The FBI has granted immunity to five persons who have worked for Hillary Clinton and/or the Department of State as part of its probe into Clinton’s use of a private email system while she served as Secretary of State.
Cheryl Mills granted immunity
The most prominent name on the list is Cheryl Mills who was Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department and now serves as her personal attorney. Ms. Mills time with Hillary Clinton dates back to when Bill Clinton was President.
Top Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills received an immunity deal from the Justice Department in the FBI’s investigation into the former secretary of state’s private email server, records shown to Congress revealed Friday, re-injecting the email controversy into the presidential campaign just days before her first debate with Donald Trump. — Politico
Five have been granted immunity
It was revealed last week that former Clinton aides Heather Samuelson and John Bentel were also granted partial immunity in the probe. It had been earlier announced that Bryan Pagliano, who managed Clinton’s private email server had been given immunity after he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. Paul Combetta, a computer technician, was the first person granted immunity last December ahead of his interview with the FBI.
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. — House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah)
FBI says immunity grants were narrow
The FBI noted that the immunity grants to Ms. Mills and Ms. Samuelson were narrow and covered only their laptops. FBI Director James Comey appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to answer questions from the panel regarding the immunity offers. Comey had earlier defended the FBI’s actions in the Clinton investigation that resulted in a decision not to criminally prosecute Mrs. Clinton.
You can call us wrong, but don't call us weasels. We are not weasels. We are honest people, and we did this in that way. Whether you disagree or agree with the result, this was done the way you would want it to be done. — FBI Director James Comey
Clinton campaign calls offers “fairly routine”
Clinton campaign staffer Joel Benenson said that such immunity deals are “fairly routine” and stressed the point the Ms. Mills has only been granted “limited immunity.”
Not surprisingly the Trump campaign reacted differently to the news of the additional immunity offers.
Revelations that three additional individuals, including Cheryl Mills, were granted immunity from prosecution in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal shows this was without a doubt a criminal scheme. — Jason Miller, Trump campaign
The immunity offers were made by the Department of Justice at the request of the FBI. Director Comey testified that immunity was offered to Ms. Mills to gain access to her laptop computer. Comey noted that seeking a subpoena for a lawyer’s laptop would involve lengthy litigation and the FBI wanted the laptop quickly to facilitate their investigation.
Bad timing for Clinton
While granting immunity in and by itself does not provide evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, the timing is unwelcome news for the Clinton campaign. The revelation of additional offers of immunity promises to keep the controversy surrounding her use of a private email system alive for the balance of the campaign.