January 11, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton investigation could be looking into Clinton Foundation corruption.

Fortune 100 companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation and lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary. (Credit: Washington Examiner)

Fortune 100 companies that donated to the Clinton Foundation and lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton was secretary. (Credit: opensecrets.org)

Fox News reports, “The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible ‘intersection’ of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws,” according to three unnamed “intelligence sources.”

One source says, “The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts, and whether regular processes were followed.”

Clinton denies this, saying, “No, there’s nothing like that that is happening.”

However, Fox News points out, “Experts including a former senior FBI agent said the Bureau does not have to notify the subject of an investigation.” (Fox News, 1/11/2016) 

One month later, the Washington Post will report that the State Department issued a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation in late 2015. (The Washington Post, 2/11/2016)

In October 2016, the Wall Street Journal will confirm the existence of an FBI Clinton Foundation investigation, which has been on-going since 2015.

January 21, 2016: Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes foreign countries hacked into Clinton’s private email server.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (Credit: ABC News)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (Credit: ABC News)

He says in an interview, “Given the fact that the Pentagon acknowledges that they get attacked about 100,000 times a day, I think the odds are pretty high.” Russia, China, and Iran are suggested as countries that would have targeted her server. Gates was defense secretary from 2006 to 2011, under Presidents Bush and Obama. In 2015, Gates praised Clinton, saying, “She was a good secretary of state.” (The Hill, 1/21/2016)

January 21, 2016: Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey writes an editorial entitled “Clinton’s Emails: A Criminal Charge Is Justified.”

Attorney General Michael Mukasey (Credit: Charles Dharapak / The Associated Press)

Attorney General Michael Mukasey (Credit: Charles Dharapak / The Associated Press)

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mukasey argues that “intelligence community investigators believe it is nearly certain that Mrs. Clinton’s server was hacked, possibly by the Chinese or the Russians… [F]rom her direction that classification rules be disregarded, to the presence on her personal email server of information at the highest level of classification, to her repeated falsehoods of a sort that juries are told every day may be treated as evidence of guilty knowledge—it is nearly impossible to draw any conclusion other than that she knew enough to support a conviction at the least for mishandling classified information.” (The Wall Street Journal, 1/21/2016)

January 29, 2016: 22 emails retroactively deemed “top secret” had been sent through Clinton’s private server.

This is revealed by the State Department. However, the department will not make public any part of the 22 emails, not even the years they were sent or who sent them, because they contain such highly classified information. It is believed the 22 emails occurred in seven different email chains. (The New York Times, 1/29/2016) The US government defines “top secret” as “information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” (The New York Observer, 2/1/2016) 

A Clinton spokesperson claims that none of those emails originated with Clinton. (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

January 29, 2016: The State Department announces it is launching its own Clinton email investigation.

It will look into whether information on Clinton’s private server was classified at the time it was sent or received. The Wall Street Journal calls this a “dramatic reversal,” since the State Department has consistently downplayed the issue. This investigation is in addition to the FBI investigation and other inquiries. It is also separate from the investigation being conducted by the State Department’s inspector general office. (The Wall Street Journal, 1/29/2016)

January 30, 2016: It is revealed that four emails from Sid Blumenthal to Clinton have been entirely redacted.

This is notable because at the time Clinton is secretary of state, Blumenthal is a private citizen (and journalist and Clinton Foundation employee) with no government security clearance at the time. Dozens of other Blumenthal emails have been partly redacted, but here are the four fully redacted ones, with only the subject headings known:

  • June 23, 2009, titled “N. Ireland/Shaun.” This is a likely reference to Shaun Woodward, who is the secretary of state for Northern Ireland at the time.
  • June 20, 2011, titled “memo hrc Bahrain/Iran.” This is redacted because it contains information related to foreign activities.
  • June 28, 2012, titled “some intel on internal german/euro maneuvering.”
  • August 3, 2012. This email is entirely redacted except for the statement that the email contains information from “sources with access to the highest levels of the Governments and institutions.”

