April 1, 2016: Guccifer has been extradited to the US and makes his first appearance in a US court.

Marcel-Lehel Lazar a.k.a. "Guccifer" after being arrested in Romania in 2014. (Credit: Reuters)

Marcel-Lehel Lazar a.k.a. “Guccifer” after being arrested in Romania in 2014. (Credit: Reuters)

Guccifer, a Romanian hacker whose real name is Marcel-Lehel Lazar, was extradited to the US in late March 2016. He hacked into the email accounts of many famous people. In March 2013, he broke into the account of reporter Sid Blumenthal and found emails that used Clinton’s private address, revealing that address to the public for the first time.

Guccifer was arrested in Romania in 2014 and given a combined seven-year sentence in that country for his illegal hacking activities. Last month, the Romanian government agreed to extradite him to the US for 18 months only. It is not clear why, since he is already serving that time in a Romanian prison. (Reuters, 4/1/2016)

Several days later, it is reported that it is “not a coincidence” he is extradited while the FBI is investigating Clinton’s emails and server. This is according to “an intelligence source close to the case.”

Former FBI official Ron Hosko also says, “Because of the proximity to Sidney Blumenthal and activity involving Hillary’s emails, [the timing] seems beyond curious.” (LawNewz, 4/8/2016)

April 1, 2016: Four of Clinton’s closest aides have hired the same attorney to represent them in the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

Beth Wilkinson (Credit: Marissa Rauch / Wall Street Journal)

Beth Wilkinson (Credit: Marissa Rauch / Wall Street Journal)

The attorney is Beth Wilkinson, who Politico says has “deep ties to Washington politics and the Department of Justice,” and is the wife of CNN journalist David Gregory. Wilkinson is representing Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff, Heather Samuelson, an assistant of Mills, and Philippe Reines, who was Clinton’s spokesperson.

Politico reports, “The united front suggests they plan to tell investigators the same story—although legal experts say the joint strategy presents its own risks, should the interests of the four aides begin to diverge as the probe moves ahead.” Reports say the FBI is planning to interview Clinton and her top aides soon.

Former US attorney Bill Killian says the united strategy “is fraught with danger” for the Clinton aides. “In my 30 years as a defense attorney, almost ten as a state or federal prosecutor, I have rarely or ever seen a situation where a lawyer can provide a common defense to multiple people without there being a conflict of interest at some point in some regard. It’s rare that the common defense would in fact be the best defense for all the people under investigation.” (Politico, 4/1/2016

It is also notable that other aides are not part of this united front, including top aide Huma Abedin.

April 2016: Hacking attacks on the DNC and the Clinton campaign are first discovered.

On June 14, 2016, McClatchy Newspapers will report that a hacking attack on the DNC [Democratic National Committee] is discovered “in late April 2016, after staffers noticed unusual activity on the DNC’s computer network.” (McClatchy Newspapers, 6/14/2016) 

On June 21, 2016, Bloomberg News will report, “The Clinton campaign was aware as early as April that it had been targeted by hackers with links to the Russian government on at least four recent occasions, according to a person familiar with the campaign’s computer security.” (Bloomberg News, 6/21/2016)

In late July 2016, it will be reported that the FBI warned the Clinton campaign in March 2016 that it was the target of hacking attempts, but the campaign refused to help the FBI stop them.

Around April or May 2016: The FBI warns “dozens of lawmakers” that they are being targeted by hackers.

160401TomDaschleNYMagazine

Former senator Tom Daschle (Credit: NY Magazine)

On July 25, 2016, the Washington Post will report that the FBI warns the “Clinton campaign and dozens of lawmakers” that they are being targeted by hackers. Later reporting by Yahoo News will indicate that the Clinton campaign is first warned by the FBI in March 2016. The timing of the warning to lawmakers is less clear, except that the Post mentions it takes place “weeks before” a media report on June 14, 2016 that hackers had broken into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer network.

