August 12, 2016: Whoever hacked DNC and other Democrat-related emails in the last year may have also targeted Republicans.

The Daily Beast reports that cybersecurity experts believe the hacker or hackers who stole emails from the DNC (Democratic National Committee) are behind a website known as DCLeaks. The site went public in June 2016 to little media attention. But the site contains emails from hundreds of Republican and Democratic US politicans, including staffers to Republican Senators John McCain and Linsey Graham, plus staffers to former Republican Repesentative Michelle Bachmann.  An unnamed “an individual close to the investigation of the Democratic Party hacks” says the evidence is growing that both parties have been targeted. “Everyone is sweating this right now. This isn’t just limited to Democrats.”

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Senators John McCain (left) and Linsey Graham (right) (Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

The cybersecurity company ThreatConnect has been investigating the recent hacks of US political targets, and they call DCLeaks a “Russian-backed influence outlet.” In particular, they have linked it to Fancy Bear (a.k.a. APT 28), a hacking group also accused of hacking the DNC, an believed by many to be working for the Russian government. “DCLeaks’ registration and hosting information aligns with other Fancy Bear activities and known tactics, techniques, and procedures.” They also claim that the hacker or hacking group known as Guccifer 2.0, who claims to be behind the hacking of the DNC emails that WikiLeaks publicly posted in July 2016, is linked to DCLeaks.
The Daily Beast reports that “researchers, at ThreatConnect and elsewhere, also now believe that Guccifer 2.0 was WikiLeaks’ source and that the group is acting as a front for the Russian government.” (The Daily Beast, 8/12/2016)

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 16, 2016: The FBI gives Congress some classified documents from its Clinton email investigation.

The documents include the FBI’s summary of the interview of Clinton on July 1, 2016, known as a 302.

The State Department wanted to review the 302 interview summaries first, but the FBI ignored that request. On July 7, 2016, FBI Director James Comey said when it came to documents relating to the FBI’s Clinton investigation, he was committed to delivering to Congress “everything I can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible.”

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Representative Adam Schiff (Credit: Michael Buckner / Getty Images)

Representative Adam Schiff (D) criticizes the move. “With the exception of the classified emails that had been found on the private server, I can see little legitimate purpose to which Congress will put these materials. Instead, as the now-discredited Benghazi Committee demonstrated, their contents will simply be leaked for political purposes. This will neither serve the interests of justice nor aid Congress in its responsibilities and will merely set a precedent for the FBI to turn over closed case files whenever one party in Congress does not like a prosecutorial decision. This has been done in the name of transparency, but as this precedent chills the cooperation of other witnesses in the future, I suspect the Department of Justice will later come to refer to it by a different name — mistake.”

The documents can be seen by members of Congress, but they are not allowed to publicly reveal any of it. An FBI spokesperson says, “The material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence.”

However, Senator Charles Grassley (R), chair of the judiciary committee, says, “On initial review, it seems that much of the material given to the Senate today, other than copies of the large number of emails on Secretary Clinton’s server containing classified information, is marked ‘unclassified/for official use.’ The FBI should make as much of the material available as possible.”

Clinton campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon also wants to see the material publicly release, saying, “This is an extraordinarily rare step that was sought solely by Republicans for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI. We believe that if these materials are going to be shared outside the Justice Department, they should be released widely so that the public can see them for themselves, rather than allow Republicans to mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks.” (Politico, 8/16/2016)

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)

September 22, 2016: A Congressional committee votes that Pagliano should be held in contempt of Congress.

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: public domain)

Bryan Pagliano (Credit: public domain)

Bryan Pagliano, who managed Clinton’s server when she was secretary of state, recently was served a subpoena to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. But instead of pleading the Fifth, as two others did, he failed to appear altogether. The committee holds another hearing on this day, and he fails to appear again. As a result, the committee immediately votes on party lines, 19 to 15, to recommend that the House of Representatives hold him in contempt of Congress.

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R), chair of the committee, says, “Subpoenas are not optional. Mr. Pagliano is a crucial fact witness in this committee’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to conduct government business.”

After a required two day wait time, the resolution can be voted on by the entire House to be adopted.

Democrats on the committee argue repeatedly that the move is a politically motivated abuse of power meant to influence the November 2016 presidential election.

A letter by Pagliano’s lawyer Mark McDougall to the committee similarly claims that efforts to force Pagliano to testify show a “naked political agenda” with “no valid legislative aim.” McDougall says Pagliano is ready to appear behind closed doors, but will not appear in public. (The Hill, 9/22/2016) (Politico, 9/22/2016)