February/March – June, 2016: Lisa Page testifies there were lots of disagreements between the FBI and DOJ over Clinton’s private server

In Email Timeline Post-Election 2016, Email/Dossier Investigations by Katie Weddington

(Credit: public domain)

“As Page noted during her testimony, “there were lots and lots and lots of disagreements between the FBI and the department.” One issue of ongoing contention was Clinton’s actual email server:

“There was a great deal of discussion between the FBI and the department with respect to whether to proceed, obtain the server which housed the bulk of Secretary Clinton’s emails, pursuant to consent or pursuant to a subpoena or other compulsory process.”

Additionally, access to the laptops of Clinton’s aides and personal lawyers was an area of particular contention:

“There were, I think, months of disagreement with respect to obtaining the Mills and Samuelson laptops. So Heather Mills and—Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson were both lawyers who engaged in the sorting. Once it had been identified that Secretary Clinton had these emails—I’m guessing it’s pursuant to the FOIA request, but I don’t really know—she—well, our understanding is that she asked her two lawyers to take the bulk of the 60,000 emails and to sort out those which were work-related from those which were personal and to produce the work-related ones to the State Department.

“They did so. That 30,000 is sort of the bulk of the emails that we relied on in order to do the investigative technique, although we found other emails a jillion other places. We, the FBI, felt very strongly that we had to acquire and attempt to review the content of the Mills and Samuelson laptops because, to the extent the other 30,000 existed anywhere, that is the best place that they may have existed.”

“And notwithstanding the fact that they had been deleted, you know, we wanted at least to take a shot at using, you know, forensic recovery tools in order to try to ensure that, in fact, the sorting that occurred between—or by Mills and Samuelson was done correctly.”

According to Page, the ongoing dispute with the DOJ ran from “February/March-ish of 2016” to June of 2016. Page also noted one other critical factor in the investigation: “the FBI cannot execute a search warrant without approval from the Justice Department.”

Notably, Page, an experienced lawyer, thought the legal case could be made that the Mills and Samuelson laptops should be made available for forensic examination. As she noted, the frustration within the FBI came, in part, from the DOJ’s “unwillingness to explain their reasoning.”

Page noted that the issue regarding the laptops rose to “the head of the OEO, the Office of Enforcement Operations, which is the unit at the Justice Department that would have to approve a warrant on a lawyer—because, of course, these were all lawyer laptops. It rose to that individual, it rose to George Toscas, over the course of this three months or so.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)