Nous avons écouté la sagesse d’une vieille maxime russe. Même si je ne garantis pas ma prononciation, la maxime est ‘Doveryai pas proveryai’, ‘Faites confiance, mais vérifiez’. Ronald Reagan (1987)
Reagan was the only politician I ever met who really wanted to know not, ‘What did the Kremlin think?’ but, ‘What did the Russians think?’ No one had ever told the president of the United States that the Russians were religious. I think that humanized the Russians for him in a way that he could understand. (…) I think it was perhaps the most important thing I told him. (…) I was having lunch with Mr. Reagan and Mrs. Reagan jst before Reijkiavik (…) I said: ‘You know the Russians often like to talk in proverbs and there’s one that might be useful. “You’re an actor, you can learn it in a minute, ‘Trust, but verify.’ And he leaped on it and so did Mrs. Reagan. And then he made it a hit and it has passed into the American lexicon. Suzanne Massie
Ultimately, perhaps more so than anywhere in the world, actions will matter more than words. In the case of the Assad regime, President Reagan’s old adage about “Trust but verify” – “Doveryai no proveryai,” I think, is the saying – that is in need of an update. And we have committed here to a standard that says, “Verify and verify.” John Kerry
Je suis convaincu que si cet accord-cadre mène à un accord total et définitif, notre pays, nos alliés et le monde seront plus en sécurité. L’Iran sera « plus inspecté que n’importe quel autre pays dans le monde. Si l’Iran triche, le monde le saura. Si nous voyons quelque chose de louche, nous mènerons des inspections. Cet accord n’est pas basé sur la confiance, il est basé sur des vérifications sans précédent. Barack Hussein Obama
Mes feuilles d’impôt sont extrêmement compliquées. Donald Trump
Donald Trump cache une bombe dans sa déclaration de revenus. Je pense qu’il y a quelque chose là. Soit il est loin d’être aussi riche qu’il le dit, soit il n’a pas payé le niveau d’impôts que nous devrions attendre de lui. Peut-être qu’il n’a pas donné de l’argent aux anciens combattants ou aux personnes handicapées, comme il le prétend. Vous savez, on est à présent mi-février et nous n’avons toujours pas vu les déclarations de revenus de Donald Trump, Marco Rubio ou Ted Cruz. Chaque fois qu’il est interrogé sur le sujet de ses impôts, il élude et remet à plus tard en disant : ‘On y travaille’». Les électeurs ont le droit de voir ces déclarations d’impôts avant de décider qui devrait être le candidat investi par le parti. Mitt Romney
The weakness in our key political institutions is bipartisan. The Republicans are suffering from an establishment power vacuum that has allowed a demagogue to very nearly take control of the party; and the Democratic establishment, constantly trailed by an air of scandal and suspicion, is unable to engender much enthusiasm from its base. It’s still not clear which of the two parties will win the demolition derby that the 2016 election has become. But it’s looking more and more that no matter which party ‘wins’ this bizarre election contest, the clear loser is the United States. Walter Russell Mead
Our political system is in deep trouble, and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help (superdelegates on the Republican side, stronger and more impartial enforcement of government rules on information security and conflict of interest in the case of the Clinton machine) the real problems are more dangerous and harder to treat: A moral and spiritual collapse that has frayed the bonds between the country’s ordinary people and those who seek to lead them, a hollowing out of institutions from Congress and political parties to local churches and civic life, and the disintegration of a shared national intellectual and cultural framework for discussing the issues that confront us. As we approach a critical presidential election at a time of global turmoil and disorder, the state of our union is not strong.Qu’on se souvienne des présidentielles de 2000 – Bush avait été un étudiant pas très assidu, quoique diplômé de la prestigieuse université de Yale; mais il avait été bambocheur et buveur – la grande presse faisait florès du moindre verre de whisky jamais avalé. Aujourd’hui, elle passe au microscope le moindre pas de la famille Palin, et s’acharne à trouver tous les poux du monde dans la tête du gouverneur de l’Alaska. Les media se sont transformées en une machine à faire élire Obama, qui est donc à la fois le candidat du Parti démocrate et du Parti de la presse. Laurent Murawiec
