State Department halts review of Clinton emails at FBI request

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State Dept suspends Clinton email review while FBI probes

The U.S. State Department has suspended plans for an internal review of whether classified information was properly handled in former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails at the request of the FBI, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Clinton, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic Party nomination in the Nov. 8 presidential election, has apologized for using a private email server for official business while in office from 2009 to 2013 and said she did nothing wrong. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing the arrangement.

On Jan. 29, the State Department said 22 emails sent or received by Clinton had been upgraded to top secret at the request U.S. intelligence agencies and would not be made public as part of the release of thousands of Clinton's emails. It said that none of the emails was marked classified when sent.

Click through images of some of Hillary Clinton's potential running mates:

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Hillary Clinton potential running mates, VPs
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State Department halts review of Clinton emails at FBI request

Tim Kaine

The junior Democratic Senator from the swing state of Virginia could be a strategic selection for Hillary. Kaine also served as the governor of Virginia from 2006- 2010.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Warren

The current U.S. Senator from Massachusetts is popular among progressive Democrats, and some even tried to draft her to run for president herself in 2016. 

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sherrod Brown

Insiders believe that the senior U.S. Senator from Ohio could help Clinton increase her popularity with working-class voters, a group she has yet to win in a big way so far in primary contests.  

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Cory Booker

The U.S. Senator from New Jersey is both youthful and charismatic and would add racial diversity to a Clinton ticket. 

(Photo by KK Ottesen for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Tom Perez

The current U.S. Secretary of Labor is considered a sleeper pick by many Democrats because he is not well known outside of D.C., but some believe his strength and popularity among union workers and other progressive groups could be an asset to Clinton's ticket. 

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Julian Castro

The former mayor of San Antonio and current U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development has been rumored as a possible running mate for Clinton for months, but in May he said in an interview that the Clinton campaign hasn't talked to him about the role.

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Amy Klobuchar

Insiders confirmed that Clinton is definitely considering a woman as her vice presidential pick, and as U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar has a seat Democrats would likely maintain. She's also been described as "by far" the most popular politician in her state. 

 (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Bernie Sanders

The Independent from Vermont has become Hillary Clinton's primary rival for the Democratic nomination, garnering a surprising amount of support. Bringing Sanders onto the ticket could help to unite both sets of supporters who have been split in Democratic primaries.

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Martin O'Malley

A former 2016 rival of Hillary Clinton, and former Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley could help bring some executive experience, along with a slight youthful boost to the ticket.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Tom Vilsack

The Secretary of Agriculture since 2009, Tom Vilsack also served as the governor of Iowa from 1999 to 2007. Vilsack could bring some governing experience along with swing state influence.  

(BELGIUM - Tags: AGRICULTURE POLITICS BUSINESS)

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivers his annual State of the State address to lawmakers and guests, inside the state legislature, in Denver, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Hickenlooper called upon Republicans and Democrats to return to an era of civility and compromise in his address to the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democrat-led House. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Evan Bayh 

Evan Bayh could bring a more right leaning brand of politics to the ticket. Bayh previously served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011, and also as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.  

Joe Biden

While the likelihood of him agreeing to take on the veep job again might be low, Biden's popularity among Democrats would likely boost Clinton's chances. 

(Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bill Clinton

Hillary's husband is technically allowed to serve in the job, and some legal experts even think he'd be able to take office if necessary. Unfortunately for the diehard Clinton supporters, a Clinton-Clinton ticket will probably be a dream that never comes true. 

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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At the time, the department also said it would conduct an internal review on whether the information in the emails was classified at the time it passed through Clinton's private clintonemail.com account run on a server in her New York home.

The State Department consulted the FBI about this in February, and in March the law enforcement agency asked the State Department to halt its inquiry.

"The FBI communicated to us that we should follow our standard practice, which is to put our internal review on hold while there is an ongoing law enforcement investigation ," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters.

"The internal review is on hold, pending completion of the FBI's work," she added." We'll reassess next steps after the FBI's work is complete."

A U.S. State Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the State Department had really only done "administrative work" on its review but had held off while waiting for a response from the FBI.

"It took a little bit of time for the FBI to respond to our request for advice and in the interim we did not pursue the review out of prudence," said the official, who declined further comment on the State Department review.

The government forbids handling of classified information, which may or may not be marked that way, outside secure government-controlled channels, and sometimes prosecutes people who remove it from such channels. The government classifies information as top secret if it deems a leak could cause "exceptionally grave damage" to national security.

Two judges have allowed a group suing for Clinton's records to seek sworn testimony from officials. On Tuesday, one judge said there was "evidence of government wrongdoing and bad faith" over the arrangement.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Grant McCool, Toni Reinhold)
















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