Twenty-two emails have been deemed “top secret,” so no details whatsoever about them have been made public. It is not known if any of them were sent by Blumenthal. (The Daily Caller, 1/30/2016) 

The New York Observer comments, “How Mr. Blumenthal, who held no US Government position after January 2001, when Bill Clinton left the White House, had access to classified information a decade after that is not explained.” Furthermore, “Since Mr. Blumenthal’s emails were illegally accessed by a private hacker [Guccifer, in March 2013], they can be safely assumed in to be in the hands of numerous foreign intelligence services.” (The New York Observer, 2/1/2016)

January 31, 2016: For the first time, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticizes Clinton over her email scandal.

Senator Bernie Sanders (Credit: public domain)

Senator Bernie Sanders (Credit: public domain)

Asked by a reporter if voters should interpret his refusal to highlight the issue means that Clinton did nothing wrong, Sanders replies “No. Nope, nope. That is not, I think, a fair assessment. That is, I think, a very serious issue,” However he adds, “There is a legal process taking place, I do not want to politicize that issue. It is not my style.” (CNN, 1/31/2016

Sanders’ more critical stance comes two days after news reports that 22 of Clinton’s emails were retroactively classified “top secret.” (The New York Times, 1/29/2016)

February 1, 2016: Some of Clinton’s 22 “top secret” emails allegedly contain “operational intelligence” involving espionage sources and methods.

John Schindler, a former National Security Agency (NSA) counterintelligence officer, claims that, “Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s ‘unclassified’ emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. […] At a minimum, valuable covers have been blown, careers have been ruined, and lives have been put at serious risk.” Additionally, some names of foreigners who are on the CIA payroll are mentioned.

One unnamed senior Intelligence Community official says that because of the likelihood that foreign governments have accessed all of Clinton’s emails, “It’s a death sentence. If we’re lucky, only agents, not our officers, will get killed because of this.”

Schindler comments, “Her defense seems to be that neither she nor anybody on her staff were able to recognize that top secret information was actually top secret, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of Hillary’s qualifications to be our next commander-in-chief.” (The New York Observer, 2/1/2016)

Four days later, a NBC News article comments on the same topic with more modest claims. According to unnamed US officials, the references to undercover officers were indirect and Clinton made no comment about them.

The article adds, “Some of the references to covert intelligence officers, and other discussions of CIA drone strikes, were against classification rules and were ‘sloppy,’ one official said. But views are split on whether they were damaging to national security.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

February 1, 2016: Some US intelligence officials are “mad as hell” about Clinton’s deleted emails.

An unnamed Pentagon counterintelligence official expresses concern that some of the 30,840 emails Clinton deleted may have been work-related. “I’ll spend the rest of my career trying to figure out what classified information was in those. […] Everybody is mad as hell right now.” This official adds, “The worst part is that Moscow and Beijing have that information but the [US] Intelligence Community maybe never will.” (The New York Observer, 2/1/2016)

February 1, 2016: A politician who saw Clinton’s top secret emails says it’s obvious they contained classified information.

Representative Mike Pompeo (Credit: public domain)

Representative Mike Pompeo (Credit: public domain)

Representative Mike Pompeo (R), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and has seen the unreleased 22 “top secret” Clinton emails, says, “There is no way that someone, a senior government official who has been handling classified information for a good chunk of their adult life, could not have known that this information ought to be classified, whether it was marked or not. Anyone with the capacity to read and an understanding of American national security, an 8th grade reading level or above, would understand that the release of this information or the potential breach of a non-secure system presented risk to American national security.”

He adds, “Anytime our national security team determines that there’s a potential breach, that is information that might potentially have fallen into the hands of the Iranians, or the Russians, or the Chinese, or just hackers, that they begin to operate in a manner that assumes that information has in fact gotten out.” (The Washington Post, 2/2/2016)

February 3, 2016: Clinton’s top secret emails are said to reveal sources, methods, and assets.