It still has not been proven that hack on the lawmakers have been successful. However, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle (D) has told the Post that his email account was hacked recently. But he hasn’t been given any indication if law enforcement is investigating or who the hacker might be. (The Washington Post, 7/25/2016)

 

April 2, 2016: Former Senator Bob Kerrey criticizes Clinton’s use of a private email server

Senator Bob Kerrey (Credit: UPI)

Senator Bob Kerrey (Credit: UPI)

Kerrey (D) says, “I have no doubt that this server was set up so that the secretary wouldn’t have to submit to [Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)] law.” He also says that Clinton’s explanation for using the server is “false on its face.”

However, despite this criticism, Kerrey has endorsed Clinton in the presidential race and says he will continue to support her. (The Omaha World-Herald, 4/2/2016)

April 3, 2016: Clinton says the FBI have not contacted her for an interview yet.

When asked about the issue, Clinton replies, “They haven’t. But, you know, back in August, we made clear that I’m happy to answer any questions that anybody might have. And I stand by that.”

When she’s asked if she’s worried the FBI’s investigation will hurt her presidential campaign, she responds, “No, I’m not. Because I don’t think anything inappropriate was done.” (Bloomberg News, 4/3/2016)

In September 2015, Clinton said she made a “mistake” keeping all her government emails on a private server, and said “I take full responsibility.” (ABC News, 9/8/2015)

April 4, 2016: Whether the sensitive information in Clinton’s emails was marked classified at the time or not should have no bearing on if she is charged with any crimes.

Ronald J. Sievert (Credit: Pinterest)

Ronald J. Sievert (Credit: Pinterest)

This is according to Ronald J. Sievert, a professor who was a Justice Department official for 25 years. He points out that “The applicable statute, 18 USC 793, however, does not even once mention the word ‘classified.’ The focus is on ‘information respecting the national defense’ that potentially ‘could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.’ 793 (f) specifically makes it a crime for anyone ‘entrusted with […] any document […] or information relating to the national defense […] through gross negligence (to permit) the same to be removed from its proper place of custody.’”

He further notes that, “The fact that the information does not have to be ‘marked classified’ at the time only makes sense because sometimes, as in the case of the Clinton case and other [18 USC 793] cases, the information is originated and distributed before any security officer can perform a review and put a classification mark on it.” (Today, 4/4/2016)

April 4, 2016: Questions remain about Clinton’s server.

The Hill notes there are many lingering questions about Clinton’s email scandal, including a lack of information about the security of Clinton’s server. “Clinton’s camp has refused to outline precisely which digital protections she used to safeguard the information on her private server.” Other questions include what laws might have been broken, who other than Clinton might be in trouble, and if Clinton’s over 31,000 deleted emails were ever recovered. (The Hill, 3/4/2016)

April 4, 2016: Comey says quality comes before speed in the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

FBI Director James Comey at Kenyon College, Ohio, on April 6, 2016. (Credit: Carlos Osorio / The Associated Press)

FBI Director James Comey at Kenyon College, Ohio, on April 6, 2016. (Credit: Carlos Osorio / The Associated Press)

FBI Director James Comey says he does not feel he has to conclude the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s private server before the Democratic National Convention in July 2016. “The urgency is to do it well and promptly. And ‘well’ comes first.” He won’t reveal any details of the investigation, but says that he is keeping close tabs on it “to make sure we have the resources to do it competently.” (Politico, 4/5/2016)

However, in September 2016, after the investigation has been concluded, Comey will say that he didn’t ask for subpoena power so he could finish the investigation faster.

 

 

April 5, 2016: The State Department wants to limit questions about Clinton’s email scandal.

The department argues in a court filing that top aides to Clinton should not be questioned about the on-going FBI investigation of Clinton’s private email and server, nor should they be questioned about the contents of their emails. Because of a lawsuit by Judicial Watch, US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled in February 2016 that he would permit “narrowly tailored” discovery. Judicial Watch wants to question Clinton’s aides chief of staff Cheryl Mills, deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, and computer specialist Bryan Pagliano, and they want access to four others.

Although the State Department doesn’t object to the aides being questioned, they want to limit the questions to the issue of how and why Clinton’s private server was created. Judicial Watch hasn’t asked for Clinton’s testimony yet, but said they may do so in the future. (Politico, 4/5/2016)

April 5, 2016: Clinton aide Huma Abedin is interviewed by the FBI.

