Tags: Hillary Clinton | cheryl mills | hillary clinton | aide | immunity

GOP Slams Clinton Aides Getting Immunity in Email Probe

Image: GOP Slams Clinton Aides Getting Immunity in Email Probe

Cheryl Mills (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

By    |   Friday, 23 Sep 2016 04:10 PM

Republicans responded bitterly Friday to disclosures that Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and two others received immunity from the FBI in its probe of the former secretary of state's private email use — with the Trump campaign saying the deals proved "this was without a doubt a criminal scheme."

"At its heart, Clinton's secret server was an end-run around government transparency laws designed to hide corruption between the Clinton Foundation and her State Department, an arrangement which ultimately put our national security and sensitive diplomatic efforts at risk," said Trump spokesman Jason Miller.

"No one with judgment this bad should be allowed to serve as president of the United States or hold any public office.

"What has become abundantly clear is that the Obama administration is protecting Hillary Clinton from accountability at all costs because she will keep the rigged system in Washington in place," Miller added.

"In light of this development, Hillary Clinton must immediately come forward and promise the American people that none of these individuals will ever serve in any capacity in her administration."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, the GOP chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told The Associated Press on Friday that Mills gave federal investigators access to her laptop on the condition that what they found could not be used against her.

Copies of the immunity agreements were provided to the Oversight Committee by the Justice Department this week under seal.

The disclosures come within days of Clinton's first debate with Republican Donald Trump on Monday.

Chaffetz said that he was "absolutely stunned" that the FBI would reach a deal with someone as close to the investigation as Mills.

By including the emails recovered from the laptops in the immunity agreements, the Justice Department exempted key physical evidence from any potential criminal case against the aides, he said.

"No wonder they couldn't prosecute a case," Chaffetz told the AP. "They were handing out immunity deals like candy.

"This is beyond explanation," he later said in a statement to Politico. "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."

In July, FBI Director James Comey said that its investigation found that Clinton was "extremely careless" with her private email use but that he was not recommending criminal charges.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted Comey's recommendation the following week, closing the yearlong investigation into the case.

Mills, a longtime Clinton confidante, appeared last year before the special House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two former Navy SEALs.

Others granted immunity were John Bentel, then-director of the State Department's Office of Information Resources Management, and Heather Samuelson, Clinton's executive assistant, Chaffetz said.

The congressman's disclosure brings the total number of people who were granted immunity as part of the FBI's investigation to at least five.

Bryan Pagliano, a tech expert who set up Clinton's email server at her home in New York, and Paul Combetta, a computer specialist for a private firm that later maintained Clinton's email setup, had also been granted immunity by the FBI in the probe.

Pagliano and Combetta have refused to testify before Congress by invoking their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Chaffetz's committee voted on Thursday to hold Pagliano in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with its subpoena.

Democrats on the Oversight Committee said Friday the immunity agreements were limited in scope and did not cover statements made to investigators or to potential testimony before Congress.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the latest deals "shocking."

"We now know it wasn't mere IT staffers that were given a pass, but individuals at the highest levels of this dangerous scheme that jeopardized national security.

"Not only was Cheryl Mills granted immunity, but she was allowed to advise Hillary Clinton during her own questioning by the FBI," Priebus said.

"Given that federal record-keeping policies were clearly violated, thousands of classified emails were exposed, and no one has been held accountable, this latest revelation raises very serious questions about the course of the FBI's investigation."

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Republicans responded bitterly Friday to disclosures that Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills and two others received immunity from the FBI in its probe of the former secretary of state's private email use - with the Trump campaign saying the deals proved this was without a...
cheryl mills, hillary clinton, aide, immunity
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2016-10-23
Friday, 23 Sep 2016 04:10 PM
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