Representative Chris Stewart (Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune)

Representative Chris Stewart (Credit: The Salt Lake Tribune)

Representative Chris Stewart (R), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who has viewed Clinton’s 22 “top secret” emails, says those emails “do reveal classified methods, they do reveal classified sources, and they do reveal human assets.” He adds, “I can’t imagine how anyone could be familiar with these emails, whether they’re sending them or receiving them, and not realize that these are highly classified.” (The Washington Post, 2/4/2016

Additionally, he claims that there are seven more Clinton emails with a classification of “top secret” or higher that the government has not publicly mentioned yet. (The Washington Examiner, 2/3/2016) 

The Washington Post reports, “Other sources who have viewed the emails do not describe [them] as strongly, though one official said Clinton’s aides might have put their security clearances at risk.” (The Washington Post, 2/3/2016) 

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), who as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee has also viewed the emails, claims that none of them originated from Clinton, were not marked as classified at the time, and do not deserve to be marked as such. (Dianne Feinstein, 1/29/2016)

In July 2016, it will be reported that there are eight chains of top secret emails instead of the previously reported seven, suggesting that Stewart was right that there are more than 22. It will also be reported by FBI Director James Comey that some of the top secret emails originated from Clinton, all of them deserved to be marked “top secret,” and all contained classified information when they were sent. (The New York Times, 7/5/2016)

February 4, 2016: A handful of publicly released Clinton emails make indirect or veiled references to undercover CIA officers.

For instance, a CIA officer is referred to as a “State” Department official, with the quote marks suggesting the person is not actually a diplomat. Another email refers to “OGA,” which stands for “other government agency” and is a common pseudonym within government circles for the CIA. NBC News notes, “The messages at issue are part of a longstanding pattern of senior officials at the State Department and other government agencies trying to talk around classified information over email, sometimes unsuccessfully.” (NBC News, 2/4/2016)

February 5, 2016: The State Department completes a review of the email practices of the past five secretaries of state.

Secretary of State Colin Powell (Credit: public domain)

Secretary of State Colin Powell (Credit: public domain)

It finds that Colin Powell received two emails that were classified. And while Condoleezza Rice didn’t use emails, the “immediate staff” working for her received ten emails that were classified. In both cases, the information was deemed either “secret” or “confidential,” but not “top secret,” and was not marked classified when it was sent.

Powell responds by saying about his two emails, “I have reviewed the messages and I do not see what makes them classified. […] The State Department cannot now say they were classified then because they weren’t.” Also, Powell’s emails stayed on government computer servers.

These cases differ from Clinton’s, who had at least some top secret, “born classified” emails on her private server. (CNN, 2/5/2016) Additionally, none of the emails in either the Powell or Rice cases actually contained any intelligence information, and were classified for other, unmentioned reasons. (ABC News, 3/4/2016)

February 5, 2016: The New York Times reveals a few more details about what Clinton’s 22 emails deemed “top secret” contain.

A Reaper drone firing its missile. (Credit: public domain)

A Reaper drone firing its missile. (Credit: public domain)

The Times reports, “It remains unknown what exactly the 22 emails contain, given their classification as ‘top secret,’ but [some US] officials described them generally, on the condition of anonymity. The officials included people familiar with or involved in the handling of the emails in government agencies and in Congress.”

  • Officials from US intelligence agencies have battled with State Department officials over what should be considered classified in Clinton’s emails, with the intelligence agencies arguing for more classification and the State Department arguing for less. But in the case of Clinton’s 22 top secret emails, even the State Department agreed that all 22 should be deemed top secret or even above top secret.
  • The emails comprise seven distinct email chains, and most of those chains involve discussions of the CIA drone program. The Obama administration has generally considered the program highly classified, even though details of it have been widely reported. However, some Clinton’s emails contain unredacted mentions of the drone program, so it is the discussion of certain details of the drone program that merit a top secret classification. For instance, some of the top secret emails include an email discussion relating to an unnamed New York Times article that “contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the CIA’s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.”
  • At least one of the email chains was started by Richard Holbrooke, “who as the administration’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan would have been intimately involved in dealing with the ramifications of drone strikes.” He died in December 2010.
  • “Some of the emails” include information deemed “top secret/SAP,” which means “special access programs.” The Times calls these programs “among the government’s most closely guarded secrets.”
  • “At least one of the emails contain[s] oblique references to CIA operatives.” One email has been given a designation of “HCS-O,” which indicates the information came from human intelligence sources. However, officials say that “none of the emails mention specific names of CIA officers or the spy agency’s sources.” (The New York Times, 2/5/2016)

February 23, 2016: Top Clinton aides will be questioned under oath in a civil suit.