Dans ce contexte local plus que trouble, Peraica affirme que la montée au firmament d’Obama n’a pu se faire « par miracle ». (…) « La presse a protégé Barack Obama comme un petit bébé. Elle n’a pas sorti les histoires liées à ses liens avec Rezko », s’indigne Peraica. Le Figaro
Ce n’est peut-être pas une bonne chose pour l’Amérique, mais une très bonne affaire pour CBS. Sérieusement, qui aurait pu espérer la campagne que nous avons actuellement ? L’argent continue d’affluer et c’est marrant (…) Je n’ai jamais vu quelque chose comme ça, et cette année va être très bonne pour nous. C’est terrible à dire mais continue Donald, continue ! Leslie Moonves (PDG de CBS)
Ronald Reagan famously said that “trust, but verify” was the proper way to deal with someone who has a record of credibility problems. Republicans need to adopt Reagan’s approach as Donald Trump moves closer to the Republican nomination. A political party that didn’t demand the public release of Donald Trump’s tax returns could be committing electoral suicide. In his 40-year business career, he has assembled an empire of great complexity along with a serial record of credibility problems. In other words, he often “makes stuff up.” This is a man who said, under oath, in a 2008 libel suit he later lost: “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.” The federal candidate financial-disclosure forms Trump points reporters to are not audited for accuracy or completeness. Republican voters, GOP officials, and all Americans should demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns, something he refuses to do with the flimsiest of excuses. If he doesn’t release them, no one should be surprised if a leak of the juiciest details comes from the Obama administration before the November election. John Fund
Et si enfin on écoutait Reagan ?
A l’heure où entre l’irresponsabilité intéressée de médias majoritairement de gauche et le refus suicidaire des candidats républicains de sacrifier leur ambition personnelle pour le bien de leur pays et de leur parti …
Rien ne semble désormais capable d’arrêter, tant la révolte gronde d’une bonne partie du peuple américain face à bientôt huit ans d’imposture Obama, un rouleau compresseur Trump qui n’a pourtant toujours pas tenu sa promesse de révéler un bilan fiscal que tout le monde devine bien en deçà de tout soupçon …
La nécessité plus forte que jamais d’appliquer la fameuse phrase fétiche de Reagan empruntée, via sa conseillère Suzanne Massie, à la sagesse proverbiale russe …
Et si ignomineusement détournée trente ans plus tard on le sait tant par le secrétaire d’Etat John Kerry avec l’affaire des armes chimiques syriennes que par le président Obama sur l’accord nucléaire iranien …
March 3, 2016
Ronald Reagan famously said that “trust, but verify” was the proper way to deal with someone who has a record of credibility problems. Republicans need to adopt Reagan’s approach as Donald Trump moves closer to the Republican nomination.
A political party that didn’t demand the public release of Donald Trump’s tax returns could be committing electoral suicide. In his 40-year business career, he has assembled an empire of great complexity along with a serial record of credibility problems. In other words, he often “makes stuff up.” This is a man who said, under oath, in a 2008 libel suit he later lost: “My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with the markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings.”
The federal candidate financial-disclosure forms Trump points reporters to are not audited for accuracy or completeness.
Republican voters, GOP officials, and all Americans should demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns, something he refuses to do with the flimsiest of excuses. If he doesn’t release them, no one should be surprised if a leak of the juiciest details comes from the Obama administration before the November election. And the odds that anyone in the government would pay a penalty for that? Ask Lois Lerner, the comfortably retired former IRS official at the heart of the scandal involving discrimination against conservative non-profit groups.
“Most returns of his are probably offers rather than final positions,” David Herzog, a tax-law professor at Valparaiso University, told the Wall Street Journal. “I would guess that Trump did not start cleaning up how he reported his income [before deciding to run]. His past returns are probably a treasure trove.” That means a trove for Democrats in the fall. In 2012, Mitt Romney’s tax returns were relatively straightforward for someone who was rich, but he was nonetheless savaged over them both before and after he belatedly released them six weeks before the election.
“A candidate has a moral obligation to his supporters and staff not to have them blindsided by negative information,” says Morton Blackwell, a Republican national committeeman who has trained tens of thousands of staffers for campaigns. Donald Trump’s response is that his tax returns are “very beautiful,” but not so much so that he can release even those that predate any current audit.
If Donald Trump won’t release his tax returns prior to the GOP convention, the delegates pledged to him on the first ballot should abstain from giving him their votes. Other than their vote not counting, there are no realistic consequences for any delegate doing so on the first ballot. A few states make breaking the first-ballot pledge rule a misdemeanor, but no one is ever prosecuted. In theory, state leaders could exact political retribution but such discipline is rarely exercised.
In a large number of states, between 30 and 60 percent of Trump delegates won’t be personal supporters of the Manhattan mogul (ditto with the alternates elected to accompany the delegates and vote for them if they can’t).
Delegates will have been selected at county confabs and state conventions or by party insiders, in a ritual that for decades has rewarded faithful party servants and elected officeholders. Delegates pledged to any candidate on the first ballot are not bound to follow that candidate on votes on changing rules, honoring delegate credentials, or even the vice-presidential balloting. As Benjamin Ginsberg, an election lawyer who’s been involved in GOP presidential politics for seven straight elections, says: “This situation can unsettle any convention and would require whip operations like no candidate has had for generations.”
Here’s how one Republican strategist explained the situation in his state: Donald Trump won the February 20 South Carolina primary with 32 percent of the vote but because he carried every congressional district, he won all 50 delegates. But as in almost all states, no actual people have been chosen to fill those slots yet. “There are mostly phantom delegates,” argues Elaine Kamarck, a Brookings Institution scholar and author of The Primary Games. “Understanding this is critical to understanding why this wild election year may get wilder still.” She writes that it is unclear what “would actually happen on the floor of the convention if some Trump delegates decided to vote for someone else.” But the Republican convention experts I talked to largely argued that if a delegate and his or her alternate chose not to vote, Trump would receive one fewer vote.
In South Carolina, the actual delegates will be selected at a state-party convention in April. The delegates eligible to vote were selected last year at district meetings. No one else is eligible. “I can guarantee you that Governor Nikki Haley and Senator Tim Scott will have more say on who gets elected a delegate than Donald Trump will at that convention,” the strategist told me. He predicted that only 15 to 20 of the 50 actual delegates will be dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters. The same ratio would probably apply to the alternates elected at the convention. “That means they will be open to persuasion if it looks like Trump is a sure loser in the fall or if he commits even more horrendous gaffes in the next four and a half months.”
Henry Olsen, a scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of The Four Faces of the Republican Party, told me he expects that, in some states, actual Trump supporters will be even less of a presence.
“Look at places like Colorado and North Dakota, where in 2012 Santorum won the caucuses but got cleaned out of the delegates,” he says. “I think the party elites will be even more thorough in their delegate vetting this time around than in 2012, where Mitt was pretty much assured of the nomination when the delegates were chosen.”
In some states, the Trump people will have a chance to get voters to attend county, district, and state meetings that help elect delegates. But they might be at a disadvantage. Political consultant Shari Williams told me that, in this week’s Colorado caucuses, she “had the distinct impression the Trump people weren’t up to speed in organizing.” Indeed, a survey of many states by Politico found that “Trump’s campaign remains the ramshackle, build-as-you-go organization that it has been from the beginning.” That might be fine for the “shock and awe” stage of the primaries, but it might not serve well in the detail-oriented work of selecting actual delegates.
In many states, Trump isn’t retaining the staffers who built his vote totals. His top Iowa leaders are no longer under contract and Trump state directors in Georgia and Texas, the two biggest delegate prizes on Super Tuesday, have left the campaign.
