August 2015: A company recommends improving security for Clinton’s server, which is still in use, but the FBI wants no changes.

At some point in August 2015, employees at Datto, Inc., a company that specializes in backing up computer data, realize that a private server they have been backing up belongs to Clinton. The server is being managed by Platte River Networks (PRN), and Datto made the connection after media reports revealed PRN’s role.

According to an unnamed Datto official, due to worries about the “sensitive high profile nature of the data,” Datto then recommends that PRN should upgrade security by adding sophisticated encryption technology to its backup systems.

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Andy Boian (Credit: Fox News)

PRN spokesperson Andy Boian later acknowledges receiving upgrade requests from Datto, but he says, “It’s not that we ignored them, but the FBI had told us not to change or adjust anything.”

Boian adds, however, the company did not take Datto’s concerns to the FBI.

The newest version of the server is still in use by the Clintons’ personal office at the time, despite being in news headlines since March 2015. (The Washington Post, 10/7/2015)

On August 12, 2015, the FBI takes an older version of the server from PRN’s control. The FBI doesn’t realize Clinton’s emails were moved from the old server to the new one. They eventually will figure this out and take the new server away as well, on October 3, 2015.

August 15, 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.

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Representative Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Twitter)

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 22, 2016: A Congressperson issues subpoenas to three companies that helped manage Clinton’s private email server.

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Representative Lamar Smith (Credit: public domain)

Representative Lamar Smith (R), chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, issues subpoenas for Platte River Networks, which managed Clinton’s server from May 2013 until August 2015; Datto, Inc., which made back-up copies of the server; and SECNAP, which carried out threat monitoring of the network connected to Clinton’s server. Smith wants documents from the companies by September 9, 2016, after they declined to voluntarily produce them. Congressional committees requested information since August and November 2015, to no avail. The companies had been threatened with subpoenas on July 12, 2016.

Smith comments, “Companies providing services to Secretary Hillary Clinton’s private email account and server are not above the law.” He claims the information he is seeking is “critical to… informing policy changes in how to prevent similar email arrangements in the future.”

Smith is working with Senator Ron Johnson (R), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. They are looking for information about breaches or potential breaches, and documents that detail the scope of the work of each company. (The Washington Post, 8/22/2016)

August 24, 2016: Clinton criticizes an Associated Press article about her meetings with Clinton Foundation donors.

On August 24, 2016, the Associated Press published an article that claims more than half of all the private citizens Clinton met with when she was secretary of state had donated to the Clinton Foundation.

In a CNN interview later that same day, Clinton says the article is “a lot of smoke and no fire.” She adds, “This AP report, put it in context. It excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders. That is absurd. These are people I was proud to meet with, who any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with.”

The Associated Press made clear at the start of the article that they were excluding meetings with US and foreign politicians, since those presumably would take place as part of her government duties anyway. (Politico, 8/24/2016)

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Clinton surrogates from left to right, Joel Benenson, Robby Mook, James Carville, Brian Fallon, and Donna Shalala. (Credit: all photos in public domain)

Clinton’s surrogates in the media also are very critical of the article. For instance, a Politico article about it later on the same day is entitled “Clinton camp rages against AP report.” The article notes that Clinton’s chief strategist Joel Benenson, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, long-time Clinton ally James Carville, Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon, and Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala all make the same point in media interviews, that the Associated Press is “cherry-picking” by limiting its analysis to only private citizens who met with Clinton. They also assert that no wrongdoing on Clinton’s part was proven by the article. (Politico, 8/24/2016)

August 25, 2016: It is alleged that Clinton’s lawyers used a computer program to make sure her deleted emails couldn’t be recovered.

Since late 2014, when Clinton and her lawyers deleted over 31,000 of Clinton’s emails from when she was secretary of state, it has been unclear if the emails were simply deleted or “wiped,” meaning deliberate steps were taken to make sure they couldn’t be recovered later.

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Trey Gowdy appears with Martha MacCallum on Fox News on August 25, 2016. (Credit: Fox News)

In an interview, Representative Trey Gowdy (R) says that, “[Clinton] and her lawyers [Cheryl Mills, David Kendall, and Heather Samuelson] had those emails deleted. And they didn’t just push the delete button; they had them deleted where even God can’t read them. They were using something called BleachBit. You don’t use BleachBit for yoga emails or bridemaids emails. When you’re using BleachBit, it is something you really do not want the world to see.”

