National Security

State Dept. puts hold on review of Clinton emails, deferring to FBI

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The State Department has halted its internal review of whether Hillary Clinton violated classification rules with her private email server, deferring to the FBI’s investigation.

Two months ago, the department launched an internal review of 22 of the former secretary of State’s emails, which had been classified at the highest level of “top secret” and weren’t released to the public even in redacted form. At issue was whether the emails should have been classified at the time they were sent or whether the information had merely become classified over time.

{mosads}On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau announced that the FBI recommended last month that the department delay its review to let the bureau continue its work.

“While the ongoing law enforcement investigation is taking place, our internal review is on hold, pending the completion of that,” Trudeau told reporters.

“We do not want our internal review to complicate or impede the progress of their ongoing law enforcement investigation.”

The decision to press pause, the State Department spokeswoman added, is “standard procedure in cases like this, if there’s an ongoing law enforcement investigation.”

The FBI was responding to a State Department inquiry about how to move forward, Trudeau said. She declined to speculate on how the State Department’s review might interfere with the FBI’s investigation.

The FBI has been reviewing Clinton’s unorthodox email arrangement for months, with an eye toward whether Clinton or one of her top aides mishandled classified information.  

The review is reportedly nearing its final stages, and the bureau has been in the process of arranging interviews with people who were involved.

In addition to the FBI’s probe, inspectors general at the State Department and for the nation’s intelligence agencies are also looking into Clinton’s email situation. The State Department’s decision to halt its internal review does not affect the probe by the department’s inspector general, which is a separate entity, Trudeau maintained.

The lingering federal investigations have continued to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign. While she has dismissed the bespoke email setup as a simple error in judgment, political critics have accused the former top diplomat of willfully skirting federal security and recordkeeping laws.

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