I spoke with several Donald Trump supporters in Washington, D.C., this week who were attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. They uniformly were outraged at any suggestion that Trump would be denied delegate votes though abstentions or failures to vote. But many agreed that his failure to release his tax returns was troubling, and it would be exploited by Democrats in the fall.
Many political experts don’t think Donald Trump will arrive at the Cleveland convention with the 1,237 delegates he needs to be nominated. To win that majority, Trump needs to win over 40 percent of the popular vote in the primaries and caucuses — a level of support he has achieved so far only in Alabama and Massachusetts. He can always then try to cut deals with other candidates for more support. But if he starts losing votes because some of his delegates are abstaining, such deals might become more difficult to consummate. Even if he secures a narrow majority before Cleveland, pressure in the form of abstaining delegates should be put on him to secure complete release of his tax returns.
Scenarios such as this might appear unlikely, but, as Mitt Romney pointed out in a speech on Thursday, “the rules of political history have pretty much all been shredded during this campaign.” The political rules at a convention should respect the voice of the people. But they should not become a straitjacket that endangers a political party’s chances of winning. Bob Beauprez, a former congressman and 2014 GOP candidate for governor of Colorado, told me: “We need answers and accountability. I think the idea of abstaining till we get them is a very good one.”
Delegates withholding their support from Donald Trump until he delivered on his year-old promise to release his tax returns would be safeguarding the party’s interests and applying pressure to clear up a potentially explosive issue in the fall campaign.
— John Fund is NRO’s national-affairs correspondent.
25 Févr. 2016
Donald Trump cache «une bombe» dans sa déclaration de revenus.
C’est ce qu’a affirmé Mitt Romney, candidat républicain à la présidentielle américaine de 2012, mercredi, sur Fox News. Il accuse le milliardaire, favori de la primaire de son parti, d’éluder les questions sur ses impôts.
«Je pense qu’il y a quelque chose là, écrit-il. Soit il est loin d’être aussi riche qu’il le dit, soit il n’a pas payé le niveau d’impôts que nous devrions attendre de lui. Peut-être qu’il n’a pas donné de l’argent aux anciens combattants ou aux personnes handicapées, comme il le prétend.»
Si ces accusations sont avérées, la candidature de Donald Trump pourrait être compromise. Le milliardaire est en tête dans la course à la primaire républicaine à la Maison Blanche après ses succès dans le New Hampshire, la Caroline du Sud et le Nevada, au grand dam de nombreux cadres du parti républicain qui le considèrent trop extrême dans ses positions.
Trump répond violemment
«Vous savez, on est à présent mi-février et nous n’avons toujours pas vu les déclarations de revenus de Donald Trump, Marco Rubio ou Ted Cruz», a insisté Mitt Romney, ciblant également les deux autres favoris dans la course à l’investiture. «Chaque fois qu’il est interrogé sur le sujet de ses impôts, il (ndlr : Donald Trump) élude et remet à plus tard en disant : ‘On y travaille’», a-t-il insisté. Selon lui, «les électeurs ont le droit de voir ces déclarations d’impôts avant de décider qui devrait être le candidat investi par le parti». Romney, avait lui-même été abondamment questionné sur sa déclaration de revenus durant la campagne en 2012.
Dans son style caractéristique, Donald Trump s’est empressé de répondre sur Twitter : «Mitt Romney, qui a totalement foiré une élection qui aurait dû être gagnée et dont les déclarations d’impôts l’ont fait passer pour un idiot, joue maintenant au dur», s’est-il gaussé. «Quand Mitt Romney m’a demandé de le soutenir la dernière fois, il était tellement maladroit et ridicule qu’on aurait tous dû savoir qu’il ne pouvait pas gagner», a-t-il encore lancé sur le réseau social.
Malgré ces réticences, l’ancien candidat de 2012, aujourd’hui retiré de la vie politique, a convenu que Donald Trump était le favori dans la course à la nomination chez les républicains : «Pour les autres personnes encore en course, la marge de manoeuvre devient de plus en plus étroite», a-t-il conclu.
