WASHINGTON — The State Department is reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
The State Department’s announcement on Thursday was expected, as the department had suspended its probe while it was waiting for the Justice Department to complete its criminal investigation. But the State Department’s announcement serves as a reminder that the email issue will continue to dog Clinton’s campaign.
The State Department will now focus on whether current employees involved in handling or sending and receiving Clinton’s emails should get disciplinary action, which could range from a reprimand to losing their security clearance. Former employees found to be mishandling classified information could also have notes put in their file that could also have consequences if they seek future employment with the government and need security clearance.
“Given the Department of Justice has now made its announcement, the State Department intends to conduct its internal review,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “I cannot provide specific information about the department’s review, including what information we are evaluating. We will aim to be as expeditious as possible, but we will not put artificial deadlines on the process. Our goal will be to be as transparent as possible about our results, while complying with our various legal obligations. I’m not able to make commitments today one way or the other about what we will be able to disclose.”
Earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be brought in the case, a finding that the Justice Department accepted on Wednesday. Comey was the subject of a lengthy grilling on Capitol Hill Thursday as he fielded questions from Republicans about the investigation, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz saying he would ask the FBI to probe whether Clinton lied to Congress about her email arrangements.
Republicans are trying other avenues to keep alive the email controversy that has clouded her presidential campaign for months.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, for instance, asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to block access to classified briefings for Clinton for the rest of the campaign.
The State Department’s inspector general in May blasted Clinton’s email use, saying that she failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff regarding her use of a private email server.