White House spokesman terms Clinton email probe a ‘criminal investigation’

by WorldTribune Staff, June 10, 2016

On the same day President Barack Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton to succeed him, the White House for the first time referred to the probe into the former secretary of state’s emails as a “criminal investigation.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest used the term at his June 9 briefing after being asked by Fox News about whether Obama’s endorsement of Clinton might apply pressure to investigators assigned to the email case.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest. /AP
White House spokesman Josh Earnest. /AP

“That’s why the president, when discussing this issue in each stage, has reiterated his commitment to this principle that any criminal investigation should be conducted independent of any sort of political interference,” Earnest said.

The Republican National Committee quickly jumped on the use of the term “criminal investigation.”

“The White House’s admission that the FBI is investigating Hillary Clinton’s email server as a ‘criminal’ matter shreds her dishonest claim that it is a routine ‘security inquiry,’ ” RNC spokesman Michael Short said in a statement.

Clinton had downplayed the investigation as nothing more than a “security inquiry.”

FBI Director James Comey said last month he doesn’t know what “security inquiry” means – adding, “we’re conducting an investigation … that’s what we do.”

Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal report on June 10 said that Clinton may have used her cellphone to approve CIA drone assassinations.

Several emails between American diplomats in Pakistan and their superiors in Washington concerning scheduled drone strikes were forwarded to Clinton’s unsecured email server, the report said. The emails are now part of the FBI’s investigation.

Pakistan is the site of more U.S. drone strikes than any other country. The Obama administration has carried out more than 370 drone attacks in Pakistan, killing as many as 1,000 civilians, including up to 200 children, according to data collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

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