Trump plaît tous azimuts
Les chances de Donald Trump s’améliorent car il a prouvé qu’il n’était pas le candidat d’une faction. Il est arrivé premier aux primaires de trois Etats très différents : le New Hampshire, où plus d’un quart des votants étaient «modérés» ; la Caroline du Sud, où les trois quarts étaient chrétiens évangéliques; et le Nevada, où 15% des votants n’étaient pas blancs, la plus forte proportion de minorités à ce jour aux primaires républicaines. Systématiquement, Donald Trump réalise son meilleur score parmi les Américains ayant moins que le bac. Mais il domine aussi chez les diplômés.
PRI’s The World
March 07, 2014
Producer Nina Porzucki (follow)
The year was 1984. It was the height of the Cold War and Russian historian Suzanne Massie will never forget the moment she got a call from the White House.
This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.
President Ronald Reagan had read her book, Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia, and invited Massie to the Oval Office to brief him on the Russian worldview.
That first meeting, in January 1984, was the first in a series of closed-door meetings that would continue until 1988 — through some of the tensest moments of the Cold War.
Massie’s conversations with Reagan are the subject of her latest book, Trust, but Verify: Reagan, Russia, and Me.
“Reagan was the only politician I ever met who really wanted to know not, ‘What did the Kremlin think?’ but, ‘What did the Russians think?’” said Massie.
One of the first things she spoke to the president about was the importance of the Russian Orthodox Church. In Massie’s description of that first meeting with Reagan, speaking about the Russian religious point of view was an ‘aha’ moment for the president.
“No one had ever told the president of the United States that the Russians were religious, » Massie said. « I think that humanized the Russians for him in a way that he could understand. »
After that moment, according to Massie, the president began to talk privately about religion with Russian General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.
“I think it was perhaps the most important thing I told him,” Massie said.
However, we might recognize another important thing that Massie told President Reagan. That is, the Russian proverb « Trust, but verify. »
The old Russian expression came up while Massie was having lunch with the president right before he left for the 1986 Reykjavίk Summit with Gorbachev.
“You know the Russians often like to talk in proverbs and there’s one that might be useful,” Massie told the president. “You’re an actor, you can learn it in a minute, ‘Trust, but verify.’”
That phrase has since passed into the American lexicon.
After advising President Reagan throughout the Cold War, Massie is disturbed by the recent turn of events in Crimea.
“Ukraine did not exist as an independent country until 1991. And it had not been ‘taken over’ by Russia. It was part of Russia,” Massie said.
Kiev, she says, was the birthplace of Russian civilization.
“It has been Russian since the Ninth Century. Crimea was won by Russia from the Ottoman Turks,” Massie said.
Massie insists that she’s not arguing for Putin, but she brings up the issue of Russia’s sphere of influence. She compares the current Russian invasion of Crimea to the US invasion of Grenada in 1983.
“It’s wise to remember when there was Grenada, where suddenly Soviets were building airfields, Ronald Reagan did not hesitate one second when he sent the Marines. And he said he was protecting the American students — there were only a handful of medical students. We considered that our sphere of influence,” said Massie. “We seem now, today, to have denied the Russians any right to a sphere of influence. We don’t recognize or consider that they have a sphere of influence, too.”
Voir de plus:
2016 AND BEYOND
The State of Our Union Is Bleak
The American interest
While all eyes are (understandably) focused on the GOP’s spectacular presidential meltdown, the Democratic Party’s problems are quietly mounting.
Consider two stories from yesterday’s papers. The first, in the New York Times, on plummeting turnout in the Democratic primaries:
Democratic turnout has fallen drastically since 2008, the last time the party had a contested primary, with roughly three million fewer Democrats voting in the 15 states that have held caucuses or primaries through Tuesday, according to unofficial election results tallied through Wednesday afternoon.
… Some Democrats now worry that Mrs. Clinton will have difficulty matching the surge in new black, Hispanic and young voters who came to the polls for President Obama in 2008 and 2012.
