Washington – The State Department wants a chance to review notes and other materials from the FBI’s probe of former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s email use before any documents are provided to Congress, a spokeswoman said Monday.
House Republicans are pressing the FBI to release notes from its agents’ July interview with the Democratic presidential nominee. FBI Director James Comey subsequently criticized Clinton’s use of a homebrew email server to handle sensitive work-related emails as “extremely careless,” but said his agency’s yearlong investigation found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Furious the FBI didn’t press charges against their political rival, Republicans now are demanding that the Justice Department open a new investigation into whether Clinton lied during testimony last year before the House Benghazi panel. They claim the FBI notes, which are typically kept confidential after an investigation is closed, may show Clinton provided inconsistent answers to questions about her handling of emails containing classified information.
Congressional aides told The Associated Press on Monday that they expect to receive the FBI’s notes from Clinton’s interview “at some point.” They spoke under condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to publicly discuss the issue.
State spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said her department has asked the FBI to keep it apprised of any documents provided to Congress that contain sensitive information.
“The State Department respects the FBI’s desire to accommodate the request of its committees of oversight in Congress, just as we do with our oversight committees,” Trudeau said. “We have cooperated and we will continue to cooperate with the FBI every step of the way.”
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., sent a letter to the Justice Department on Monday outlining what they see as a case for charging Clinton with perjury over her sworn testimony before the Benghazi panel last October.
Though the Republicans failed to find evidence to support their claims that Clinton was negligent in preventing or stopping the deadly 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, they are now focusing on questions surrounding the Democratic nominee’s haphazard handling of emails containing government secrets. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, currently lagging in opinion polls, also routinely attacks Clinton over her email use.
Democrats, meanwhile, accuse congressional Republicans of spending millions in taxpayer money on what they argue is a political witch hunt.
Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, warned that providing the FBI’s confidential notes to the Republicans will discourage witnesses from cooperating with future investigations.
“The history of the partisan Benghazi investigation made it clear that any information that can be leaked by the majority to the prejudice of Secretary Clinton, will be leaked,” Schiff said.