According to published reports Tuesday, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton either has already, or will soon, be interviewed by the FBI over her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.
Her longtime adviser, Huma Abedin, has already been interviewed, as has her former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. Clinton was last asked about the investigation on May 8, and at the time said she had not yet been contacted by the FBI.
The FBI's standard practice is to save questioning the person at the center of an investigation for last, once it has gathered available facts from others. And with a high-profile subject with a busy schedule like Clinton, investigators likely believe they will only get one chance to interview the former secretary of state.
"It makes sense they would defer interviewing her until late in their investigation," former Justice Department prosecutor David Deitch told reporters, but he cautioned anyone from assuming Clinton is in legal jeopardy. "As a defense attorney, I have had many cases where targets of an investigation were interviewed and no indictment was ever forthcoming. It's just part of the process."
The issue of her private email server is also the subject of numerous civil lawsuits in federal court, two of which have already entered the "discovery" stage during which depositions are taken. Judicial Watch, which has initiated two of the suits, has pressed for Clinton to be questioned under oath.
And while Clinton has said she wants the matter to go away soon, Republicans have made it clear they intend to make it an issue all the way up to Election Day in November. If she were to be indicted, however, it is unclear how Democrats would be able to respond, even at this relatively early stage of the election cycle.
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