Kim pleads guilty to orally describing classified information from an intelligence report on North Korea’s nuclear program with Fox News reporter James Rosen. Prosecutors say Kim hurt US national security by indirectly alerting North Korea to what the US knew about that country’s capabilities. Kim says he wanted to bring more public attention to the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program. Kim also has pointed out that officials frequently leak classified information to reporters, but prosecutors say that the fact that other people do it doesn’t make it any less of a crime. (The Washington Post, 4/2/2014)
Lanny Davis was a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, and is a longtime media surrogate for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Speaking to journalist Chris Wallace on Fox News, he says regarding Clinton’s emails on her private server, “There can be a neutral party to review all these records. Nothing unlawful-”
Wallace asks, “You’d like to have a neutral party? … [D]o you think that’s a reasonable idea?”
Davis replies, “I think it is a reasonable idea if anybody has any doubts that there’s a delete on a hard drive-”
Wallace interrupts, “To have an independent party go inspect her private email?”
Davis responds, “I think there is a reasonable idea. If the State Department asks, she will say yes.” (Fox News, 3/8/2015)
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook writes in an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, “We gotta zap Lanny out of our universe. Can’t believe he committed her to a private review of her hard drive on TV.” (WikiLeaks, 11/1/2016)
Podesta’s reply, if any, is unknown. The Mook email will be released by WikiLeaks in November 2016.
Clinton will never agree to a neutral review of her server. Later in the month, an employee of the company managing her server will delete and wipe all the emails from her server.
An unnamed State Department official who worked in the Office of Information Programs and Services (IPS) will be interviewed by the FBI on August 17, 2015. She will claim there was a deliberate effort to change some Clinton emails bearing the “B(1)” code, which classifies information due to “national security,” to the “B(5)” code, which classifies information mostly due to “interagency or intra-agency communications.”
This person “believed there was interference with the formal [Freedom of Information Act] FOIA review process. Specifically, [the State Department’s] Near East Affairs Bureau upgraded several of Clinton’s emails to a classified level with a B(1) release exemption. [Redacted] along with [redacted] attorney, Office of Legal Counsel called State’s Near East Affairs Bureau and told them they could use a B(5) exemption on an upgraded email to protect it instead of the B(1) exemption.”
The interviewee reported in early May 2015 that Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy “held a closed-door meeting with [redacted] and [redacted] [Justice Department’s] Office of Information Programs where Kennedy pointedly asked [redacted] to change the FBI’s classification determination regarding one of Clinton’s emails, which the FBI considered classified. The email was related to FBI counter-terrorism operations.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
In October 2016, Fox News will report, “This appears to be one of two emails that kick-started the FBI [Clinton email investigation] in the summer of 2015.” (Fox News, 10/6/2016) The email in question was sent on November 18, 2012 by department official Bill Roebuck and forwarded to Clinton by her aide Jake Sullivan. If Kennedy tried to change the classified code on this email he must have failed, because when the email is published on May 22, 2015, it is classified at the “secret” level (the medium level below “top secret”) due to a section using the B(1) code. (US Department of State, 5/22/2015)
However, classification codes may be changed on other emails. On August 26, 2015, Fox News will report that “Kennedy, who was deeply involved in the Benghazi controversy, is running interference on the classified email controversy on Capitol Hill. Two sources confirmed that Kennedy went to Capitol Hill in early July  and argued [the November 18, 2012] email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan [plus one other email] did not contain classified material. … One participant found it odd Kennedy insisted on having the discussion in a secure facility for classified information, known as a SCIF,” although Kennedy claimed the two emails were unclassified. (Fox News, 8/26/2015)
Then, on September 1, 2015, Fox News will report that “At least four classified Hillary Clinton emails had their markings changed to a category that shields the content from Congress and the public… in what State Department whistleblowers believed to be an effort to hide the true extent of classified information on the former secretary of state’s server. The changes, which came to light after the first tranche of 296 Benghazi emails was released in May , was confirmed by two sources — one congressional, the other intelligence. The four emails originally were marked classified after a review by career officials at the State Department. But after a second review by the department’s legal office, the designation was switched to ‘B5’…”
One of the lawyers in the office where the changes are made is Kate Duval, who once worked for Williams & Connolly, the same law firm as Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall. Duval also served as an attorney and advisor in the Obama Administration on oversight issues and high-profile investigations, most recently at the Department of State and, before that, as Counselor to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. There are internal department complaints that Duval, and a second lawyer also linked to Kendall, “gave at the very least the appearance of a conflict of interest during the email review. A State Department spokesman did not dispute the basic facts of the incident, confirming to Fox News the disagreement over the four classified emails as well as the internal complaints. But the spokesman said the concerns were unfounded.” (Fox News, 9/1/2015)
Kennedy will also be interviewed by the FBI on December 21, 2015. Redactions will make the interview summary difficult to follow, but apparently he will be asked about these accusations. He will say that while the official who accused him “says it like it is” and has “no fear of telling truth to power,” he “categorically rejected” the allegations of classified code tampering. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/23/2016)
The book Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, written by Peter Schweizer, is published by HarperCollins. The book is highly critical of the Clinton Foundation, and is released within one month of Clinton announcing her candidacy in the 2016 presidential election. In November 2016, it will be revealed that the book is a major reason why the FBI starts an investigation into the foundation a short time after its publication.
