The investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email continued to snowball through a scorching hot Washington on Monday, with a new letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). He’s demanding Clinton attorney David Kendall explain what steps he and his white-shoe law firm, Williams & Connolly, took to secure a large batch of the messages Clinton has turned over to the State Department.
The Aug. 14 letter from Grassley also asks what, if any, security clearance Kendall held when he received the three thumb drives containing backup copies of roughly 30,000 emails.
“Secretary Clinton may have provided you copies of her emails in December 2014 and that government officials realized that the emails contained classified information in May 2015 yet the Department of State did not deliver a safe to store the thumb drives until July 2015,” Grassley wrote.
“Thus, since at least May 2015 and possibly December 2014, it appears that in addition to not having an adequate security clearance, you did not have the appropriate tools in place to secure the thumb drives,” he added.
Kendall did not respond to a request Monday for comment on the letter, and the 2016 Democratic front-runner — who isn’t the target of the investigation — has long maintained that messages sent through her personal server didn’t contain any information that was classified at the time the missives were sent.
Grassley’s letter is the latest turn in the scandal surrounding Clinton’s use of a private email as secretary of state at her home in upstate New York. But it wasn’t the only development at the start of a slow week in the nation’s capital.
On Monday, the State Department filed court papers indicating reviewers were done with a preliminary screening of the documents. They determined that of a sample size of about 20 percent of Clinton’s emails, about 5 percent could contain classified information and could require additional review by intelligence agencies.
In total, State is reviewing about 55,000 pages of email turned over by Clinton and her State Department staffers. It plans to release all of them by January 2016. Last week, after months of resistance, Clinton turned over the actual server to investigators.
Also last week, the New York Times reported FBI agents investigating the server are trying to find who at the State Department passed highly classified information from secure networks to the former New York senator’s personal account.
A batch of Clinton’s private email, released July 31, show that Clinton and her aides did share sensitive information — including potential vulnerabilities in American diplomatic facilities overseas — over personal email. This release revealed 41 messages, dated between March and December of 2009, which had portions redacted and labeled “B1,” for the Freedom of Information Act exemption that allows the government to withhold or redact documents in the interests of foreign policy or national defense.
This embassy security topic is ironic, given that suspicions about Clinton’s use of a private email began during the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012, attack at a State Department outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens dead. Three other Americans also were killed.
Clinton’s presidential campaign has been dogged by the continuing email scandal; questions about it, and criticisms from Republicans, are ubiquitous. “The more the story goes on, the more it becomes clear that she has lied,” Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Sunday.
Clinton maintains the inquiry is a political ploy by Republicans to hurt her standing at the polls. She repeated this claim on the campaign trail in Iowa last Friday.
“I won’t pretend that this is anything other than what it is — the same old partisan games we’ve seen so many times before,” Clinton said at an Aug. 14 dinner in Iowa.
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