State Department officials are looking to prosecute after spending the last 3.5 years going through more than 3 million emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The emails, much of which contained classified information, were sent out to hundreds of current and former State Department’s diplomatic members, including as many as 130 officials which have been questioned by Trump administration State Department investigators.
The Washington Examiner reports “those targeted were contacted by the department about emails they sent years ago that have been retroactively classified and could now count as possible security violations.”
The investigation has been far from linear as it initially appeared to be dying down when they mostly suspended their operations. Then, in August, the officials who finished reading through the emails began to seek out those individuals who may have violated State Department protocol.
According to the report, some officials facing scrutiny are questioning whether the Trump officials leading the investigation are acting in a partisan manner and are wielding their investigative and prosecutorial abilities to penalize political opponents.
“This has nothing to do with who is in the White House,” an official said per the report. “This is about the time it took to go through millions of emails, which is about 3 and a half years.”
Another official reportedly added, “The process is set up in a manner to completely avoid any appearance of political bias.”
Here’s more from the Washington Examiner:
The State Department review began after the FBI investigated Clinton’s use of an unauthorized server, hosted in the basement of her home in Chappaqua, New York, during her time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Former FBI Director James Comey publicly recommended in 2016 that no charges be brought against Clinton or anyone else involved with her private email network, but he admonished Clinton and her team for being “extremely careless” in handling classified information.
This was during the 2016 election when Clinton was the Democratic presidential nominee, and she has often cited the FBI’s handling of the emails investigation as one of the reasons why she believes she lost the contest to President Trump.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
One of the main controversies stemming from Clinton’s emails was how Paul Combetta, the tech aide who administered the server, deleted 33,000 emails despite a congressional order to preserve them. The FBI says it was only able to recover about 5,000 of the emails scrubbed by Combetta, and they were released in tranches up until earlier this year as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch. Clinton has said she “never received nor sent any material that was marked classified,” but the FBI found 110 emails did contain classified information.
As recently as last week, Trump called the deletion of the emails “one of the great crimes committed” by Clinton.