The FBI gives Congress some classified documents from its Clinton email investigation.
The documents include the FBI’s summary of the interview of Clinton on July 1, 2016, known as a 302.
The State Department wanted to review the 302 interview summaries first, but the FBI ignored that request. On July 7, 2016, FBI Director James Comey said when it came to documents relating to the FBI’s Clinton investigation, he was committed to delivering to Congress “everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible.”
Representative Adam Schiff (D) criticizes the move. “With the exception of the classified emails that had been found on the private server, I can see little legitimate purpose to which Congress will put these materials. Instead, as the now-discredited Benghazi Committee demonstrated, their contents will simply be leaked for political purposes. This will neither serve the interests of justice nor aid Congress in its responsibilities and will merely set a precedent for the FBI to turn over closed case files whenever one party in Congress does not like a prosecutorial decision. This has been done in the name of transparency, but as this precedent chills the cooperation of other witnesses in the future, I suspect the Department of Justice will later come to refer to it by a different name — mistake.”
The documents can be seen by members of Congress, but they are not allowed to publicly reveal any of it. An FBI spokesperson says, “The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence.”
However, Senator Charles Grassley (R), chair of the judiciary committee, says, “On initial review, it seems that much of the material given to the Senate today, other than copies of the large number of emails on Secretary Clinton’s server containing classified information, is marked ‘unclassified/for official use.’ The FBI should make as much of the material available as possible.”
Clinton campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon also wants to see the material publicly release, saying, “This is an extraordinarily rare step that was sought solely by Republicans for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI. We believe that if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks.” (Politico, 8/16/2016)
Two Republican Congresspeople specifically point out the comments they believe make Clinton guilty of perjury.
In early July 2016, Republicans formally asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether Clinton committed perjury with some of her comments while speaking before Congress in October 2015.
On August 15, 2016, Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R), chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Jason Chaffetz (R), chair of the Oversight Committee, write a letter to Channing Phillips, the US attorney for the District of Columbia. The letter points out four comments Clinton made in her Congressional testimony that they believe contradicts what the FBI learned during their Clinton email investigation.
They write: “The four pieces of sworn testimony by Secretary Clinton described herein are incompatible with the FBI’s findings. We hope this information is helpful to your office’s consideration of our referral.”
- In her testimony, Clinton claimed that none of the material she sent or received via her personal email account was marked as classified. But the FBI later determined that at least three emails contained classified markings, although they were apparently done in error.
- Clinton claimed her lawyers went through each of her emails individually before deciding to delete them or not. However, the FBI has since claimed this is not so.
- She said all of her work-related emails were given back to the State Department in December 2014, but thousands of other work-related emails have since been found.
- She claimed she only used one server while secretary of state, but the FBI says the server was replaced more than once.
Earlier in the month, the Justice Department told Goodlatte and Chaffetz that it is reviewing information “and will take appropriate action as necessary.”
The Hill comments that the “letter is a sign that Republicans are committed to pressuring the Justice Department to act against Clinton, even after it notably declined to prosecute her for mishandling classified information,” and that Republicans “also appear to be making a public case for an indictment, perhaps building off widespread unease with the decision not to prosecute…” (The Hill, 8/16/2016)
August 14, 2016 – Debbie Wassermann-Schultz admits to helping Clinton win the Democratic party nomination
Debbie Wassermann Schultz accidentally tells the truth for the first time about their push to anoint Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
July 31, 2016 – Opinion: The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections
By Peter Schweizer
“Hillary Clinton touts her tenure as secretary of state as a time of hardheaded realism and “commercial diplomacy” that advanced American national and commercial interests. But her handling of a major technology transfer initiative at the heart of Washington’s effort to “reset” relations with Russia raises serious questions about her record. Far from enhancing American national interests, Mrs. Clinton’s efforts in this area may have substantially undermined U.S. national security.
Consider Skolkovo, an “innovation city” of 30,000 people on the outskirts of Moscow, billed as Russia’s version of Silicon Valley—and a core piece of Mrs. Clinton’s quarterbacking of the Russian reset.
Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state directed the American side, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the Russians. The stated goal at the time: “identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.”