The book causes controversy even before it is published, due to major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Fox News, getting exclusive stories based on different portions of the book. The Times at least says they didn’t pay anyone for their exclusives. (The New York Times, 4/23/2015)
The foundation also publicly admits that it made mistakes, due to a wave of negative reporting, with many stories based on the books’ contents.
The day the book is published, Clinton’s campaign posts a section its official website attempting to refute the book’s claims. Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, writes: “The book has zero evidence to back up its outlandish claims… While we will not be consumed by these kinds of attacks, we will also not let them go unchallenged.” (The New York Times, 5/4/2015)
The book is widely read, staying five weeks on the New York Times’ best seller list. (The New York Times, 6/21/2015)
Much of the criticism of the book is based on the reputation and motives of its author. Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute, a right wing think tank, and was a research fellow at Stanford University’s right wing Hoover Institution. He is also a senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News, a controversial right wing news website so supportive of Donald Trump, the man who will become Clinton’s main opponent in the 2016 presidential election, that Stephen Bannon, the executive chair of Breitbart News, will resign in August 2016 to become the CEO of Trump’s campaign. (The New York Times, 8/18/2016)
Schweizer has written many books, most of them with an overt right wing political slant, such as Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy, published in 2005.
Shortly after the book is published, the publisher announces that “seven to eight factual corrections” have been made to a revised version, calling them “actually quite minor.” (Politico, 5/14/2015)
A Newsweek review of the book comments, [J]ust because the book’s author, who has written for Breitbart News, is widely considered a right-wing guttersnipe… doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Well, at least not entirely wrong. He gets various dates and figures wrong… Mostly, though, it raises intriguing questions without ever really convicting.”
Newsweek continues, “The book contains many more lurid examples of Bill and Hillary [Clinton] doing things that look bad—from Bill taking juicy speaking fees from a major investor in the Keystone XL pipeline while Hillary’s state department reviewed the pipeline deal, to the Clinton Foundation accepting donations from a Swedish mining investor who more or less financed a coup in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. None of these actions are illegal. And it’s not even clear if they’re related. The rooster doesn’t cause the sun to rise, but this is the thrust of Schweizer’s argument. He never proves any laws were broken—in fact, he practically begins the book by hedging his accusations: ‘I realize how shocking these allegations may appear. Are these activities illegal? That’s not for me to say. I’m not a lawyer.'” (Newsweek, 5/1/2015)
The foundation’s records show that there are not many news outlets who would report on the foundation and didn’t donate some money to it. The following have given at least $1 million:
- Carlos Slim, the Mexican multibillionaire who is also the largest New York Times shareholder.
- James Murdoch, the chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox, and the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
- Newsmax Media, the conservative media outlet.
- Thomson Reuters, the owner of the Reuters news service.
Others to donate smaller amounts include Google, Bloomberg, Richard Mellon Scaife, Mort Zuckerman, AOL, HBO, Viacom, Turner Broadcasting (CNN), Twitter, Comcast, NBC Universal, PBS, the Washington Post, and many more. (Politico, 5/15/2015)
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)
The Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer, whose real name is Marcel-Lehel Lazar, has been recently interviewed by Fox News. He claims for the first time that after breaking into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal in March 2013, he traced Clinton’s emails back to her private email server.
