Gingrich played previously undisclosed role in probing Clinton server

Gingrich played previously undisclosed role in probing Clinton server
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Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) played a previously undisclosed role in encouraging a conservative watchdog organization to investigate if Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: Facebook civil rights audit finds 'serious setbacks' | Facebook takes down Roger Stone-affiliated accounts, pages | State and local officials beg Congress for more elections funds OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 | Park Police did not record radio transmissions during June 1 sweep of White House protesters | Court upholds protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears GOP Miami mayor does not commit to voting for Trump MORE’s private email system had ever been hacked.

According to notes from the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s email system, Gingrich served as a middleman to help an unidentified Senate staffer connect with the watchdog group Judicial Watch to test Clinton’s setup.  

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The staffer from the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was acting on her own, was concerned about the potential for classified information to be stolen from Clinton’s server, which she used during her time as secretary of State, and how that might affect her three sons, who are U.S. Marines, the FBI said in its notes.

In September 2015, she met with Gingrich, a prominent supporter of GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE, to discuss the project.

Gingrich, the staffer and an unidentified third person “were all bothered by the potential that data from Clinton’s server had been compromised,” the FBI wrote in a summary of an interview released Monday morning.

That December, Gingrich referred the people to Judicial Watch, which eventually paid $32,000 to look for signs that Clinton’s server was hacked. The review was limited to information already out in the open.

The probe combed areas of the internet inaccessible to most users in order to search for traces of material from Clinton or longtime loyalist Sidney Blumenthal. Roughly 200 of Blumenthal’s files were discovered on a server in Romania, but none of his emails. 

During the course of the private investigation, an investigator worried that he had stumbled on a classified document about extremists in Libya and promptly stopped the probe, according to the FBI report.

Judicial Watch said that the initial evidence was turned over to the FBI, and maintained that its investigation is “ongoing.”

“Judicial Watch sought to uncover any evidence from open sources on the Internet as to whether Hillary Clinton’s government emails had been hacked and were publically available,” Tom Fitton, the organization’s president, said in a statement.

“We are disconcerted by what we have found thus far from publically accessible sources about the possible hacking of Hillary Clinton’s illicit server,” he added. “It is unfortunate that Judicial Watch – not Congress or federal law enforcement – undertook this basic investigative step.” 

- Last updated with additional information at 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 18