Panel: FBI May Move on Hillary Clinton Email Issue With Interview or Indictment

January 29, 2016

The panel on MSNBC's Morning Joe was in general agreement Friday morning that the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server is further along and more serious than most people think, adding that the Democratic presidential frontrunner may be interviewed or indicted by federal authorities in the future.

Host Joe Scarborough reported he and the rest of the panel have been hearing from multiple sources that the Clinton email investigation is more advanced than what is advertised to the public.

"Most of us around this table are hearing from multiple sources ... that the Hillary Clinton investigation of the FBI is far more progressed," Scarborough said. "And we're hearing it from the top officials in the Obama administration for actually several months now, and we can't go to a meeting in Washington where we don't hear it."

Scarborough added that all of his sources are telling him the investigation "is far more advanced than we, the public, knows."

Bloomberg's Mark Halperin agreed and said there is a feeling amongst FBI agents and people in the White House that there could be movement on the investigation soon.

"There is a lot of chatter among FBI agents, many of whom have never been big fans of the Clintons, but a lot of FBI agents seem to be saying something's happening here," Halperin said. "From a legal point of view ... it's hard to see now how the Justice Department, the FBI doesn't want to interview Secretary Clinton. And that interview alone, short of an indictment, short of anything else, that would be a huge political development. It would undermine confidence in some Democrats in the notion of going forward with Secretary Clinton."

Halperin also said "some people in the White House" believe the investigation is serious and a big development could happen soon, which would, according to Halperin, be "cataclysmic" for Clinton's prospects in the Democratic primary if her main challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt) is still in contention.

Scarborough then turned to the timing of a potential interview with or indictment of Clinton, saying FBI Director James Comey could not act before the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9 without appearing to be making a political calculation with the investigation.

ABC's Cokie Roberts concurred but said she thinks if there were to be an indictment, it would have occurred sooner.

She added that such a development would be detrimental to Clinton's White House aspirations.

"If there's an indictment, it's over, she's out," Roberts said. "And then they [the Democratic Party] go find the, you know, break [the] glass of the emergency box, and I suppose what happens then is you see Joe Biden."

The FBI has been investigating Clinton's email use since at least August, looking to see if she mishandled classified information with her private email server while serving as secretary of state.

The bureau has not interviewed Clinton yet for the investigation but may do so and could recommend to the Justice Department that it file criminal charges against Clinton.

Some former U.S. attorneys believe the FBI will move forward on criminal charges in the coming months, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The investigation gained intensity last week when Fox News reported the Inspector General for the intelligence community identified "several dozen" emails on Clinton's private server that contained intelligence known as "special access programs (SAP)," information that is considered more sensitive than the "top secret" classification level.

Some foreign countries reportedly tried to hack into the private server, and some top former defense and intelligence officials believe U.S. adversaries may have accessed intelligence from Clinton's emails.

Clinton has said the only SAP intelligence on the server was a forwarded New York Times article about a drones program, and her campaign spokesman Brian Fallon has accused the Inspector General, who was appointed by President Obama, of working with Republican lawmakers to hurt Clinton's bid for the White House.