Grassley Wants “Clarity” From FBI on Hillary Clinton’s Recovered Emails

The Senate Judiciary chairman said new revelations bolster the case for an “independent authority” to search records.

Sen. Chuck Grassley
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Ben Geman
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Ben Geman
Sept. 23, 2015, 8 p.m.

Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Chuck Grass­ley said re­ports that the FBI has re­covered emails de­leted from Hil­lary Clin­ton’s per­son­al serv­er re­in­force the need for a third-party search for mes­sages.

“The FBI should … provide clar­ity on how it will handle the emails now that they have been re­covered from the serv­er. Al­low­ing an in­de­pend­ent au­thor­ity to search for re­cords that were re­ques­ted by Con­gress, the In­spect­or Gen­er­al, the press, and the pub­lic years ago, and then provid­ing the re­cords to the ap­pro­pri­ate re­questers, would be a wel­come move in trans­par­ency,” Grass­ley said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day.

Grass­ley’s com­ments fol­low a widely cir­cu­lated Bloomberg re­port that the FBI, which is prob­ing the se­cur­ity of the un­usu­al email setup, has “re­covered per­son­al and work-re­lated e-mails from the private com­puter serv­er used by Hil­lary Clin­ton dur­ing her time as sec­ret­ary of state.” The New York Times, cit­ing un­named gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, also re­por­ted on the re­cov­ery of de­leted mes­sages.

Grass­ley is frus­trated with a let­ter he re­ceived from the Justice De­part­ment Tues­day that de­clines to con­firm its in­vest­ig­a­tion of Clin­ton’s email serv­er, which was promp­ted by con­cerns about the pres­ence of clas­si­fied in­form­a­tion. Justice sim­il­arly would not re­spond to sev­er­al ques­tions from Grass­ley and Sen­ate Home­land Se­cur­ity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Ron John­son about Bry­an Pagliano, the former Clin­ton aide who helped set up her serv­er. Grass­ley and John­son have been ex­plor­ing the pos­sib­il­ity of provid­ing im­munity for Pagliano in or­der to seek in­form­a­tion from him.

“The Justice De­part­ment is giv­ing us less in­form­a­tion than nor­mal when they should be giv­ing us more, so that we can make an in­formed de­cision about wheth­er to seek an im­munity or­der. You know it is get­ting a little ab­surd when someone at the Justice De­part­ment is ap­par­ently leak­ing de­tails to the press about an in­vest­ig­a­tion that the de­part­ment of­fi­cially re­fuses to ad­mit to Con­gress that it is con­duct­ing,” Grass­ley said.

It is at least the second time this week that Grass­ley has signaled frus­tra­tion with the Justice De­part­ment’s re­fus­al to share in­form­a­tion about its probe. He told Politico that the FBI is “be­hav­ing like it’s above the law” after it re­buffed a judge’s re­quest for in­form­a­tion.

Clin­ton has said she de­leted roughly 30,000 emails that her team de­cided were per­son­al in nature. She turned over roughly the same num­ber of work-re­lated emails late last year to the State De­part­ment, which it has been pub­licly re­leas­ing—some with heavy re­dac­tions—in monthly batches un­der a court or­der.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment for this story.

Grass­ley, who has stepped up his probe of Clin­ton’s email ar­range­ment, also said he plans to deep­en his in­quiry fol­low­ing the re­ports of the re­cov­ery of de­leted mes­sages.

“In light of the de­tails re­por­ted in the me­dia, the com­mit­tee will be seek­ing more in­form­a­tion about the State De­part­ment’s at­tempts to re­gain pos­ses­sion of the email re­cords that should have re­mained at the State De­part­ment in the first place,” he said.

Grass­ley is not the only Re­pub­lic­an to call for some kind of third-party re­view of Clin­ton’s mes­sages. Rep. Trey Gowdy, chair­man of House Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Benghazi, has sim­il­arly called for such a step in the past.

However, Gowdy said through an aide that he’s not seek­ing in­form­a­tion from the FBI. “Chair­man Gowdy has not asked the FBI about its in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to Sec­ret­ary Clin­ton’s un­usu­al and un­pre­ced­en­ted email ar­range­ment nor has the Bur­eau offered a brief­ing to the com­mit­tee,” spokes­man Jamal Ware said in re­sponse to a ques­tion about the pub­lished re­ports on the FBI’s re­cov­ery of emails.

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