7 Key Questions Still Remain Unclear in Clinton Email Hearings
The announcement that the FBI will interview four aides who served under Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State has signaled that the Bureau is coming to the end of its investigation into the questionable arrangements she made for email communications while serving as the nation’s top diplomat in President Obama’s first administration.
Bryan Pagliano, the IT specialist who worked at State while being paid privately by Clinton to handle her private – and apparently secret – email server at her home has already been granted immunity by the FBI in connection with the investigation.
Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and her deputy, Heather Samuelson; deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan; and spokesman Philippe Reines will also be interviewed, and have retained counsel.
But now, over a year Clinton’s use of the private server to conduct all official State Department business, there is speculation as to how the well-respected director of the FBI, James Comey, will proceed if the findings indicate federal laws were broken, and the political impact such a move might have on Clinton’s candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Among the questions to be answered in the coming weeks and months…
How soon will the investigation be completed? Comey has a reputation for integrity among both Democrats and Republicans, and aware of the impact the report will have on the nominating conventions. Insiders believe his report will be released in May.
Did Clinton’s email set-up violate federal laws? Federal statutes prohibit employees from concealing an official document “from its proper place of custody” or “keeping it at an unauthorized location.”
What impact will Director Comey’s report have on Clinton’s candidacy?Clinton’s biggest problem is that the report will create political controversy no matter its conclusion. Exoneration will appear to many to be a cover-up to protect President Obama’s presumed successor. An indictment will be fatal to Clinton’s chances.
Some observers believe Comey may, instead, conclude that mistakes were made, but decline to recommend indictment, recommending revisions to State Department policies and procedures at State in the future.
Was confidential information hacked? Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes the odds are “pretty high” Russia, China and Iran could have accessed data on Clinton’s private server.