Huma Abedin uses her smart phone in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 26, 2016. (Credit: Getty Images)

Huma Abedin uses her smart phone in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 26, 2016. (Credit: Getty Images)

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan rules that Clinton aides Huma Abedin, Bryan Pagliano, Cheryl Mills, Patrick Kennedy, and others would likely be questioned about Clinton’s use of her private email server. There is no immediate plan to question Clinton herself, but that could change. Sullivan’s ruling is in response to Judicial Watch, which has been seeking to determine if Clinton’s server thwarted federal open records laws. Sullivan comments that months of news about the email scandal has created “at least a reasonable suspicion” that public access to government records has been undermined.

Sullivan was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The judge gives Judicial Watch and government lawyers until April 12, 2016 to create a plan to proceed. The Washington Post notes this creates “the prospect that key Clinton aides would face questions just as she tries to secure the Democratic nomination and pivot to a hotly contested November general election.” (The Washington Post, 2/23/2016)

February 24, 2016: Former CIA Director Michael Hayden suggests that Clinton’s private server was almost certainly hacked by foreign governments.

CIA Director Michael Hayden (Credit: GovTechWorks)

CIA Director Michael Hayden (Credit: GovTechWorks)

Hayden is the only person ever to head both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA. He says, “I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren’t sitting back, paging through the emails” of Clinton.

He adds, “Once you’ve set it up [as she did], nobody has to be stupid, lazy, unintelligent—it’s gone bad. You’re going to end up with information on this private server that just shouldn’t be there, let alone all the questions about preserving government records. […] How much energy would I expend if I were still director of the National Security Agency and someone told me I could get access to the unclassified email server of [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergei Lavrov? I’d move heaven and Earth to do that. And here you’ve got these private, intimate conversations by a senior official of the US government sitting out there in what I would call an unprotected environment.”

Hayden was appointed head of the NSA by President Bill Clinton and then head of the CIA by President George W. Bush. (USA Today, 2/24/2016)

February 29, 2016: Final totals show over 2,000 of Clinton’s emails contained classified information.

The last batch of Clinton’s private emails are publicly released. Out of the 30,490 emails, 22 are deemed “top secret,” which is the highest level of classification. 65 are deemed “secret,” the middle level. 2,028 are “confidential,” the lowest level. That means that 2,115 emails, or seven percent of the total, have some classified ranking. 104 of the classified emails were sent by Clinton herself.

It has been reported that Clinton gave the State Department 30,490 emails, and 30,068 of these were ultimately released. Of the remaining 422 emails, 19 are emails between Clinton and President Obama that have not been released, and one more email withheld because it is part of a continuing investigation. It is not known why the remaining 402 have not been released. (The New York Times, 2/29/2016

However, it has been reported that some emails were returned to Clinton after a determination they were not work-related, so that could explain the discrepancy. (Politico, 9/4/2015)

February 29, 2016: Clinton’s 2,000 “confidential” emails could still be signs of serious crimes.

With all of the Clinton work emails publicly released, it is clear that the vast majority of her emails later deemed classified are considered “confidential.” 2,028 of her 2,115 classified emails have that ranking, which is the lowest classification ranking. (The New York Times, 2/29/2016) 

However, the Daily Beast has reported, “Excuses that most of [them] are considered ‘confidential’… cut no ice with many insiders. Although the compromise of information at that level is less damaging… it is still a crime that’s taken seriously by counterintelligence professionals. Most of the classified emails that Hillary and her staff seem to have compromised dealt with diplomatic discussions, which is a grave indiscretion as far as diplomats worldwide are concerned.” (The Daily Beast, 9/2/2015) 

Almost three-fourths of Clinton’s classified emails are deemed to contain “foreign government information,” meaning sensitive information from, to, or about foreign governments. (The New York Times, 5/10/2016)

March 2016: The FBI warns the Clinton campaign that it is a target of a hacker attack, but the campaign doesn’t assist the FBI.