Karen Dunn (Credit: Twitter)

Karen Dunn (Credit: Twitter)

Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff, is interviewed by FBI agents investigating the Clinton email scandal. She is questioned for about two hours at the FBI’s field office. The interview will not be reported on until early May 2016. Other Clinton aides are also interviewed, but only the interview of Cheryl Mills will also reported on before the FBI’s final report is released in September 2016.

Abedin’s lawyer Karen Dunn and the FBI have no comment. (The Los Angeles Times, 5/5/2016)

April 6, 2016: Comey says he’s staying close to the Clinton email investigation.

After a public speech, FBI Director James Comey is asked to comment about the state of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s email scandal.

He responds, “I’ve stayed close to that investigation” to ensure that it’s done competently and independently. He adds that it’s important that “we have the resources, the technology, the people, and that there’s no outside influence. So, if I talk about an investigation while it’s going on, there’s a risk that I’ll compromise both the reality and the perception that it’s done honestly, competently, and independently. So, I’m going to say no comment to that.” (Politico, 4/6/2016)

April 8, 2016: Clinton says talk of her getting indicted is a Republican “fantasy.”

Clinton is asked about Republican politicians who have been suggesting the FBI investigation will lead to her getting indicted. She replies, “I know they live in that world of fantasy and hope because they’ve got a mess on their hands on the Republican side. That is not going to happen. There is not even the remotest chance that it’s going to happen. […] I think it’s a security review. It is a security review. There are lots of those that are conducted in our government all the time. You don’t hear about most of them. You’ll hear about this one because, you know, it does involve me.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/8/2016)

April 8, 2016: Sanders says he doesn’t criticize the Clinton Foundation or Clinton’s emails to avoid personal attacks.

In a CNN interview, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says that he is constantly asked by supporters why he doesn’t criticize Clinton more over the Clinton Foundation or the FBI’s Clinton investigation. “How often have I talked about Hillary Clinton’s emails? Have you heard me? Not a word. How often have I talked about the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising? Have you heard me say one word about it during the campaign? I am trying to stay away from personal attacks on Hillary.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/8/2016)

April 9, 2016: Cheryl Mills is interviewed by the FBI; she isn’t concerned about classified information in emails she forwarded to Clinton.

Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff when Clinton was secretary of state and since then has been one of Clinton’s lawyers. The date and most details of the interview will remain secret until it’s mentioned in a September 2016 FBI report.

Mills refuses to answer some questions, claiming attorney-client privilege.

Cheryl Mills and Hillary Clinton at the House Benghazi Committee hearing on June 28, 2016. (Credit: Chip Somodaville / Getty Images)

Cheryl Mills and Clinton at the House Benghazi Committee hearing on October 23, 2015. (Credit: Chip Somodaville / Getty Images)

The FBI shows Mills seven emails that she forwarded to Clinton which contain information later determined to be classified. Acccording to the FBI, although “Mills did not specifically remember any of the emails, she stated that there was nothing in them that concerned her regarding their transmission on an unclassified email system. Mills also stated that she was not concerned about her decision to forward certain of these emails to Clinton.”

Apparently, some of the emails reviewed by Mills are classified at the “top secret/Special Access Program” (TP/SAP) level. Because the FBI will mention that while “reviewing emails related to the SAP referenced above, Mills explained that some of the emails were designed to inform State [Department] officials of media reports concerning the subject matter and that the information in the emails merely confirmed what the public already knew. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

April 9, 2016: Cheryl Mills tells the FBI she never knew Clinton’s emails got deleted.

Paul Combetta (Credit: Facebook)

Paul Combetta (Credit: Facebook)

In late March 2015, Paul Combetta, an employee of Platte River Networks (PRN), deleted all of Clinton’s emails from her private server and then used a computer program to permanently wipe them. Cheryl Mills, one of Clinton’s lawyers and her former chief of staff, had communications with Combetta in that time period, including speaking in a conference call in which he also participated just after the deletions were done, on March 31, 2015.