The Kremlin committed $5 billion over three years to fund Skolkovo. Mrs. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment. Rusnano, which a scientific adviser to President Vladimir Putin called “Putin’s child,” was created in 2007 and relies entirely on Russian state funding.
What could possibly go wrong?
Soon, dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel and Cisco , made major financial contributions to Skolkovo, with Cisco committing a cool $1 billion. In May 2010, the State Department facilitated a Moscow visit by 22 of the biggest names in U.S. venture capital—and weeks later the first memorandums of understanding were signed by Skolkovo and American companies.
By 2012 the vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Conor Lenihan —who had previously partnered with the Clinton Foundation—recorded that Skolkovo had assembled 28 Russian, American and European “Key Partners.” Of the 28 “partners,” 17, or 60%, have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation, totaling tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton.
Russians tied to Skolkovo also flowed funds to the Clinton Foundation. Andrey Vavilov, the chairman of SuperOx, which is part of Skolkovo’s nuclear-research cluster, donated between $10,000 and $25,000 (donations are reported in ranges, not exact amounts) to the Clinton’s family charity. Skolkovo Foundation chief and billionaire Putin confidant Viktor Vekselberg also gave to the Clinton Foundation through his company, Renova Group.
Amid all the sloshing of Russia rubles and American dollars, however, the state-of-the-art technological research coming out of Skolkovo raised alarms among U.S. military experts and federal law-enforcement officials. Research conducted in 2012 on Skolkovo by the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program at Fort Leavenworth declared that the purpose of Skolkovo was to serve as a “vehicle for world-wide technology transfer to Russia in the areas of information technology, biomedicine, energy, satellite and space technology, and nuclear technology.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 7/31/2016)
Clinton continues to maintain that none of her emails contained classified information when they were sent.
In a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, she says, “There were discussions and decisions made to classify retroactively certain emails.” She also claims that FBI Director James “Comey said my answers were truthful and consistent,” with what she said in the past.
She adds, “I was communicating with over 300 people in my emails. They certainly did not believe and had no reason to believe what they were sending was classified.” (The Hill, 7/31/2016)
However, on July 5, 2016, Comey clearly stated, “From the group of 30,000 [Clinton] emails returned to the State Department in 2014, 110 emails in 52 email chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 7/5/2016)
Clinton’s comments are heavily criticized in the media. So five days later, on August 5, 2016, she says she may have “short circuited” and she and Wallace might have been “talking past each other.” (Fox News, 8/5/2016)
US intelligence hasn’t found proof that the Russian government is responsible for WikiLeaks getting recently hacked emails.
The Washington Post reports that “Intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an issue under investigation, said there is little doubt that agents of the Russian government hacked the Democratic National Committee [DNC], and the White House was informed months ago of [Russia’s] culpability.” However, days after WikiLeaks posted almost 20,000 DNC emails, the Post adds, “The intelligence community, the officials said, has not reached a conclusion about who passed the emails to WikiLeaks.”
One unnamed US official says, “We have not drawn any evidentiary connection to any Russian intelligence service and WikiLeaks — none.”
Former NSA Director Keith Alexander says, “Determining with confidence who was behind it — if the Russians were the hackers, seeing them pass that data to WikiLeaks — is probably much more difficult than attributing it to the initial hacker. That’s a tough one — especially because there are different ways of passing that information, not all electronic.”
Furthermore, even if Russia is behind the leaks to WikiLeaks, the motivation is unclear. A key question is if Russia is attempting to influence the November 2016 US presidential election. Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and the CIA, states, “Frankly, I don’t think they’re motivated by thinking they can affect the election itself.” He thinks the Russians may be flexing their muscles “to demonstrate that they can — not necessarily to make [Donald] Trump win or Hillary [Clinton] lose.”
Leo Taddeo, a former FBI agent who worked with cybersecurity operations, says, “This is not [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin trying to help Trump. I think they were messaging Hillary Clinton, telling her that they can get in the way of her election if she doesn’t show some flexibility in her position toward them.”
