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Thursday, October 20, 2016

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Justice Department said on Friday it is weighing a request by two government inspectors to look into the possible mishandling of classified information in Hillary Clinton’s private email account from when she was secretary of state.

The department said it “has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information.”

A Justice Department official said the “referral” is not a request for a criminal investigation into Clinton’s emails, thousands of which she handed over to the State Department after resigning in 2013.

Clinton’s use of a private email account for her work as America’s top diplomat came to light in March and brought criticism from political opponents that she had sidestepped transparency and record-keeping laws.

Clinton, the front-runner to represent the Democratic Party in the November 2016 presidential election, has repeatedly said she broke no laws or rules by eschewing a standard government email account for her State Department work in favor of her private account. She also said she sent no classified information by email.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement she “followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials.”

The former first lady said she handed to the State Department last year all the work-related emails she had, amounting to some 55,000 printed pages covering her four-year tenure, although her staff have recently acknowledged there are gaps in the records she retained.

But the inspector general of the intelligence community, in a letter to Congress, said a limited sampling of Clinton’s emails in question found at least four that contained classified information and should have been considered secret.

Reports on Friday about a possible investigation into the emails caused confusion.

The New York Times originally reported that two government inspectors general had asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into Clinton’s use of her private email account

It altered its report on its website overnight without explanation to suggest she personally was not the focus of a criminal referral.

Then, the Justice Department said the inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into the emails, before backtracking and saying that there was a request for a probe but not a criminal one.

While Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination, several recent polls have found a majority of voters find her untrustworthy, a perception exacerbated by controversy over her emails.

Republicans have seized on the email scandal in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail. The Republican National Committee, in a statement Friday, urged the Justice Department to investigate.

(Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez, Susan Heavey and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Tom Brown)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States, July 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young  

  • Dominick Vila

    Hopefully a Justice Department investigation, if there is one, will include previous SoS, and all elected officials. I think texting should be added to the fray.
    The part that is missing from this whole thing is that all correspondence, including e-mails, sent to the State Department or any other Federal government institution, is kept in the archives of the applicable departments and agencies. The only correspondence that may be hard to track involves private mail/e-mails sent to relatives, friends, or co-workers. Hopefully the GOP is not proposing the elimination of privacy laws, and an expansion of government reach that would make dictatorships look like a benign system of government.
    The worst part of this, and other issues, is the way the media is being played by special interests. What happened to effective journalism? To professional ethics? To the willingness to challenge claims made without evidence of wrongdoing?

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      The idea is to force Hillary out of the 2016 race. That’s all these boys care about. They know she is a force to be reckoned with that they cannot hope to compete with.

      And, in realty what they want is a showdown between JEB and Bernie Sanders. Because the majority of states are red and Sanders would be perceived as anti-conservative, the GOP Gestapos want it to come down to JEB and Sanders so that Sanders will lose his head before the debate stage is even set up.

      • Dominick Vila

        The main line of attack against Bernie Sanders will be socialism. Even seniors will react against their own best interests and vote against a man who is proposing to strengthen social programs, reduce the financial schism between the wealthy and the middle class, end Wall Street abuses, invest in education, invest in infrastructure, and other proposals that ought to appeal to everyone capable of rational thinking.
        I agree with you on Hillary. The GOP see her as a major threat, and will stop at nothing to destroy her. The next step is to demand a Justice Department investigation into the e-mail “scandal”. Never mind that Colin Powell did the same thing and did not turn over any e-mails. Never mind that the overwhelming majority of Republicans in Congress can be seen using their cell phones to text whatever they wish via private mediums. The goal is to destroy a formidable opponent. They tried it with Benghazi, but seem to have backed off that tactic, probably because it reminds everyone of 9/11 and the 11 terrorist attacks against U.S. embassies and consulates during W’s tenure, and insinuations of wrongdoing associated with the Clinton Foundation have stopped, perhaps because of lack of evidence, or because it serves as a reminder of the Koch siblings influence in our political processes.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          It’s just so embarrassing to all Americans when the GOP acts like childish little boys. They want to be the only force we must all reckon with. That’s too dangerous a situation even for the US. It means that the GOP is acting more like they are the only ruling body in government.

          I think what is going to happen will shock the daylights out of the GOP’s attack dogs. If they fail this last attempt to get rid of Hillary, they will effectively proven to all US women, they are not working for the best interests of the country.

          A mob of women in the streets is not a pretty thing. But, if this is what the GOP wants, this is what they will get.

          • Dominick Vila

            Bear in mind that the Republican focus on negativism and personal attacks to destroy opponents is just a tactic to deflect attention from their record, their inability or unwillingness to propose solutions to the socio-economic and geo-political problems we have, and an absolute lack of vision. When a political party, or a politician, has nothing to offer their only recourse is to lash out against those who do.
            The interminable list of Republicans running for President confirms that not even them consider the current field worthy of the Office of the Presidency.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    You know this is the last ditch attempt by Koch’s attack dogs Gowdy and Issa to get rid of Hillary so she cannot run in 2016. She handed over 55,000 emails and these GOP Gestapos are beginning to lose control.

    If the Justice Dept. investigates this, it will be obligated to also investigate ALL emails between Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice regarding the pre-emptive strike on Iraq.

    It will be also required to provide all of the documentation on Reagan and his then VP, GHWB on the arms deal between Reagan and Iran.

    The GOP Gestapos are acting as if they are the ONLY government in the US. Time to take them down a filght of stairs…a few pegs won’t do it.

    They hide their dirty little secrets, waste our tax dollars on witch hunts and then come up smelling like roses?

    Hell hath no fury like a innocent woman made to look like a criminal by criminals.

  • susan.thomas32