160301ClintonFBIpublic

The Clinton campaign logo superimposed over the FBI logo. (Credit: public domain)

This is according to what two unnamed “sources who have been briefed on the matter” will tell Yahoo News in July 2016. FBI officials privately meet with senior Clinton campaign officials and express concern that hackers are using “spear phishing” techniques to access the campaign’s computers. They ask the campaign to turn over internal computer logs and the personal email addresses of top campaign staffers to help the FBI’s investigation. But the campaign declines to do so after deciding the request for personal data is too broad and intrusive. The FBI doesn’t give any mention as to who the hackers might be.

One month later, the campaign will learn on its own that its computers have been hacked and they will use a private cybersecurity company to combat the hackers.

Yahoo News will comment that the FBI’s “warning also could raise new questions about why the campaign and the DNC didn’t take the matter more seriously.”

At the time, the FBI has an active investigation into Clinton’s email usage while she was secretary of state, and Clinton’s campaign isn’t sure how extensive that inquiry is. There have been media reports that the investigation extended into unethical practices at the Clinton Foundation, which could theoretically include interest in more recent communications.

Yahoo News will report that, according to an unnamed internal source, “Campaign officials had reason to fear that any production of campaign computer logs and personal email accounts could be used to further such a probe.” But the FBI insists that its request for data to combat the hacking has no connection to any other investigation, and since there is no subpoena forcing the issue, the Clinton campaign turns down the request. (Yahoo News, 7/29/2016)

March 2016: The State Department’s internal Clinton email server investigation is put on hold.

The pause happens some unknown time this month, due to the FBI’s investigation taking precedence. A State Department spokesperson says, “Law enforcement comes first,” and “We are prioritizing the law enforcement investigation.” (Bloomberg News, 4/1/2016) Note that this is different from the State Department inspector general’s investigation, which continues.

March 2, 2016: It is reported Clinton’s former computer technician has made an immunity deal.

Hillary Clinton and Brian Pagliano at a party, date and location unknown. (Credit: Facebook)

Hillary Clinton and Brian Pagliano at a party, date and location unknown. (Credit: Facebook)

It is reported that Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton staffer who helped set up her private email server, has accepted an immunity deal from the FBI and the Justice Department.

In September 2015, Pagliano invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to speak to the House Benghazi Committee. He managed the server from 2008 until mid-2013. He actually started secretly cooperating with investigators in late 2015. The Clinton campaign claims they are “pleased” Pagliano is finally cooperating with prosecutors. (The Washington Post, 3/2/2016) 

The next day, Congressional Republicans say they want to interview Pagliano, since the deal means his Fifth Amendment pledge is no longer applicable. They also want to see the exact terms of the deal. (The Associated Press, 3/3/2016)

March 2, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton investigation is looking into retyping of classified information.

The New York Times reports that FBI agents investigating Clinton’s emails “have sought to compare electronic timestamps on classified sources to figure out whether [her] aides reviewed the sources and then retyped the information into emails that were sent or forwarded to Mrs. Clinton’s private server. That has proved challenging, and one official said investigators have not concluded that such retyping occurred.” (The New York Times, 3/2/2016)

March 2,2016–March 3, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton investigation is focusing on possible crimes.

On March 2, 2016, the Washington Post reports, “The Clinton campaign has described the [FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails] as a security review. But current and former officials in the FBI and at the Justice Department have said investigators are trying to determine whether a crime was committed.” One former senior law enforcement official asks, “There was wrongdoing. But was it criminal wrongdoing?” (The Washington Post, 3/2/2016) 

The next day, CNN similarly reports, “FBI investigators are expected to shift their focus on whether the highly sensitive government information, including top secret and other classified matters, found on Clinton’s private email server constitutes a crime.” (CNN, 3/3/2016)

March 2, 2016–March 3, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton investigation could conclude by May 2016.

The New York Times reports, “A federal law enforcement official said that barring any unforeseen changes, the FBI investigation [into Clinton’s emails] could conclude by early May. Then the Justice Department will decide whether to file criminal charges and, if so, against whom.”

In addition to the FBI investigation, there are continuing inquiries by the State Department inspector general, the Intelligence Community inspector general, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and the House Benghazi Committee. There are also numerous on-going lawsuits that could reveal more information to the public. (The New York Times, 3/2/2016)

March 3, 2016: The FBI has the computer security logs from Clinton’s private email server, and they allegedly show no evidence of foreign hacking.

