FBI’s now closed investigative file.”
The FBI last month closed its yearlong probe into whether Clinton and her aides mishandled sensitive information that flowed through a private email server located in the basement of her New York home. Though he described Clinton’s actions as “extremely careless,” FBI Director James Comey said his agents found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the Democratic presidential nominee.
In a statement, the FBI said the materials were provided to Congress consistent with the agency’s “commitment to transparency” in the Clinton case. The material contains classified information and was provided “with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed” without the FBI’s agreement, the agency said Tuesday.
Furious the FBI didn’t press charges against their political rival, House Republicans pressed the agency to release notes from its agents’ July interview with Clinton. They claim the FBI notes, which are typically kept confidential after an investigation is closed, may show Clinton provided inconsistent answers to questions about her handling of emails containing classified information during testimony last year before the House Benghazi panel.
Republicans are also demanding that the Justice Department open a new investigation into whether Clinton lied to Congress. Justice Department spokeswoman Melanie Newman declined to comment Tuesday on the GOP request for a perjury investigation.
Though the Republicans failed to find evidence to support their claims that Clinton was negligent in preventing or stopping the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, they are now focusing on questions surrounding the Democratic nominee’s haphazard handling of emails containing government secrets. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump routinely criticizes Clinton over her email use when she was secretary of state.
Republicans were particularly eager to obtain the FBI notes, because they are looking for discrepancies between what Clinton told the FBI and what she told Congress. They’re trying to make the case that Clinton committed perjury when she testified before Congress last October.
Specifically, they say Clinton was misleading in the following ways:
First, that she testified that her lawyers had read every page of her emails when working to determine what was work-related and what wasn’t. FBI Director James Comey said the lawyers did not read everything.
Also, Republicans say Clinton testified that none of the emails she sent or received were marked classified.
More than 100 emails exchanged by Clinton were subsequently reviewed and determined to contain information considered classified. Comey said three emails had small markings in the body of the email (not on the header) indicating that material included in the email was classified. Later, the State Department said -- and Comey confirmed -- that two of those emails were mislabeled, and were in fact not marked classified.
Republicans are also scrutinizing Clinton’s testimony that she had handed over all 55,000 pages of her work-related emails but had deleted those that Clinton and her lawyers categorized as personal. The FBI said there were thousands of pages that weren’t turned over.
And the other thing Republicans are focusing on is Clinton’s statement that there was just one server, when the FBI director said that she actually used several different servers in succession.
A Clinton aide told CBS News’ Nancy Cordes Tuesday evening that the perjury accusation “reeks of desperation on the part of Republicans who continue to use taxpayer money to affect an election that isn’t going their way.”
Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon called the request for the FBI notes by Republicans an “extraordinarily rare step” that was solely “for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI.” The Clinton campaign called for the FBI materials to be shared more broadly -- to the public -- so they can see the notes for themselves, “rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks,” Fallon said in a statement.
Sen. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley the Senate received the FBI’s interview summaries from the investigation. Grassley noted that much of the material was marked “unclassified” and he called on the FBI to make as much of the material public as possible. “The public’s business ought to be public, with few exceptions,” Grassley said in a statement.
CBS News’ Nancy Cordes and Hannah Fraser-Chanpong contributed to this report.
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