He tells Fox News, “For me, it was easy […] easy for me, for everybody.” He says he accessed her server “like twice.” He adds, “For example, when Sidney Blumenthal got an email, I checked the email pattern from Hillary Clinton, from Colin Powell, from anyone else to find out the originating IP [Internet Protocol address]. […] When they send a letter, the email header is the originating IP usually…then I scanned with an IP scanner.”
He said he then used some Internet programs to determine if the server was active and which ports were open. However, the server’s contents did “not interest” him at the time. “I was not paying attention. For me, it was not like the Hillary Clinton server, it was like an email server she and others were using with political voting stuff.”
If he breached the server, it appears he didn’t fully understand what he was seeing, and he has not claimed to have uncovered more of Clinton’s emails. He is interviewed from a US prison and has no documents to back up his claim. However, Fox News reports, “While [his] claims cannot be independently verified, three computer security specialists, including two former senior intelligence officials, said the process described is plausible and the Clinton server, now in FBI custody, may have an electronic record that would confirm or disprove Guccifer’s claims.”
Cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright comments, “The Blumenthal account gave him a road map to get to the Clinton server. […] You get a foothold in one system. You get intelligence from that system, and then you start to move.”
Guccifer claims he wants to cooperate with the US government, adding that he has hidden two gigabytes of data that is “too hot” and is “a matter of national security.”
The Clinton campaign responds, “There is absolutely no basis to believe the claims made by this criminal from his prison cell. In addition to the fact he offers no proof to support his claims, his descriptions of Secretary Clinton’s server are inaccurate.” (Fox News, 5/4/2016)
Politico reports, “An internal FBI review of Clinton’s email records did not indicate traces of hacking” according to “a source familiar with the situation.” (Politico, 5/4/2016)
An FBI report in September 2016 will assert that Guccifer admitted in his FBI interview that he lied about his claim to have accessed Clinton’s server.
Hours after Fox News reports on recently interviewing Romanian hacker Guccifer, NBC News reports on their recent interview with Guccifer. Like the Fox News interview, the main story is that Guccifer claims to have gained access to Clinton’s private email server. He tells NBC News, “It was like an open orchid on the Internet. […] There were hundreds of folders.” He also calls her server “completely unsecured.”
An unnamed source with knowledge of the FBI’s Clinton investigation claims “that with Guccifer in US custody, investigators fully intend to question him about her server.”
While Fox News recently interviewed him in a US prison, NBC News interviewed him from a prison in Bucharest, Romania, where he was until he was extradited to the US in late March 2016. (NBC News, 5/4/2016)
LawNewz notes the timing, and asks, “Why would a major news network sit on such an explosive allegation—especially when the claim directly relates to a presidential candidate and the biggest story the 2016 presidential election cycle?” NBC News has not commented. (LawNewz, 5/4/2016)
An FBI report in September 2016 will assert that Guccifer admitted in his FBI interview that he lied about his claim to have accessed Clinton’s server.
FBI official Stephen Kelly sends a letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in reponse to his questions. The letter reveals that FBI agents taking part in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation were sworn to secrecy. The agents signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) called a “Case Briefing Acknowledgement” which says the disclosure of any information about the investigation is “strictly prohibited” without prior approval.
The NDA reads in part: “I (FBI agent) also understand that, due to the nature and sensitivity of this investigation, compliance with these restrictions may be subject to verification by polygraph examination.”
The FBI claims that “no one refused to sign” the NDA or “raised any questions or concerns” about it.
An unnamed recently retired FBI agent says that this kind of NDA is reserved for “the most sensitive of sensitive cases,” and can have a “chilling effect” on agents, who understand “it comes from the very top and that there has to be a tight lid on the case.” This person adds that such NDAs can also contribute to “group think” because investigators cannot bounce ideas off other agents, only those within a small circle. (Fox News, 7/14/2016)
An upper-ranking retired FBI official says, “This is very, very unusual. I’ve never signed one, never circulated one to others.” And a current FBI agent says, “I have never heard of such a form. Sounds strange.” (The New York Post, 7/12/2016)
Grassley first wrote to the FBI with questions about NDAs on February 4, 2016, after a media report that FBI agents were asked to sign additional non-disclosure agreements in some cases.
