Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and some of her closest aides have to decide whether to tell the truth or lie to the FBI about her use of a private email and home-brew server to do official business.
“This puts them in a position of choosing between being honest about those emails, or lying to the FBI, which is a crime,” said Matthew G. Whitaker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009. He is presently executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) in Washington, D.C.
Federal agents are preparing to schedule interviews with Clinton’s “longtime and closest aides” about her use of the private email and server throughout her tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat from 2009 to 2013, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
“No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so,” the sources said. “Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear,” the Times reported.
Whitaker’s group made public its list of what it judges to be the “top 10 most ethically challenged Hillary emails” March 10, 2016:
- Nepotism: Clinton intervened Aug. 22, 2012, on behalf of her son-in-law, Marc Mezvinsky, in an effort to secure State Department assistance for one of his business associates with ties to a Clinton Foundation donor. FACT filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics on this issue.
- Favoring Insiders: Clinton “impressed” billionaire donor George Soros with his easy access to her, according to a May 12, 2012, email to her from Neera Tanden, veteran Clinton adviser and president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
- Above The Law: Clinton told aide Jake Sullivan in a June 17, 2011, email to disregard classification security regulations and send information for a speech via a non-secure email system, which forced the aide to either break the law or disobey an order.
- Special Interests: In a July 26, 2010, email exchange with Clinton, Sullivan forwarded a message from Jeffrey Farrow, an influential lobbyist for a Pacific island government. The exchange “raises red flags about whether Farrow had made ‘requests,'” according to FACT.
- Selling Access: A Dec. 10, 2009, email discussed attempts by Clinton campaign and foundation donor Brian Greenspun to set up a meeting between Clinton and a top Israeli official who had “been trying to meet with [Clinton] to no avail.” The email suggests certain campaign and foundation donors had a privileged “back door” to Clinton.
- Conflicts Of Interest: Clinton pushed for the State Department to work with the Clinton Foundation and the Red Cross on a project in Haiti. The Jan. 19, 2010, email from Clinton to Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills indicates a clear conflict of interest, according to FACT.
- Helping Political Allies: Mark Penn, Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign pollster and long-time political adviser, complained about not having timely access on a corporate event in China. His complaints were apparently resolved after a Feb. 22, 2010, email from Clinton aide Kris Balderston that set up a telephone call with Clinton.
- Trading Favors: Barely a week after the Penn complaint, Balderston reported in a March 2 email to Clinton that major corporations, including Boeing, CITI and Blackstone, agreed to provide financial support for the event. “Even the appearance of this sort of favor trading, involving the public, private and political sectors, is a bad ethics practice,” according to FACT.
- Abuse Of Position: A Sept. 15, 2011, email forwarded to Clinton, Sullivan and aide Huma Abedin listed multiple State Department officials attending the Clinton Foundation Global Initiative conference despite having “no official role.” Robert Hormats, a department official, was also a speaker at a dinner co-hosted by the Goldman Sachs Wall Street investment firm that later paid Clinton $675,000 for three speeches. The dinner focused on investing in women, Clinton’s favorite Clinton Foundation project.
- Duping Obama: In a Sept. 20, 2011, email to Clinton, Mills forwarded a draft of President Barack Obama’s planned remarks to the Clinton Foundation Global Initiative. FACT contends that “Clinton doesn’t appear to have routinely received copies of the President’s draft speeches, and it sends bad ethical signals to treat a speech given to her family’s organization differently.”
Clinton has been a heavy favorite to win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, but Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders swept three primaries over the Easter weekend by massive margins and national polls show their contest approaching a dead heat.
Clinton’s biggest problem may be her email scandal because of the FBI investigation and the prospect of further damaging revelations fueling growing doubts among Democrats about her honesty and electability.
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