However, Mills is interviewed by the FBI on this date, and the FBI will later report that “Mills stated she was unaware that [Combetta] had conducted these deletions and modifications in March 2015.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Mills’ claim is particularly surprising considering that Mills has continued to work as one of Clinton’s lawyers and in August 2015, it was reported that Clinton’s campaign had acknowledged “that there was an attempt to wipe [Clinton’s private] server before it was turned over last week to the FBI.” (NBC News, 8/19/2015)

April 10, 2016: President Obama downplays the seriousness of Clinton’s email scandal.

President Obama being interviewed on Fox News, April 10, 2016. (Credit: Fox News)

President Obama being interviewed on Fox News, April 10, 2016. (Credit: Fox News)

President Obama comments about Clinton’s email scandal. He says, “I continue to believe that she has not jeopardized America’s national security. Now what I’ve also said is that, and she’s acknowledged, that there’s a carelessness in terms of managing emails that she has owned. And she recognizes. But I also think it is important to keep this in perspective.” (MSNBC, 4/10/2016)

When asked about some of Clinton’s emails that were deemed to have a “top secret” classification, he says, “What I also know, because I handle a lot of classified information, is that there are—there’s classified, and then there’s classified. There’s stuff that is really top secret, top secret, and there’s stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state, that you might not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you could get in open-source.”

When asked about the independence of the FBI investigation, he says, “I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case.” (CBS News, 4/10/2016)

April 12, 2016: President Obama is criticized for his recent comments about Clinton’s email scandal.

Peter Henning (Credit: public domain)

Peter Henning (Credit: public domain)

According to the Associated Press, “The White House [is] under pressure to reconcile… asserting Obama’s public defense of Clinton was not an attempt to meddle in an ongoing probe and [his claim] that federal investigators will not be swayed by the boss’ views.” There is “growing criticism that Obama had put his finger on the scale with recent comments describing Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state as mere ‘carelessness.’ […] The White House routinely dodges questions about ongoing Justice Department investigations, saying it does not want to appear to be trying to influence the outcome. Obama’s [comment] seems to cast aside some of that caution in favor of defending a political ally and former administration official.”

Peter Henning, a law professor and a former federal prosecutor, says, “It does raise concerns for prosecutors. If it’s a close case, how am I to judge whether to pursue charges when the president has said he doesn’t think there’s anything there? I don’t think it will prejudice any decision but it certainly gives the appearance of that.” (The Associated Press, 4/12/2016)

April 13, 2016: The Benghazi Committee’s final report is likely to come out in the middle of the 2016 general election.

It is reported that the House Benghazi Committee is working on its final report. Depending on how long a security review by US intelligence agencies takes, it is likely to be released between July and September 2016. That means the Republican-led committee will release a report widely expected to be critical of Clinton in the middle of a general presidential election season when Clinton could be the Democratic nominee.

In early 2015, Representative Trey Gowdy (R), head of the committee, said: “I want it done before 2016” and, “it’s not going to come out in the middle of 2016.” He blames a slow government response to turning over evidence for the delay. (The Washington Post, 4/13/2016)

The final report will be released on June 28, 2016.

April 14, 2016: A Republican Senator criticizes President Obama’s comments about Clinton’s email scandal.

Senator John Cornyn (R) claims that Obama is “trying to influence the outcome” of the FBI’s Clinton investigation by his recent public comments. “Time and time again, the White House has projected its desired outcome of this investigation to the public, and worse, to those people conducting it.”

On April 10, 2016, Obama said, “I also know, because I handle a lot of classified information, is that […] there’s classified and then there’s classified. There’s stuff that is really top secret, top secret and then there is stuff that is being presented to the president or the secretary of state that you may not want on the transom, or going out over the wire, but is basically stuff that you can get in open source.”

Cornyn disputes this, saying, “We know that some of Secretary Clinton’s emails were classified even [to the] top-secret/special access program levels, some of the highest levels of classification.” (The Washington Examiner, 4/14/2016)

April 15, 2016: Clinton’s personal lawyer will defend her again.

David Kendall (Credit: Above the Law)

David Kendall (Credit: Above the Law)

It is reported that David Kendall will be representing Hillary Clinton in the FBI’s investigation into her private emails and server, with expectations growing that the FBI will interview her soon. This is no surprise, since Kendall has represented Bill and Hillary Clinton for decades, including during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals in the 1990s. Kendall first got to know them as their classmate at Yale Law School in the 1970s. (Law Newz, 4/15/2016)

However, Kendall’s representation could be problematic in that he was one of three people who decided which of Clinton’s emails to turn over or delete around late 2014, and he then held her emails for months despite apparently lacking the security clearance to do so.