Grassley comments that he finds it “troubling that the FBI tried to gag its agents with a non-disclosure agreement on this matter, in violation of whistleblower protection statutes.” Agents are only allowed to speak without permisssion in a limited number of circumstances, such as communications with Congress regarding waste, fraud, and abuse. (Fox News, 7/14/2016)
Information about this NDA will be first reported by The New York Post on July 12, 2016, shortly after the FBI announced Clinton would not be indicted. Fox New will wait for a follow-up letter to Grassley which won’t come until just after that announcement. (Fox News, 7/14/2016) (The New York Post, 7/12/2016)
On July 5, 2016, former Assistant FBI Director James Kallstrom is interviewed by Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly about FBI Director James Comey’s announcement earlier in the day that he won’t recommend to indict Clinton.
He says, “I have defended him in the past, but those days are over… I thought the events of the last week there was something fishy going on… then he comes to that nonsensical conclusion that really wasn’t his to make.” He adds that he has spoken with about 15 current and former agents who “are basically worried about the reputation of the agency they love, that they’ve worked hard for all their life.” (The Washington Free Beacon, 7/6/2016)
On September 6, 2016, Kallstrom is interviewed by Kelly again, four days after the FBI Clinton email investigation’s final report and Clinton’s FBI interview summary are publicly released. He says he is “shocked and furious and dismayed” at Comey “pull[ing] the old political trick of waiting until a three-day holiday weekend and then releasing information,” as well as how the FBI conducted the interview of Clinton. He adds, “Megyn, I’ve had contact with 50 different people, both inside and outside, retired agents, that are basically disgusted. And, you know, it’s part of the last straw.” (Fox News, 9/6/2016)
On September 28, 2016, Kallstrom speaks on air to Kelly again. He says he has been contacted by hundreds of people, including “a lot of retired agents and a few on the job.” He claims the agents “involved in this thing feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back. … I think we’re going to see a lot more of the facts come out in the course of the next few months. That’s my prediction.”
On November 3, 2016, the Daily Beast will publish an article largely based on a recent interview with Kallstrom. It will note that he recently endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Kallstrom, a former Marine, founded a charity decades ago called the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation. Trump’s personal charity, the Trump Foundation, gave Kallstrom’s charity $1,000,000 in May 2016, $100,000 in March 2016, and another $230,000 in prior years. These are unusually large numbers for Trump’s foundation. When Trump owned casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he allowed Kallstrom’s charity to hold fundraisers for free in them. Kallstrom met Trump on occasion over the years, often during public events.
Kallstrom tells the Daily Beast that he has gotten hundreds and hundreds of calls and emails from both active and retired agents. He claims that in all but two cases the agents have been supportive of what he’s said in his Fox News appearances, except for two agents who told him he should be more supportive of Comey. He claims that he’s never been in contact with agents directly involved with the Clinton email investigation, and has not tried to give them advice.
He says he’s apolitical and a registered independent voter, and although he plans to vote for Trump, he has never been involved in a campaign, including Trump’s. (The Daily Beast, 11/3/2016)
Rudy Giuliani says in a Fox News interview that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had “a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next two days. I’m talking about some pretty big surprise.”
Pressed for specifics, he says he’s “got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.” Giuliani is a former US attorney, former mayor of New York City, and a frequent media surrogate for the Trump campaign. (Real Clear Politics, 10/25/2016)
Three days after his comments, FBI Director James Comey will send a letter to Congress announcing that the FBI’s Clinton email investigation is being at least partially reopened, due to the discovery of new evidence.
As a result of this sequence of events, Democratic Representatives Elijah Cummings and John Conyers will call for an investigation into a possible leak of confidential information to Giuliani.
On November 4, 2016, Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly will ask Giuliani about this controversy. He will say, “You can investigate me. I spoke to no current FBI agents ever in the last ten months. I’ve had no communication with them.” He says he has spoken to many former FBI agents though, but he was only told they were “in revolt” since July 2016 when Comey announced he wasn’t going to recommend the indictment of Clinton.
Giuliani will claim he was talking about Trump’s planned television advertising over the weekend.
