As the FBI prepares to release some of the documents from its investigation in a matter of days Hillary Clinton is facing the possibility of new revelations on her personal email scandal on multiple fronts, and a watchdog group sends the Democratic presidential nominee a detailed set of questions she’s expected to answer “under oath” by next month.
The FBI files are being released in response to a number of Freedom of Information Act requests.
Law enforcement sources told Fox News that FBI and Justice Department officials are still in the process of determining what exactly will be released to the public as part of this response.
Fox News is told the release could come as early as this week.
The FBI’s report on the probe, which ultimately recommended no charges be filed, was first sent to the Justice Department in July. The DOJ dropped the case in response, though FBI Director James Comey concluded Clinton nevertheless had been “extremely careless” in her handling of sensitive information. The FBI interviewed Clinton for several hours at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., before announcing the decision to close the investigation.
So far, the FBI has only provided portions of these investigative documents to Congress.
The decision to make public some of them comes as Republican lawmakers have pressured the FBI to loosen restrictions on the files. It’s still unknown what details will be revealed, though one lawmaker who has viewed the files – Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. – recently said they show Clinton’s team went to great lengths to delete her emails.
And Tuesday, Judicial Watch announced that it has submitted 25 questions to Clinton about her email set-up and practices, on the heels of U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan allowing the conservative group to do so.
Clinton is under court order to answer the questions, under oath, within 30 days – putting the deadline at Sept. 29, well before the election.
The Judicial Watch questions span everything from why Clinton created a private email system to whom she consulted to whether she had any discussions about the possibility the practice violated recordkeeping laws.
The line of questioning focuses in large part on the recordkeeping law aspect, asking how Clinton preserved her emails and whether FOIA and other requests for her messages were granted or denied.
Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, also asks about any hacking attempts and why Clinton continued to use her clintonemail.com in the face of such risks.
One of the questions also asks: “After your lawyers completed their review of the emails in your clintonemail.com email account in late 2014, were the electronic versions of your emails preserved, deleted, or destroyed? If they were deleted or destroyed, what tool or software was used to delete or destroy them, who deleted or destroyed them, and was the deletion or destruction done at your direction?”
This comes after Gowdy told Fox News last week that Clinton’s team used a program known as BleachBit to delete her private emails and try to prevent their recovery.
“They didn’t just push the delete button. They had them deleted where even God can’t read them,” Gowdy said.
The State Department has said the FBI provided it with about 14,900 emails purported not to have been among those previously released.
Notably, the department says about 30 emails that may be related to the 2012 attack on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya, are among the thousands of emails recovered.
Government lawyers told U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta Tuesday that an undetermined number of the emails among the 30 were not included in the 55,000 pages previously provided by Clinton. The State Department’s lawyer said it would need until the end of September to review the emails and redact potentially classified information before they are released.
Mehta questioned why it would take so long to release so few documents, and urged that the process be sped up. He ordered the department to report to him in a week with more details about why the review process would take a full month.
The hearing was held in one of several lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch.