Speed Reads

Clinton Emails

FBI sends Congress documents from closed Clinton email investigation

On Tuesday, the FBI delivered to several congressional committees a packet of documents related to its closed investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information via email during her tenure as secretary of state, along with a letter strongly defending the bureau's decision not to charge Clinton. Sharing classified documents from a closed FBI investigation is very rare, and not surprisingly, the transfer of the Clinton files — an investigative summary, "302" reports on interviews with Clinton and others, and classified emails recovered from her private server — was immediately subject to partisan sniping.

Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee say they requested the files to better understand the FBI's decision and search for evidence to support their call for the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether Clinton lied to Congress in her marathon Benghazi hearing last fall. Democrats say the GOP is baldly trying to harm the Democratic nominee politically; Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said Republicans wanted the files "for the purposes of further second-guessing the career professionals at the FBI," and he asked for the documents to be publicly released so Republicans can't "mischaracterize them through selective, partisan leaks."

For its part, the FBI said it was "providing certain relevant materials" as part of its "commitment to transparency with respect to the FBI's investigation of former Secretary of State Clinton's use of a personal email server," adding that "the material contains classified and other sensitive information and is being provided with the expectation it will not be disseminated or disclosed without FBI concurrence." Pretty much everyone seems to agree that the email controversy has damaged Clinton's standing among voters, and that new material could keep the issue alive during the election campaign. But if classified documents are "actually released or leaked by Republicans," note Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian in The Washington Post, that "could put them in the awkward spot of defending the release of sensitive information, which they have criticized Clinton for mishandling by using a private server as secretary of state." You can learn more in the CNN report below. Peter Weber