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BleachBit Logo (Credit: public domain)

BleachBit is computer software whose website advertises that it can “prevent recovery” of files. Politico notes that if Gowdy is correct, this would be “further proof that Clinton had something to hide in deleting personal emails from the private email system she used during her tenure as secretary of state.” It is not explained how Gowdy might know this, but his comments come only a few days after the FBI gave raw materials about their Clinton email investigation to Congress. (Politico, 8/25/2016)

Gowdy’s claim contradicts what FBI Director James Comey said on July 5, 2016 when he announced that he would not recommend charging Clinton with any crime. At that time, Comey stated, “we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related emails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many email users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted emails or emails were purged from the system when devices were changed.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 7/5/2016)

Within hours of Gowdy’s comments, BleachBit updates their website to say: “Last year when Clinton was asked about wiping her email server, she joked, ‘Like with a cloth or something?’ It turns out now that BleachBit was that cloth, according to remarks by Gowdy.” The website also notes, “As of the time of writing BleachBit has not been served a warrant or subpoena in relation to the investigation. … The cleaning process [of our program] is not reversible.” (BleachBit, 8/25/2016)

On September 2, 2016, the FBI’s final report on their Clinton email investigation will be released, and it will be revealed that BleachBit was used on Clinton’s server in late March 2015. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

August 30, 2016: The New York Times advocates that Bill and Chelsea Clinton should cut all ties to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary wins the presidency, and the foundation should ban all foreign and corporate donations immediately.

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Chelsea, Hillary and Bill Clinton (Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

The New York Times‘ editorial board publishes an editorial entitled “Cutting Ties to the Clinton Foundation.” It doesn’t go as far as a recent USA Today editorial advocating that the Clintons completely cut their ties to the Clinton Foundation if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in November 2016. However, it argues that the steps the Clintons recently announced to distance themselves from the foundation if Hillary wins are not enough.

The editorial states, “‘Pay-to-play’ charges by [Republican presidential nominee] Donald Trump have not been proved. But [recently released] emails and previous reporting suggest Mr. Trump has reason to say that while Mrs. Clinton was secretary [of state], it was hard to tell where the foundation ended and the State Department began.”

The Times suggests that the foundation should “ban contributions from foreign and corporate entities now. If Mrs. Clinton wins, Bill and Chelsea Clinton should both end their operational involvement in the foundation and its affiliates for the duration of her presidency, relinquishing any control over spending, hiring, and board appointments. … Achieving true distance from the foundation is not only necessary to ensure its effectiveness, it is an ethical imperative for Mrs. Clinton.” (The New York Times, 8/30/2016)

August 30, 2016: The State Department says that around 30 Clinton emails discovered by the FBI could relate to Benghazi.

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US District Judge Amit Mehta (Credit: public domain)

US District Court Judge Amit Mehta is presiding over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit initiated by Judicial Watch regarding the public release of information relating to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. The FBI recently gave the State Department almost 15,000 previously unknown Clinton emails, so Mehta wants to know if any of them relate to Benghazi.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby says, “Using broad search terms, we have identified approximately 30 documents potentially responsive to a Benghazi-related request. At this time, we have not confirmed that the documents are, in fact, responsive, or whether they are duplicates of materials already provided to the department by former Secretary Clinton in December 2014.” The department says it will need until the end of September 2016 to review the 30 or so emails and redact any classified information in them.

However, Mehta doesn’t understand why it would take the department so long to process so few emails. He orders the department to return in a week to try to justify the processing time.

Starting in mid-2014, Clinton was specifically asked for all her emails related to Benghazi, months before she was asked for all her work-related emails in general. The Benghazi-related emails were the first of her emails to be released, in early 2015.

Jason Miller, senior communications adviser for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, says, “Clinton swore before a federal court and told the American people she handed over all of her work-related emails. If Clinton did not consider emails about something as important as Benghazi to be work-related, one has to wonder what is contained in the other emails she attempted to wipe from her server.” (The Hill, 8/30/2016)

August 30, 2016: More than 50 House Republicans call for a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s ties to the Clinton Foundation.

The representatives write a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Clinton Foundation donors had unusual access to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of State. This comes after an August 24, 2016 Associated Press article that claims over half of all the private citizens Clinton met with in those years donated to the foundation.

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Representative John Ratcliffe (Credit: public domain)

Representative John Ratcliffe (R) spearheads the letter, which cites the evidence in the article, then says, “All of this makes it very unclear where the State Department ended and where the Clinton Foundation began. … The facts as they have been reported surrounding the Clinton Foundation warrant an investigation that is beyond reproach and beyond any appearance of political favoritism. Appointing a special counsel is a necessary step at this juncture.”

The presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump has also been pushing for a special prosecutor in recent days. Prominent Republicans such as vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have issued similar statements.

Not surprisingly, Clinton and other Democratic politicians reject the need for a special prosecutor. For instance, Representative Adam Schiff (D) says, “There’s no evidence at all of any illegality in terms of Clinton Foundation and the secretary of state’s of work. … The most that has come to surface is that some of the Clinton Foundation supporters also met with the secretary of state, which you would imagine would be the case. So no, that’s not at all the kind of foundation you would want for the extraordinary step of a special investigator [or] prosecutor.” (The Hill, 8/30/2016)