Representative Adam Schiff (D) believes that if Russia is ultimately responsible, the Obama administration “should make it known publicly and forcefully. Even if they’re not able to lay out the evidence because it would disclose sources and methods, they should make the attribution.” (The Washington Post, 7/27/2016)
Ex-CIA head Panetta questions Trump’s loyalty after Trump asks Russia to help him win election.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta criticizes Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for his recent comments encouraging the Russian government to find and leak Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails from when she was secretary of state.
Panetta says, “You have a presidential candidate who is, in fact, asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I think that’s beyond the pale… he is truly not qualified to be president of the United States.”
Panetta served as both CIA director and defense secretary under President Obama. His comments come on the same day he gives a speech to support Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. (Raw Story, 7/27/2016)
Trump says he hopes Russia or someone else has Clinton’s deleted emails; he wants them given to the FBI.
In a press conference, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says about Russia and Clinton’s emails, “By the way, if they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do. They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted.”
He also addresses the country directly: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Trump is then asked by NBC News reporter Katy Tur, “Do you have any qualms about asking a foreign government, Russia, China, anybody, to interfere, to hack into a system of anybody’s in this country?”
He replies, “It’s up to the president. Let the president talk to them. Look, here’s the problem, here’s the problem, Katy. He has no respect-”
Tur interrupts him to say, “You said, ‘I welcome them to find those 30,000 emails-‘”
But Trump then interrupts her to say, “Well, they probably have them. I’d like to have them released.”
Tur asks, “Does that not give you pause?”
He replies, “Nope, gives me no pause. If they have them, they have them.”
Later in the day, Trump posts an additional comment on Twitter: “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”
Clinton’s senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan issues a critical statement in response to Trump’s comments: “This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.” (Talkingpointsmemo.com, 7/27/2016)
Also later in the day, Trump spokesperson Jason Miller says that “clearly saying” Russia should share emails with the FBI. “To be clear, Mr. Trump did not call on, or invite, Russia or anyone else to hack Hillary Clinton’s email today.” (The Hill, 7/27/2016)
The next day, Trump calls the suggestion that Russia is trying to help him by leaking the emails is a “joke.” He also says that when he said he hoped Russian hackers found Clinton’s emails and shared them with the FBI, he was only “being sarcastic.” (The Hill, 7/28/2016)
WikiLeaks head Julian Assange says WikiLeaks might release “a lot more material” relevant to the US presidential campaign.
Assange is vague on details about future releases. He is asked by CNN about reports that the Russian government might be behind the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network. WikiLeaks has a policy of never revealing its sources, and Assange maintains that policy by refusing to confirm or deny anything. He says, “Perhaps one day the source or sources will step forward and that might be an interesting moment. Some people may have egg on their faces. But to exclude certain actors is to make it easier to find out who our sources are.”
He additionally says that Clinton and other Democratic officials are using the specter of Russian involvement to distract from the content of the emails. “It raises questions about the natural instincts of Clinton that when confronted with a serious domestic political scandal, she tries to blame the Russians, blame the Chinese, et cetera. Because if she does that while in government, it could lead to problems.” (CNN, 7/27/2016)
July 26, 2016 – DNC sought to hide details of Clinton funding deal
“Leaked emails show the Democratic National Committee scrambled this spring to conceal the details of a joint fundraising arrangement with Hillary Clinton that funneled money through state Democratic parties.
But during the three-month period when the DNC was working to spin the situation, state parties kept less than one half of one percent of the $82 million raised through the arrangement — validating concerns raised by campaign finance watchdogs, state party allies and Bernie Sanders supporters.
The arrangement, called the Hillary Victory Fund, allowed the Clinton campaign to seek contributions of hundreds of thousands of dollars to attend extravagant fundraisers including a dinner at George Clooney’s house and a concert at Radio City Music Hall featuring Katy Perry and Elton John. That’s resulted in criticism for Clinton, who has made opposition to big money in politics a key plank in her campaign platform.
Clinton’s allies have responded publicly by arguing that the fund is raising big money to boost down-ballot Democratic candidates by helping the 40 state parties that are now participating in the fund.
But privately, officials at the DNC and on Clinton’s campaign worked to parry questions raised by reporters, as well as Sanders’ since-aborted campaign, about the distribution of the money, according to a cache of hacked emails made public late last week by WikiLeaks.” (Read more: Politico, July 26, 2016)