The State Department is reportedly probing whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her former aides mishandled classified information by using a private email server. The formal inquiry could potentially result in Clinton losing her security clearance.
On June 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, confirmed to Fox News that the State Department had opened a formal inquiry into Clinton and her associates to determine whether they had violated protocol by using a private email server. It has not been disclosed when the department opened its probe.
Clinton's use of a private email instead of a government server during her time at the State Department became a highly publicized scandal that dogged her throughout the 2016 presidential race.
In May 2016, a report conducted by the State Department's inspector general concluded that Clinton had violated department protocols, Vice News reports.
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"At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department's policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act," the inspector general's report stated.
In July 2016, former FBI director James Comey announced that his bureau would not be recommending charges against Clinton.
"Although there is evidence of potential violations regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," Comey said.
While Comey cleared Clinton of any legal wrongdoing, he scolded the former secretary of state and her aides for being "extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."
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Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill dismissed the report that the State Department was conducting its own probe of Clinton's conduct.
"Nothing's been more thoroughly dissected," Merrill said of the public interest in Clinton's private server. "It's over. Case closed. Literally."
Meanwhile, Chris Farrell of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch called for the purported State Department investigation to result in Clinton and her aides losing their security clearances.
"Their conduct has cost them that privileged position of special trust and confidence," Farrell said.
National security attorney Bradley Moss noted that former senior officials like Clinton retain their security clearances after leaving their post so that they can be consulted on sensitive matters. Senior officials very rarely have those clearances revoked.
"It would be unusual for this to happen for a senior official ... but Clinton's behavior was unusual as well," Moss told Law Newz.