Clinton met with the FBI Saturday as part of the investigation into her use of a private email server while leading the State Department, her campaign said.
“Secretary Clinton gave a voluntary interview this morning about her email arrangements while she was secretary,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in a statement. “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.”
An aide said the interview occurred at FBI headquarters in Washington Saturday morning and lasted approximately three and a half hours.
The news of FBI agents interviewing the former secretary of state could heighten anxiety among Democrats that their nominee might be indicted before November. It also serves as a reminder of Clinton’s negatives to voters already skeptical of her trustworthiness.
The meeting means the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business as secretary of state is coming to an end, and sources familiar with the investigation had previously told CNN the Justice Department’s aim was to wrap up the probe before the Republican and Democratic conventions later this month. Investigators had initially hoped to have the probe wrapped up well before now.
It’s an investigation that has cast a shadow over her campaign and also has put the Justice Department in the position of having a major say in how the 2016 vote turns out.
The interview comes at the end of a week that could have been another win for Clinton as Trump continues to struggle, but instead demonstrated her — and her husband’s — inability to avoid unforced errors and leave past controversies behind.
House Benghazi Committee Republicans on Tuesday released their report on the September 11, 2012, attack where four Americans died, which drew significant media attention but lacked significant new information that changed the dynamic of the race. The panel’s biggest discovery was finding the email address and server over a year ago.
Clinton has maintained that no emails marked as classified at the time were sent on the server, and that information in some emails was retroactively classified. And her campaign has actively portrayed the congressional investigation into Benghazi as a partisan exercise, highlighted by last October’s 11-hour hearing where Clinton testified.
But the FBI interview, along with news that Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch met at an Arizona airport Monday, shows Clinton can’t move past the email issue — a story that overshadowed the launch of her campaign in early 2015 and helped Bernie Sanders find running room still won’t go away.