Congressman: Top Clinton Aide Cheryl Mills Given Immunity in Email Probe

State Department Counselor Cheryl Mills, center, gestures during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010. She is joined by US SOUTHCOM Gen. Douglas Fraser, left, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Former Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Cheryl Mills was given immunity along with two other staff members for their cooperation with the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server, a congressman told the Associated Press.

The Associated Press reported:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (CHAY’-fits), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, tells the Associated Press that Mills gave federal investigators access to her laptop on the condition that findings couldn’t be used against her. Chaffetz says, ‘No wonder they couldn’t prosecute a case. They were handing out immunity deals like candy.’

The two others that received immunity in relation with the case were “John Bentel, then-director of the State Department’s Office of Information Resources Management, and Clinton aide Heather Samuelson,” according to the congressman cited by the AP.

This is in addition to two others who have already received immunity in connection with the FBI’s investigation into mishandling of classified information by then-Secretary of State Clinton as the Democratic nominee campaigns for president of the United States.

Bryan Pagliano, who set up the private email server Clinton used to send classified information, received immunity from the Justice Department for his cooperation. The Washington Post reported in March that a senior 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.”

Pagliano had worked to keep that immunity deal secret in early June, according to Politico. Just two weeks later Pagliano invoked his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination more than 125 times during a court-ordered deposition for a lawsuit regarding the case.

Then in September Pagliano refused to testify before a House committee seeking to question him regarding the Clinton case, not even showing up for the hearing. A letter from Pagliano’s lawyers to Chaffetz indicated that Pagliano would continue to invoke the 5th amendment, according to ABC News. Chaffetz warned there would be consequences for not showing up. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Chaffetz chairs, started proceedings on Thursday to hold Pagliano in contempt, according to the Washington Post.

A computer specialist who deleted Clinton’s emails despite a congressional order to preserve them, Paul Combetta, was also given immunity by the Justice Department, according to the New York Times.

NBC News producer Alex Moe posted Chaffetz’s full statement on Mills’ immunity deal:

This is beyond explanation. The FBI was handing out immunity agreements like candy. I’ve lost confidence in this investigation and I question the genuine effort in which it was carried out. Immunity deals should not be a requirement for cooperating with the FBI.

The FBI investigation ended with no charges filed against Clinton and while FBI Director James Comey recommended to the Justice Department that no charges be filed, he has acknowledged that “Our investigation found … 110 [emails with then-classified information] that she either received or sent.” Clinton both sent and received emails containing top secret information over the unsecured server according to Comey.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 


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