FBI quizzes Hillary Clinton ahead of July convention

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Photo: AP/PTI

File photo of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton
Photo: AP/PTI

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton was quizzed by the FBI in connection with the leaked email row. Clinton is accused of using a private email server as the Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s first term.

The interview is said to have lasted three and a half hours and was held at the FBI headquarters in Washington.

Clinton’s campaign described the questioning as “voluntary interview.”

“Secretary Clinton gave a voluntary interview this morning about her email arrangements while she was Secretary,” Nick Merrill, spokesman of Clinton Campaign said on Saturday.

“She is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion. Out of respect for the investigative process, she will not comment further on her interview,” Merrill added.

The FBI is investigating whether Clinton and her aides mishandled any classified information on a private email server she used while serving as Secretary of State during the first term of President Barack Obama. The personal email server was kept in her Chappaqua home in New York.

Clinton denies handling classified information in her private emails. She said she set up the email address for reasons of convenience.

However, a state department inquiry accused her and other former US Secretaries of State of poorly managing email security.

The Justice Department is now seeking to establish whether this constitutes as a criminal offence.

The timing of FBI questioning couldn’t have been worse for Clinton. The questioning comes just four weeks before the Democratic Party convention is expected to formally nominate Clinton as its candidate for the November 8 Presidential election.

Only last week several surveys revealed that Clinton’s popularity was rising vis-à-vis her Republican counterpart Donald Trump. The probe is sure to further overshadow her campaign.

Republican lawmakers have called for an independent investigation, saying they do not trust the Justice Department to handle the inquiry with impartiality.

Of late, Republicans, including Trump have intensified their criticism on the issue.

The FBI interview signals the probe agency’s protracted criminal investigation could be entering its final phase, with a long-awaited decision nearing.

(With inputs from agencies)