April 15, 2016: Three Clinton aides will be publicly deposed about the email scandal.

State Department lawyers strike a deal with Judicial Watch over how depositions from three Clinton aides will work. Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Bryan Pagliano will be deposed, and their depositions can be videotaped and made public.

However, questions to them will be limited to how Clinton’s private server was created and operated, as well as how the State Department processed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that potentially involved emails from Clinton and/or Abedin. Furthermore, Judicial Watch agrees not to depose Diplomatic Security official Donald Reid. The deposition of three more State Department officials, Patrick Kennedy, Lewis Lukens, and Stephen Mull, remain unresolved. (Politico, 4/16/2016)

April 22, 2016: A senator suggests FBI could combat political interference with leaks.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says of the FBI’s Clinton investigation: “Is there going to be political interference? If there’s enough evidence to prosecute, will there be political interference? And if there’s political interference, then I assume that somebody in the FBI is going to leak these reports and it’s either going to have an effect politically or it’s going to lead to prosecution if there’s enough evidence.” He adds, “I wouldn’t be encouraging it because if it’s a violation of law, I can’t be encouraging a violation of law. This is kind of my own opinion, this is something I’ve heard.” (The Des Moines Register, 4/22/2016)

April 27, 2016: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says if Clinton faces Donald Trump in the general election, Trump will attack her about the Clinton Foundation and her email scandal.

“The Republican party will have dozens of opposition researchers. They don’t need my speeches to talk about Hillary Clinton. They will go after Hillary Clinton in ways that I have never, ever gone after Hillary Clinton. Things like the Clinton Foundation or things like the e-mail situation. I don’t talk about that. I have never talked about it one word on this campaign. I suspect very much that Donald Trump and the Republican party will go after her in many, many ways that we have not.” (Real Clear Politics, 4/27/2016)

April 28, 2016: Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Justice Department hasn’t set a deadline to finish the FBI’s Clinton investigation because doing so would hurt its effectiveness.

Asked in an interview if voters deserve to know the result of the investigation before the Democratic primaries are over, Lynch replies, “People have to have confidence that we treat every case the same, no matter whose last name is involved, no matter how much publicity it gets. We don’t make predictions on the time because that essentially cuts off the independence of that and it cuts off the thoroughness.” (Bloomberg News, 4/28/2016)

April 28, 2016: Jane Sanders says “it would be nice” if the FBI concludes its Clinton investigation soon.

Jane Sanders (Credit: public domain)

Jane Sanders (Credit: public domain)

She is the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. She says, “It’s an FBI investigation… we want to let it go through without politicizing it and then we’ll find out what the situation is and that’s how we still feel.” She adds with a laugh, “I mean, it would be nice if the FBI moved it along.” (CBS News, 4/29/2016)

April 30, 2016: Bill Clinton calls his wife’s email scandal a partisan “game.”

Bill Clinton gesticulates as he calls his wife's email scandal a "game," in Kokomo, Indiana, on April 30, 2016. (Credit: public domain)

Bill Clinton gesticulates as he calls his wife’s email scandal a “game,” in Kokomo, Indiana, on April 30, 2016. (Credit: public domain)

In a campaign speech, Bill Clinton defends his wife Hillary’s behavior in her email scandal. “Now what are we supposed to do? You said you want to see [her emails]? She said, ‘Fine, have them.’ They said, ‘Oh no, some of them should have been secret.’ Now, you think about this when you go home. If you’re driving in a 50-mile an hour zone, and a police officer pulls you over when you’re driving 40, and says, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve got to give you a ticket, because you know the speed limit here should be 35 and you should have known it.’ So everybody’s all breathless about this. Look, this is a game.”

LawNewz note that his speed limit analogy “fails, miserably,” because Hillary Clinton was trained and legally obliged to identify classified information whether it was clearly marked as such or not. (LawNewz, 5/1/2016)