Of all the Friday-night news dumps, this one may be the Friday-nightiest we may see for a while. ABC News reports that the FBI now wants to wrap up its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal before the conventions begin — and will depose the former Secretary of State soon. Real soon:
Hillary Clinton could be interviewed by the FBI in the coming days as part of an investigation into the former secretary of state and her staff’s use of private email to conduct official U.S. State Department business, according to a source familiar with the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation.
The Justice Department’s goal is to complete the investigation and make recommendations on whether charges should be filed before the two major party conventions take place toward the latter half of July, the source said.
Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller actually got this first, earlier in the afternoon, and reported that the interview will take place tomorrow:
Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to meet Saturday with the FBI, a source close to the investigation into her private email server tells The Daily Caller.
The source went on to suggest the interview may take place at her Washington, D.C. home. …
Scheduling the meeting on a holiday weekend will likely help with logistical issues for both the FBI and the Clinton campaign.
Clinton has no campaign events listed on her schedule which means that she will not be tailed by the usual pack of campaign reporters. The FBI has sought to avoid drawing attention to its probe by bringing in witnesses in secret. That strategy has been successful, as reports of the meetings have only come out after they were held.
The Republican convention begins in 17 days, but that’s not the convention this probe will impact. Democrats will meet in Philadelphia on July 25th, giving the FBI just a little over three weeks to make a decision. Meeting with the target of a probe is usually the final step before deciding on a criminal referral, and the fact that they waited so long for this step at least suggests that investigators saw a real need to stick to best practices.
It’s ABC that reports that the motivation to move now comes from a desire to wrap up the probe before the conventions. That detail is also curious. If the FBI doesn’t think a criminal referral involving Hillary will be forthcoming, then the timing really doesn’t matter; Democrats could hold their convention as planned without any changes. If the FBI thinks that there is a good chance of a criminal referral, however, then the timing becomes extremely important, to Democrats and to the nation as a whole. The convention is the last opportunity Democrats have to replace Hillary as the nominee in an organized and orderly manner.
With that in mind, what are the chances that Hillary decides to stay lawyered up and say nothing tomorrow, or whenever the interview takes place? I’d guess that the convention deadline becomes even more important — but under the circumstances, why would Hillary’s attorneys allow the FBI to depose her at all?