The incomplete records of the Hillary Clinton email investigation released by the FBI raise questions about the conduct not only of Clinton but of her top aides and the staffers working under their direction. Perhaps the most serious is whether the Clinton team destroyed evidence which they were under legal order to save and produce to congressional investigators.
Out of a massive investigation, the FBI has released just two documents: a heavily-redacted version of its summary report and a writeup — the so-called 302 — from agents' July 2 interview with Clinton. The rest, including reports from interviews with other players, remains secret, although the FBI has shared it with Congress, with redactions and under tight viewing restrictions.
Shortly after the two documents were released on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, sent out a statement suggesting he does not believe the documents tell the full story, and that if the full story were told it might suggest wrongdoing on the part of the Clinton team.
"The FBI selectively releasing Secretary Clinton's interview summary is of little benefit to the public unless and until all relevant documents and witness interview summaries are released," Gowdy said. "The public is entitled to all relative information, including the testimony of the witnesses at Platte River Networks, the entity which maintained the private server. The public will find the timeline and witness responses and failures to respond instructive."
What did Gowdy mean? What are the still-unreleased documents? And what does "instructive" mean? Here is what we know, from what the FBI has released, plus earlier reports about the investigation into the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi:
Nine days after the attack, on Sept. 20, 2012, the House Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations, which is part of the larger Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a document request to Clinton, who was still Secretary of State. It was a broad request, intended to cover anything written or recorded in any way that might have something to do with Benghazi. It without question covered emails. The State Department produced some material in response, but never any emails from Clinton.
Several months later, on Aug. 1, 2013, the Oversight Committee issued a subpoena covering the documents asked for, but not received, after the Sept. 20, 2012 request.
In May, 2014, the House Select Committee on Benghazi was formed. On July 23, 2014, the State Department agreed to produce records to the committee. The FBI report picks up the story from there:
[The State Department] sent a formal request to former Secretaries of State on October 28, 2014, asking them to produce e-mails related to their government work. After State requested that Clinton provide her e-mails, Clinton asked her attorneys, David Kendall and [Cheryl] Mills, to oversee the process of providing Clinton's work-related emails to State. Heather Samuelson, an attorney working with Mills, undertook a review to identify work-related e-mails, while Kendall and Mills oversaw the process. Ultimately, on December 5, 2014, Williams & Connolly [Kendall's firm] provided approximately 55,000 pages of e-mails to State in response to State's request for Clinton to produce all e-mail in her possession that constituted a federal record from her tenure as Secretary of State. State ultimately reviewed the 55,000 pages of e-mail to meet its production obligations related to [Freedom of Information Act] lawsuits and requests….Clinton told the FBI she directed her legal team to provide any work-related or arguably work-related emails to State; however she did not participate in the development of the specific process to be used or in discussions of the locations of where her e-mails might exist. Clinton was not consulted on specific e-mails in order to determine if they were work-related.