Kelly will comment, “That would have been kind of lame. You should have been glad that something bigger came out to not make a liar out of you.”
He will then say, “I had no idea that Jim Comey was going to do what he did. Not the slightest idea.” (Fox News, 11/4/2016)
On a different interview the same day, with Fox News journalist Brian Kilmeade, Giuliani will say, “All I heard were former FBI agents telling me that there’s revolution going on inside the FBI and it’s now at a boiling point…”
Kilmeade will interrupt, “So you had a general idea that something was coming.”
Giuliani will respond, “I had expected this for the last, honestly to tell you the truth, I thought it was going to be about three or four weeks ago, because back, way back in July  this started, they kept getting stymied looking for subpoenas, looking for records.”
The Washington Post will comment, “The answer suggests Giuliani is claiming to have known not of the development in the Clinton email case, but of [general FBI agent] frustration over the Clinton Foundation matter.” (The Washington Post, 11/4/2016)
However, in contradiction to Giuliani’s claim “I spoke to no current FBI agents ever in the last ten months,” on October 28, 2016, hours after Comey’s letter is made public, Giuliani will say in a radio interview, “The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity. I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”
The Daily Beast will note that Giuliani “spent decades of his life as a federal prosecutor and then mayor working closely with the FBI, and especially its New York office. One of Giuliani’s security firms employed a former head of the New York FBI office, and other alumni of it.” Furthermore, his former law firm has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. (The Daily Beast, 11/2/2016)
Fox News reports that the FBI’s Clinton Foundation has now taken a “very high priority.” This is according to unnamed “separate sources with intimate knowledge of the probe.”
The FBI had already collected a great deal of evidence and interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people. But in recent weeks, emails released on a daily basis by WikiLeaks, plus occasional Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) email releases, have provided many more leads. One source says, “There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day.”
FBI agents are “actively and aggressively pursuing this case.” Due to all the new information, agents will be re-interviewing many people again, some for the third time. Agents are also double checking the FBI interview summaries (known as “302’s”) of Clinton and her top aides, to make sure their answers jibe with all the new information.
The FBI’s White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation. (Fox News, 11/2/2016)
Fox News journalist Bret Baier claims that he spoke to the sources, and they told him that it is “likely” the investigation will eventually result in an indictment or indictments, “barring some obstruction in some way” from the Justice Department. (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
The next day, Baier modifies his claim about an indictment being likely. “I want to be clear about this, and this came from a Q and A that I did with Brit Hume after my show and after we went through everything. He asked me if, after the election, if Hillary Clinton wins, will this investigation continue, and I said, ‘yes absolutely.’ I pressed the sources again and again what would happen. I got to the end of that and said, ‘they have a lot of evidence that would, likely lead to an indictment.’ But that’s not, that’s inartfully answered. That’s not the process. That’s not how you do it. You have to have a prosecutor. If they don’t move forward with a prosecutor with the [Justice Department], there would be, I’m told, a very public call for an independent prosecutor to move forward. There is confidence in the evidence, but for me to phrase it like I did, of course that got picked up everywhere, but the process is different than that.” (Fox News, 11/3/2016)
In October 2016, it was reported that Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson got immunity deals in return for their cooperation in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, and in return for turning over their computer laptops, the FBI promised to destroy those laptops after analyzing the data on them.
However, on this day, Fox News reporter Bret Baier claims, “As a result of the limited immunity deals to top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Justice Department had tentatively agreed that the FBI would destroy those laptops after a narrow review. We are told definitively that has not happened. Those devices are currently in the FBI field office here in Washington, DC, and are being exploited. The source points out that any immunity deal is null and void if any subject lied at any point in the investigation.” (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
During a story about new developments in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, Fox News journalist Bret Baier claims that his sources also say the FBI has a greater than 99 percent confidence that Clinton’s private email server was hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies. Also, information had been successfully taken from the server.
However, further details, such as which five countries these are, what information was taken, or how the FBI has learned this, are not mentioned. (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey said there was no “direct evidence” Clinton’s email account had been successfully hacked. But the next day, the New York Times reported that “both private experts and federal investigators immediately understood his meaning: It very likely had been breached, but the intruders were far too skilled to leave evidence of their work.”