Aug. 15, 2016 7:18pm Tré Goins-Phillips
The State Department is requesting the opportunity to review the FBI’s notes and other materials from its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state before they are passed onto Congress, a spokesperson said Monday.
The push from the State Department comes after House Republicans have pressed the FBI to release its notes from its agents’ interview with Clinton in July. Ultimately, FBI Director James Comey declined to recommend charges against the Democratic presidential nominee, but admitted she was “extremely careless” in her handling of sensitive information.
Comey concluded there was no wrongdoing on Clinton’s part because the agency failed to find any criminal intent behind the former secretary’s “careless” behavior. The move angered many on the right who feel Clinton should be indicted for her actions.
As a result, Republicans are now calling on the Justice Department to launch a probe to determine whether Clinton lied during her testimony last year before the House Benghazi Committee. 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. House Republicans made a similar request last month. They also sought, unsuccessfully, to deny classified intelligence briefings to Clinton during the campaign.
Congressional aides, who spoke anonymously because they are not permitted to discuss the issue publicly, indicated to the Associated Press they believe they will receive the notes “at some point.”
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.