Morgan Wright (Credit: Gov Tech)

Morgan Wright (Credit: Gov Tech)

The logs were given to the FBI by Bryan Pagliano, a Clinton aide who is cooperating with the FBI and who managed Clinton’s server during the time she was secretary of state. However, sophisticated hacking attempts sometimes leave no evidence in the security logs. (The New York Times, 3/3/2016) 

Additionally, cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright will later suggest the server may not have had an adequate detection system. “If you have a bank and you have one video camera when you need 20, then you missed it. If they weren’t capturing all the activity, their security logs may say they didn’t see anything.” (Fox News, 5/7/2016) 

In May 2016, it will emerge that there were hacking attempts on the server during the time Pagliano was managing it, for instance in January 2011. It’s not clear why these attacks didn’t appear on the server logs or why previous media reports of the logs were incorrect. (US Department of State, 5/25/2016) 

Also, it appears there were hacking attempts on the server after June 2013, when Pagliano was no longer involved, but when all of Clinton’s emails were still on the server. (The Associated Press, 10/7/2015)

March 5, 2016: Clinton wrote 104 emails containing classified information.

This is according to a Washington Post analysis of the more than 30,000 released emails on her private server during her time as secretary of state. Clinton has maintained that while some of her emails had classified content, they were emails sent to her. While over 2,000 of those emails are classified, and thus partially or fully redacted, the names of the senders and recipients are given for each, allowing the Post to analyze them. (This does not count the 22 “top secret” emails, or the 19 emails between Clinton and President Obama, since all information about those emails is redacted.)

As secretary of state, Clinton was emailed a lot of information by her aides. Of the classified emails sent by Clinton, in many cases she wrote short commentaries on longer informative emails sent to her. In three-fourths of these 104 emails, at least some of Clinton’s comments were classified.

Clinton argues that these emails are only retroactively classified and there was considerable over classification. The State Department has largely dodged the issue, saying they have only analyzed what content is classified now, not what should have been classified then. (The Washington Post, 3/5/2016

At least 46 of the 104 emails contain text classified as “foreign government information,” meaning information from, to, or about foreign governments. (The New York Times, 5/10/2016)

March 11, 2016: Clinton’s former computer technician Pagliano is reportedly giving very useful information to the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

Bryan Pagliano struck an immunity deal with the Justice Department in late 2015. According to an unnamed intelligence source, “Pagliano is a devastating witness and, as the webmaster, knows exactly who had access to [Clinton’s] computer and devices at specific times. His importance to this case cannot be over-emphasized.”

This source says Pagliano’s testimony is being used with other evidence to prove there are gaps in the over 30,000 work-related emails Clinton turned over to investigators. “Don’t forget all those photos with [Clinton] using various devices and it is easy to track the whereabouts of her phone. It still boils down to a paper case. Did you email at this time from your home or elsewhere using this device? And here is a picture of you and your aides holding the devices.”

The investigation is also said to be pursuing other leads, such as emails retroactively classified “top secret” that were sent by Clinton. (Fox News, 3/11/2016)

March 20, 2016: The FBI allegedly is moving towards recommending an indictment of Clinton, but it is facing political pressure not to do so.

The New York Post reports, “FBI chief James Comey and his investigators are increasingly certain that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton violated laws in handling classified government information through her private email server, career agents say.”

One unnamed former official says, “You don’t start granting people close to Clinton immunity unless you are seriously looking at charges against your target.”

However, it is also believed that the Obama White House is putting pressure on Comey not to recommend charges against Clinton. The Post further reports that “some FBI staffers suggest the probe’s at a point where Comey might quit in protest if [the] Justice [Department] ignores a recommendation to pursue a criminal case against Clinton.” (The New York Post, 3/20/2016)

March 24, 2016: More of Clinton’s work-related emails that Clinton did not turn over are found.

Tom Fitton (Credit: WorldNetDaily)

Tom Fitton (Credit: WorldNetDaily)

Clinton has claimed that she turned over all her work emails and deleted only the ones that were personal. She also has claimed that she only began using her private email account on March 18, 2009.

However, Judicial Watch forced the State Department to release two previously unknown Clinton emails due to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all of her records relating to her iPhone or BlackBerry use. It’s not clear why the emails did not appear before.

