In a letter disclosed Monday in a federal court filing, the FBI confirms one of the world’s worst-kept secrets: It is looking into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.Why say this at all, since it was widely known to be true? Because in August in response to a judge’s direction, the State Department asked the FBI for information about what it was up to. Sorry, the FBI said at the time, we can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.
Now, in a letter dated February 2 and filed in court Monday, the FBI’s general counsel, James Baker, notes that in public statements and congressional testimony, the FBI “has acknowledged generally that it is working on matters related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server.”
Baker says the FBI has not, however, “publicly acknowledged the specific focus, scope or potential targets of any such proceedings.” He ends the one-paragraph letter by saying that the FBI cannot say more “without adversely affecting on-going law enforcement efforts.”
The letter was filed in one of the Freedom of Information Act cases brought against the State Department over access to documents from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state. This one was filed by Judicial Watch.
Meanwhile, over at the Justice Department, the pressure is mounting on attorney general Loretta Lynch to step aside for a special prosecutor:
Loretta Lynch is on the edge of the spotlight, about to be dragged to the center. If the FBI finds sufficient evidence to launch a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton or one of her top aides for mishandling classified information, Lynch’s Justice Department will have to decide whether to press ahead.Even if no evidence of wrongdoing is found, Clinton’s many critics are unlikely to take the word of an appointee of President Obama’s and will doubt that justice has been served. Already, top Republicans are calling for a special prosecutor to be brought in and evaluate the situation. No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn (Texas) took to the floor of the Senate last week to call for a special counsel to be appointed “because of the conflict of interest by asking Attorney General Lynch to investigate and perhaps even prosecute somebody in the Obama administration.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) agrees that Lynch ought to consider a special counsel, a representative said, to reassure the country that decisions are made “without regard to any political considerations.” The Justice Department, however, has so far declined the request.