Spring 2016: FBI and Justice Department officials consider opening a specific corruption case regarding the Clinton Foundation, but decide not to do so.

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Clinton appears with Governor Terry McAuliffe during a campaign rally on February 29, 2016 in Fairfax, Virginia. (Credit: Paul J. Richards / Agence France Presse / Getty Images)

According to CNN in August 2016, some time around the spring of 2016, the FBI receives a notice from a bank of suspicious activity from an unnamed foreigner who had donated to the Clinton Foundation. Three FBI field offices come to an agreement that an investigation regarding this activity should be started. However, during a meeting between the FBI and the Justice Department, it is decided not to pursue an investigation. According to CNN, Justice officials are concerned the request seems more political than substantive, especially given that Hillary Clinton is running for president at the time, and they are against opening an investigation, so it is not pursued.

However, at least one other Clinton Foundation investigation raised at that same meeting does continue – an FBI investigation into Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) and his ties to a Clinton Foundation donor. (CNN, 8/11/2016)

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 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.

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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)