FBI Releases Notes From Interview With Hillary Clinton Over Emails

The FBI on Friday released notes from its interview with Hillary Clinton and the investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

The notes which total 58 pages, including 14 that are redacted in full, provide more insight into the email scandal that has left a shadow over her campaign.

Documents reveal that Clinton, who as secretary of State bypassed her State Department email and installed a private email server at her home in Chappaqua, New York, was not aware of the challenges, questions and problems that could result from a high level U.S. official sidestepping security and archival guidelines.

But they also show Clinton’s lack of understanding of standards that govern government officials, especially those with top security clearances. For instance, she was unaware of what a “c,” short for confidential, meant next to some paragraphs in notes and memos.

The Clinton campaign said they are “pleased” the FBI has released the documents.

“While her use of a single email account was clearly a mistake and she has taken responsibility for it, these materials make clear why the Justice Department believed there was no basis to move forward with this case,” Clinton spokesperson, Brian Fallon, said in a statement.

Clinton’s interview with the FBI, which took place July 2, was the culmination of a year-long investigation into Clinton’s email practices. The head of the FBI, James Comey, recommended that no charges be filed because, in part, there was no “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.”

The controversy over Clinton’s private email server — and the deletion of about half of her emails because her attorneys deemed them personal in nature — has dogged Clinton throughout her presidential run. It has led to ongoing questions about her trustworthiness and an appearance of entitlement that has contributed to the lowest favorability ratings of any recent presidential candidate — other than her opponent, Donald Trump.

Email Archive Deleted

The FBI notes show that the deletion of emails began after the New York Times first reported Clinton’s use of a private email server, which could be a violation of public records’ laws.

Someone the FBI interviewed, but who was redacted in the released documents, said he had an “oh sh–” moment around March 25, 2015 when he deleted Clinton’s archive mailbox after realizing that he forgot to implement an “email retention policy changes” that had been requested in December 2014, several months prior, by Clinton’s top aide, Cheryl Mills.

The New York Times released their story March 2, three weeks before this individual began deleting the archive.

Security Breach

The FBI found no evidence confirming that Clinton’s email accounts or mobile devices were compromised, but efforts to penetrate her email did occur.

The FBI notes indicate that they found phishing emails sent to Clinton’s private account on multiple occurrences. At one point, she opened an email that “contained a potentially malicious link” and she replied to the email asking if “is this really from you? I was worried about opening it!”

In the notes, the administrator of the server, Brian Pagliano, told the FBI that while no security breaches occurred, “he was aware there were many failed login attempts, which he referred to as brute force attacks.”