With the release of the official report on Benghazi by the House Select Committee earlier this week, one of two major concerns for the Clinton campaign has been able to be put to bed. However, one very large concern continues to loom over Clinton, and that is the FBI investigation into whether or not Hillary improperly handled classified material as Secretary of State.
Since it was revealed that Huma Abedin and other close aides were being interviewed by the FBI back in May, news from the investigation has been relatively quiet. FBI Director James Comey said last month regarding the investigation that “We want to do it well and we want to do it promptly. As between the two things, we will always choose well.“
As The Hill notes, it’s been nearly a year since inspectors general from the State Department and federal intelligence agencies referred the case of Clinton’s server to the Justice Department last July, and while many expected the investigation to be drawing to a close this spring, it is still ongoing. In May, Clinton said “I hope this is close to being wrapped up”, while saying that “I made it clear I’m more than ready to talk to anybody, anytime.”
Douglas Cox, a professor at the City of New York School of Law said “I, like other people, am a bit surprised that it hasn’t come to a resolution yet. I would think internally that there would have to be a little bit of concern.”
If the delay wasn’t much of a concern for the Clinton campaign, the fact that the Justice Department blocked the terms of IT aide Bryan Pagliano’s immunity agreement from being released during a Judicial Watch civil suite because it “could prematurely reveal the scope and focus of the pending investigation” would elevate some concerns. Pagliano invoked his Fifth Amendment rights over 125 times during a deposition in that case.
Cox went on to say “I think that federal prosecutors would want to get all their ducks in a row. They would want to make sure that their decision was as insulated as it could be from any charges that a decision not to bring charges would be politically motivated or be driven by political considerations.”
That’s an interesting comment from Cox, because as it turns out, on Monday evening (coincidentally just before the Benghazi report was released), Bill Clinton and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch just happened to meet on the tarmac at a Phoenix airport – totally unplanned of course. Clinton saw the attorney general and wanted to say hello, so Clinton boarded Lynch’s plane to talk for a bit. Sure, just a quick chat about the weather, his putting stroke, anything except oh, say, an update on what was about to be released on Benghazi, and especially not an update on the ongoing FBI investigation into Hillary of course.
“Our conversation was a great deal about his grandchildren. It was primarily social and about our travels. He mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix, and he mentioned travels he’d had in West Virginia. There was no discussion of any matter pending for the department or any matter pending for any other body. There was no discussion of Benghazi, no discussion of the State Department emails, by way of example” Lynch told reporters.
* * *
Well then, if Lynch says it was a completely random encounter with Hillary Clinton’s husband on a tarmac (admit it, that happens often to most people), and nothing was discussed that pertains to official business, then that certainly must be the truth…
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) June 30, 2016
* * *