The FBI has expanded its probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails and launched an independent classification review, according to intelligence sources.
Agents are now looking at whether several statements violated a section of U.S. criminal code.
Fox News reported:
Agents are looking at U.S. Code 18, Section 1001, which pertains to "materially false" statements given either in writing, orally, or through a third party. Violations also include pressuring a third party to conspire in a cover-up. Each felony violation is subject to five years in prison. This phase represents an expansion of the FBI probe, which is also exploring potential violations of an Espionage Act provision relating to "gross negligence" in the handling of national defense information. … The section of the criminal code being explored is known as "statements or entries generally," and can be applied when an individual makes misleading or false statements causing federal agents to expend additional resources and time.
According to an ex-FBI agent, the section of code may apply if Clinton, aides, or her lawyer were not up front with FBI investigators on topics such as the emails, classification, or the destruction of non-government records.
"This is a broad, brush statute that punishes individuals who are not direct and fulsome in their answers," former FBI agent Timothy Gill stated. "It is a cover-all. The problem for a defendant is when their statements cause the bureau to expend more time, energy, resources to de-conflict their statements with the evidence."
Two government officials also said that the FBI has launched a classification review into Clinton’s emails independent of the review currently being conducted by the State Department.
The news comes just days after reports indicated that the FBI had increased its scrutiny of the private email system Clinton used while secretary of state, which led a former FBI official to surmise that the bureau had escalated its probe into a full-fledged investigation.
Currently, a majority of Americans–68 percent–believe that Clinton acted unethically or illegally when it came to her use of a personal email system, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll released Thursday.
Only 27 percent think she did nothing wrong.