Washington | FBI agents probing whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server imperiled government secrets appear close to completing their work, a process experts say will probably culminate in a sit-down with the former secretary of state. The FBI has already spoken with Huma Abedin, a Clinton confidant who was among the Democratic presidential front runner’s closest aides at the State Department.
Former chief of staff Cheryl D Mills is also cooperating with the investigation, according to her lawyer. That signals that agents will probably seek to interview Clinton soon, if they haven’t already, former Justice Department officials told The Associated Press.
The FBI’s standard practice is to save questioning the person at the center of an investigation for last, once it has gathered available facts from others. With a person like Secretary Clinton, the FBI probably assumes they are going to get one chance to interview her, not only because she is a prominent person but because she is very busy right now with the presidential campaign, said David Deitch, a former Justice Department prosecutor.
It makes sense they would defer interviewing her until late in their investigation. On CBS’s Face the Nation on May 8, Clinton said the FBI had not yet reached out to her, but she was more than ready to talk to anybody, anytime. I hope that this is close to being wrapped up, she said.
Clinton has good reasons to want the FBI to close its investigation soon. She has been dogged by questions about her email practices for more than a year, since AP revealed that the clintonemail.com server was in the basement of Clinton’s New York home while she served as the nation’s top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. Clinton has acknowledged in the campaign that her home brew email setup was a mistake, but said she never sent or received anything marked classified at the time.
FBI Director James Comey said this month he is keeping close tabs on the investigation to ensure it’s conducted properly and completed promptly. However, he added there is no timeline for completing the probe tied to events on the political calendar, such as the 2016 Democratic National Convention in late July. Republicans want to keep the issue alive through the November presidential election, alleging that she put national security at risk.
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