On July 31, 2015, a Justice Department prosecutor calls Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall seeking a thumb drive that contained a copy of the 30,000 emails that Clinton had already turned over to the State Department, according to a person briefed about the conversation.
Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy notifies Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills and her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin to immediately return all government related emails and records in their possession, along with all copies. According to Politico, Kennedy sends “urgent letters” about this to the lawyers of Mills and Abedin. (Politico, 11/6/2015)
On August 7, 2015, Mills’ lawyer states that after planning to turn over some emails under court order by August 10, “we have instructed her to delete any and all electronic records in her possession.” But that evening, Judge Emmet Sullivan issues an order instructing Clinton, Mills, and Abedin not to destroy any emails they may still have. (The New York Observer, 8/7/2015)
The emails will apparently be saved, because a judge will later order the release of all of Abedin’s emails, and a lawsuit to release all of Mills’ emails is still in progress. (Politico, 1/11/2016) (The Hill, 3/9/2016)
Clinton’s top campaign officials are debating a statement Clinton would make on her use of an email server in her home. Campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon writes in an email, “We should not think it is fine to find something that ‘should have been classified at the time.’ Our position is that no such material exists, else it could be said she mishandled classified info.” The email is sent to Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, as well as Clinton aides Jen Palmieri, Robby Mook, and three others. (WikiLeaks, 10/10/2016)
After the email is leaked in October 2016, Bloomberg News will note that “Fallon’s [email] came just days after Clinton gave a vague answer on the erasure of emails that her lawyers deemed not to be work-related. Asked if she’d wiped her server, she responded: ‘Like with a cloth or something?‘”
Additionally, “It wasn’t immediately clear when or if Clinton delivered the statement suggested by Fallon, which would have come after months of downplaying the issue. Four days after Fallon wrote the email, Clinton said using the server ‘clearly wasn’t the best choice. I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any email that was marked classified.” (Bloomberg News, 10/13/2016)
According to CNN in November 2016, shortly after the FBI begins its Clinton email investigation on July 10, 2015, FBI Director James Comey decides to run the investigation from FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, instead of the New York office, which normally would be the proper jurisdiction, since the Clinton private email server had been located in Chappaqua, New York. CNN will report, “That decision anger[s] some in New York who thought it was headquarters’ interference into their case.”
Comey then mostly picks agents from the Washington, DC, field office to handle the investigation. He assigns the case “to the counterintelligence section, which investigates cases of alleged mishandling of classified information. It [gives] the added advantage of being a section with a reputation for few media leaks and being close enough for Comey to get personal almost-daily updates.”
Furthermore, all agents working on the case are required to sign an unusual non-disclosure agreement and also agree to be subject to random lie detector tests.
One unnamed senior official will later say, “We’re in the middle of one of the most vitriolic campaigns in American history, and we’re investigating one of the candidates for president. We had to get this right.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)
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