FBI grills Hillary Clinton aides over e-mail probe

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking during a visit to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016.
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking during a visit to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Close aides to Mrs Hillary Clinton, including long-time confidante Huma Abedin, have been interviewed by the FBI as part of its investigation into the ex-secretary of state's use of a private e-mail server, CNN reported on Thursday.

The interviews, confirmed to the network by US officials briefed on the probe, mark a step forward in the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe, which the officials described as nearing its end.

Mrs Clinton's use of a private server for both official and private correspondence first came to light last year during Republican-led congressional investigations into her handling of a militant attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya. The FBI has since launched a criminal investigation amid Republican charges that use of the unsecured system endangered national security.

The probe has focused on the security of the Clinton server and whether classified information was exchanged. The officials said no date had yet been set for an FBI interview of Mrs Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, but that one was expected in the coming weeks, CNN reported.

Ms Abedin has cooperated with investigators, who have not found evidence that proves Mrs Clinton wilfully violated the law, it added.

The probe has focused on the security of the Clinton server and whether classified information was exchanged. The officials said no date had yet been set for an FBI interview of Mrs Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, but that one was expected in the coming weeks, CNN reported.

Mr Bryan Pagliano, the former State Department staffer who reportedly helped set up Mrs Clinton's server and has been granted immunity in the investigation, was also expected to be interviewed.

Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon said the former secretary of state had offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its investigation. "We are confident the review will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place," he said.

Spokesmen for the FBI and Justice Department, as well as lawyers for Ms Abedin and Mrs Clinton, declined to comment.

On Wednesday, federal judge Emmet Sullivan said Mrs Clinton may be required to testify about her private e-mail system as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'FBI grills Clinton aides in e-mail probe'. Print Edition | Subscribe