Judicial Watch makes public an email to Clinton from her chief of staff Cheryl Mills on February 13, 2009 about her BlackBerry, and Clinton’s short email response.

Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch, says, “So now we know that, contrary to her statement under oath suggesting otherwise, Hillary Clinton did not turn over all her government emails. We also know why Hillary Clinton falsely suggests she didn’t use clintonemail.com account prior to March, 18, 2009—because she didn’t want Americans to know… that she knew her BlackBerry and email use was not secure.” (The Hill, 3/24/2016) (Judicial Watch, 3/24/2016) (Judicial Watch, 3/17/2016)

March 27, 2016: Federal investigators have begun setting up formal interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides.

James McJunkin (Credit: Ebru News)

James McJunkin (Credit: Ebru News)

This is according to the Los Angeles Times, which also reports that they are also expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself. The timing is clear, and could still take weeks. But the Times reports that development is “an indication that much of the investigators’ background work—recovering deleted emails, understanding how the server operated and determining whether it was breached—is nearing completion.”

James McJunkin, former head of the FBI’s Washington field office, comments, “They are likely nearing the end of the investigation and the agents need to interview these people to put the information in context. They will then spend time aligning these statements with other information, emails, classified documents, etc., to determine whether there is a prosecutable case.”

The FBI has finished their review of the Clintons’ server and emails. They also already have interviewed a number of former aides “so they could better understand how the system was used and why Clinton chose to use it,” according to the Times. (The Los Angeles Times, 3/27/2016)

March 27, 2016–March 31, 2016: Accounts differ on the number of FBI investigators.

Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Credit: FBI)

Seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Credit: FBI)

A March 27, 2016 front-page Washington Post story claims that 147 FBI agents have been working on an investigation into Clinton’s emails. The Post soon issues a correction that states, “Two US law enforcement officials have since told the Washington Post that figure is too high. The FBI will not provide an exact figure, but the officials say the number of FBI personnel involved is fewer than 50.” (The Washington Post, 3/27/2016)

On March 30, an unnamed source tells NBC News, “There are currently about 12 FBI agents working full-time on the case.” (NBC News, 3/30/2016)

On March 31, Time Magazine says, “20 to 30 agents, technical specialists and analysts have been assigned to the investigation, according to sources familiar with it.” (Time, 3/31/2016) 

One explanation of the differing numbers could be that the number of people working on the case changed over time.

On March 27, the Los Angeles Times reports that the FBI has finished their work-intensive review of Clinton’s server and emails. (The Los Angeles Times, 3/27/2016)

March 31, 2016: Time Magazine reveals some details about the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

“The [FBI] agents have conducted interviews and done forensic analysis of the evidence collected. And they have executed process, the sources say, referring to a category of investigative tools that can include, among other things, subpoenas. As they near the end of the investigation, the agents are preparing to interview several of Clinton’s closest aides, and perhaps the candidate herself, according to the sources, a move Clinton campaign officials say she will comply with. […] [FBI Director James] Comey is keeping a close watch on the investigation, getting briefings from team leaders and personally overseeing the case. Agents have been told they may be polygraphed to prevent leaks, the sources familiar with the probe say.” (Time, 3/31/2016)

March 31, 2016: Fox News claims that FBI Director James Comey is trying to make a case to indict Clinton herself.

Ron Hosko (Credit: Evan Vucci / The Associated Press)

Ron Hosko (Credit: Evan Vucci / The Associated Press)

This is based on an inside source into the FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails. That source says Comey is said to be frequently meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in order to prepare to interview Clinton and her top aides soon. The source says, “In a case like this, you get one shot at the queen” [referring to Clinton]. “The pressures are enormous on the agents, as the case has to be airtight and perfect.”

Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the FBI’s criminal investigative division, says, “This in an incredibly high stakes, high-wire act. Timing is of the essence, but being right is absolutely critical. Comey must be the one to make the case that the law has been broken and a prosecution is recommended.” It is believed that the one approach the FBI is taking is seeing if Clinton or any of her aides can be caught lying under oath during their interviews. If they do, they could be prosecuted for that, as happened to Martha Stewart and many others. (Fox News, 3/31/2016)

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 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 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)