Fox News reports word from sources within the intelligence community that the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server is expanding again, and will now include the investigation of “materially false” statements, under a statute that also covers pressuring third parties to participate in cover-ups.
These are felony offenses, which can carry up to five-year prison sentences.
“The agents involved are under a lot of pressure and are busting a**,” the anonymous source colorfully described the work of FBI investigators to Fox News.
It should be noted that such an investigation might not target Clinton herself, but could be directed at others in her orbit who have delivered materially false oral or written statements, or pressured third parties into doing so.
The section of the criminal code being explored is known as ‘statements or entries generally,’ and can be applied when an individual makes misleading or false statements causing federal agents to expend additional resources and time. In this case, legal experts as well as a former FBI agent said, Section 1001 could apply if Clinton, her aides or attorney were not forthcoming with FBI agents about her emails, classification and whether only non-government records were destroyed.
Such false statements do not necessarily have to be delivered under oath.
For those with a taste for irony, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano pointed out this is the same statute that got Martha Stewart in trouble with the FBI.
Former FBI agent Timothy Gill described it as a “broad brush statute that punishes individuals who are not direct and fulsome in their answers,” and whose duplicity causes the FBI to waste time and resources.
Another interesting note from Fox’s sources is that the FBI is beginning its own classification review of Clinton’s emails, while the State Department is still mired in a long internal argument over whether Clinton violated protocols by exposing classified material on her insecure server. A false report at the Politico website last week incorrectly stated that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was overriding the intelligence community’s classification of material contained in two Clinton emails as “Top Secret.”
The FBI’s review is said to involve going directly to the agencies that originated each item of sensitive information and asking if they consider the material classified, which is their prerogative under federal regulations. Why was anyone ever wasting time doing anything else?
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge suggests one possible answer to that question: State Department whistleblowers think political operatives at the agency have been changing classification markings to conceal certain documents from Congress and the public, in an “effort to hide the true extent of classified information on the former secretary of state’s server.”
It was only last Tuesday that word was leaked to Politico that the FBI probe had expanded into what sounded to former Assistant FBI Director Tom Fuentes like “more than a preliminary inquiry; it sounds like a full-blown investigation.”
If the Bureau is talking about indicting people for false statements this quickly after moving from preliminary inquiries into a full-blown investigation, it probably isn’t good news for ClintonWorld.