Two extremely significant stories broke today in The Washington Post and The New York Times regarding the FBI's investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. The deep-fat fryer is just heating up. Both stories are excerpted below, but here are the key new pieces of information:
• Bryan Pagliano, the IT employee who set up Clinton’s server and pled the 5th to avoid cooperating with investigators was granted immunity for cooperating.
• What the Clinton campaign has called a “security review,” but according to both reports, the FBI investigation has become criminal in nature. One official told The Post “There was wrongdoing.”
• According to The Times, “F.B.I. agents have sought to compare electronic timestamps on classified sources to figure out whether the aides reviewed the sources and then retyped the information into emails that were sent or forwarded to Mrs. Clinton’s private server.”
• The latter report said Clinton and her aides could be interviewed by the FBI "within weeks"
In Clinton Email Investigation, Justice Department Grants Immunity To Former State Department StafferWashington Post, Adam Goldman, March 2, 2016
A senior U.S. law enforcement official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.
As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents will likely want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said... Spokesmen at the FBI and Justice Department would not discuss the investigation. Pagliano’s lawyer also declined to comment...
The New York Times, Steven Lee Myers and Matt Apuzzo, March 2, 2016
WASHINGTON — As Hillary Clinton moves toward the Democratic presidential nomination, she faces legal hurdles from her use of a private computer server as secretary of state that could jar her campaign’s momentum in the months ahead.
Foremost among a half-dozen inquiries and legal proceedings into whether classified information was sent through Mrs. Clinton’s server is an investigation by the F.B.I., whose agents, according to one law enforcement official, could seek to question Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides and possibly the candidate herself within weeks.
It is commonplace for the F.B.I. to try to interview key figures before closing an investigation, and doing so is not an indication the bureau thinks a person broke the law. Although defense lawyers often discourage their clients from giving such interviews, Democrats fear the refusal of Mrs. Clinton or her top aides to cooperate would be ready ammunition for Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner...
...Federal law makes it a crime to mishandle classified information outside secure government channels when someone does so “knowingly” or — more seriously — permits it through “gross negligence.” Mrs. Clinton has correctly pointed out that none of the emails on her server were marked as classified at the time.
The bureau’s investigators have already interviewed Bryan Pagliano, a former aide who installed the server Mrs. Clinton had in her home in New York and used exclusively for her private and official email while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013... ...In addition to the F.B.I. investigation, there are continuing inquiries into Mrs. Clinton’s emails by the inspector general of the State Department, the inspector general of the intelligence agencies, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
Aides to Mrs. Clinton and officials from the State Department also face the prospect of questioning under oath in a separate legal proceeding brought by Judicial Watch, the conservative government watchdog group, under the Freedom of Information Act. In that case, the group has sought emails related to the special employment status given to Mrs. Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin so she could receive additional salaries beyond the one she received from State.
Last week Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of United States District Court in Washington allowed the questioning after a hearing in which he criticized the State Department’s “constant drip” of revelations about emails from the server and said there were many unanswered questions about who authorized its use.
“It just boggles the mind that the State Department allowed this circumstance to arise in the first place,” said Judge Sullivan, who was appointed to the District Court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and to lower courts by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. “It’s just very, very, very troubling.”
He ordered lawyers for Judicial Watch to submit a “narrowly tailored” plan for questioning that could begin in April as primaries continue to be held in states like New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The organization, according to its court filings so far, is expected to seek depositions from Ms. Abedin and Mr. Pagliano; Mrs. Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl D. Mills; and department officials like Patrick F. Kennedy, the undersecretary of state for management.
Hat tip: BadBlue Real-Time News.