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.
It’s almost over for Mrs. Clinton. The question for the Democrats is: what do they do now? Notes Salon:
It would be hard to overstate what Bernie Sanders has already achieved in his campaign for president, or the obstacles he’s had to surmount in order to achieve it. Not only has he turned a planned Hillary Clinton coronation into an exercise in grass-roots democracy, he’s reset the terms of the debate. We are edging closer to the national conversation we so desperately need to have. If we get there, all credit goes to Bernie.
A prominent Democratic donor worried about the party’s chances of winning the presidency emailed dozens of fans of Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, urging them to remain prepared to donate if Biden jumps into the race.
The donor, Bill Bartmann, cited new polling showing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont nearly tied with the Hillary Clinton, eroding the 30-point lead the former secretary of state held at the end of last year. Bartmann and other party insiders are concerned that Sanders, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, is too far to the left to win against a Republican in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
“We cannot afford to lose the White House,” Bartmann wrote in the email, seen by Reuters. The email drew a string of affirmative responses, also seen by Reuters.
Biden announced in October that he would not seek the presidency, despite support from a group of backers under the name “Draft Biden 2016.” But whispers have continued among some donors who hope that Biden could be convinced to run after all should Clinton’s campaign prove fruitless.
Or, to put it in terms the Clintons can understand: criminal.