A court filing made this week on behalf of the FBI says everything on Hillary Clinton’s personal server is either evidence or “potential evidence” that is part of their ongoing investigation. A filing Monday requests a summary judgment in an FOIA case brought by reporter Jason Leopold. Leopold is seeking emails from Clinton’s server along with emails discussing the case sent between the FBI and the State Department.
The court filing makes the case that the FBI has already made a reasonable search for documents which can be turned over without compromising their ongoing investigation. One of the issues is whether or not some of the emails might be judged unrelated to the ongoing case and thus could be segregated and released without harming the investigation. But in a declaration filed by David Hardy, FBI Section Chief of the Record/Information Dissemination Section, Hardy states that agents working on the case looked at the material and judged everything on the server is potential evidence:
As explained in my first declaration, two types of responsive records were identified here— materials retrieved from any server equipment and related devices obtained from former Secretary Clinton for the investigation…and the FBI correspondence with the Department of State regarding the investigation— both of which are functionally categorized as Evidentiary and Investigative Materials. FBI personnel have reviewed both types of responsive records. As a result of this review and discussions with personnel involved in the pending investigation who know and can attest to what harms disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause, including Special Agents, attorneys, and technical specialists, the FBI concluded that no information could be segregated and released to plaintiff in response to his request. More specifically:
As a result of the above-described review and discussions, the FBI concluded that the materials retrieved from any server equipment and related devices obtained from former Secretary Clinton for the investigation were, in their entireties, evidence, potential evidence or information that has not yet be assessed for evidentiary value. As such, disclosure of any portion of these materials could reasonably be expected to adversely affect the pending investigation.
The Hill’s Julian Hattem reports that the FBI would not comment on the filing or the status of the investigation:
The FBI refused to publicly confirm other details of its investigation, and in the Monday evening filing declined to outline what, if any, laws it believes may have been broken to prompt its investigation. It also would not say who the target of the investigation is or confirm reports that multiple senior Clinton aides had been interviewed as part of the probe.
Still, the claim that all material is being treated as current or potential evidence could bode poorly for Clinton, who this week clinched the role of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
One other interesting aspect of this filing. The FBI does confirm that they have been in contact with the State Department and that those communications contain “non-public information about the nature, focus, and scope of the FBI’s pending investigation.” In other words, some at the State Department already have insight into who the FBI is targeting. That could be significant because anyone following this long saga is aware the State Department has frequently echoed the Clinton campaign and seems determined to protect her, no matter how absurd it makes them look. That obvious sympathy might even lead to some off-the-record conversations. Bottom line: If State knows what the FBI is doing, it’s very possible Clinton’s camp does too.