And the second, in the Washington Post on the latest turn in the ongoing investigation into possible misconduct by the presumptive Democratic nominee:
The Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staffer, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.
These stories should remind us that the weakness in our key political institutions is bipartisan. The Republicans are suffering from an establishment power vacuum that has allowed a demagogue to very nearly take control of the party; and the Democratic establishment, constantly trailed by an air of scandal and suspicion, is unable to engender much enthusiasm from its base. It’s still not clear which of the two parties will win the demolition derby that the 2016 election has become. But it’s looking more and more that no matter which party ‘wins’ this bizarre election contest, the clear loser is the United States.
Our political system is in deep trouble, and while one can think of some procedural fixes that could help (superdelegates on the Republican side, stronger and more impartial enforcement of government rules on information security and conflict of interest in the case of the Clinton machine) the real problems are more dangerous and harder to treat: A moral and spiritual collapse that has frayed the bonds between the country’s ordinary people and those who seek to lead them, a hollowing out of institutions from Congress and political parties to local churches and civic life, and the disintegration of a shared national intellectual and cultural framework for discussing the issues that confront us. As we approach a critical presidential election at a time of global turmoil and disorder, the state of our union is not strong.
Justice Dept. grants immunity to staffer who set up Clinton email server
The Justice Department granted immunity to the former State Department staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s private email server at her home. Here’s what the FBI is looking to investigate and what it means for the Democratic presidential front-runner. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)
The Washington Post
March 2 2016
The Justice Department has granted immunity to a former State Department staffer, who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.
The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.
As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents are likely to want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said.
[Clinton personally paid State Department staffer to maintain server]
The inquiry comes against a political backdrop in which Clinton is the favorite to secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
Confused about the investigations around Hillary Clinton? Here are the basics.
There are at least three ongoing investigations into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Here’s an explanation of who is investigating, and why. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)
So far, there is no indication that prosecutors have convened a grand jury in the email investigation to subpoena testimony or documents, which would require the participation of a U.S. attorney’s office.
Spokesmen at the FBI and Justice Department would not discuss the investigation. Pagliano’s attorney, Mark J. MacDougall, also declined to comment.
In a statement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said: “As we have said since last summer, Secretary Clinton has been cooperating with the Department of Justice’s security inquiry, including offering in August to meet with them to assist their efforts if needed.”
He also said the campaign is “pleased” that Pagliano, who invoked his Fifth Amendment rights before a congressional panel in September, is now cooperating with prosecutors. The campaign had encouraged Pagliano to testify before Congress.
As part of the inquiry, law enforcement officials will look at the potential damage had the classified information in the emails been exposed. The Clinton campaign has described the probe as a security review. But current and former officials in the FBI and at the Justice Department have said investigators are trying to determine whether a crime was committed.
“There was wrongdoing,” said a former senior law enforcement official. “But was it criminal wrongdoing?”
[Hillary Clinton gains a new unlikely ally in email controversy: Colin Powell]
Takeaways from Hillary Clinton’s e-mails
Clinton has come under fire for using a private e-mail address during her time as secretary of state. The emails are being screened and released in batches. Here are some things we’ve learned from them.
Clinton has since apologized for what happened: “Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.”
Any decision to charge someone would involve Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who told Congress when asked last month about the email inquiry: “That matter is being handled by career independent law enforcement agents, FBI agents, as well as the career independent attorneys in the Department of Justice. They follow the evidence, they look at the law and they’ll make a recommendation to me when the time is appropriate.”
She added, “We will review all the facts and all the evidence and come to an independent conclusion as how to best handle it.”
Current and former officials said the conviction of retired four-star general and CIA director David H. Petraeus for mishandling classified information is casting a shadow over the email investigation.
The officials said they think that Petraeus’s actions were more egregious than those of Clinton and her aides because he lied to the FBI, and classified information he shared with his biographer contained top secret code words, identities of covert officers, war strategy and intelligence capabilities. Prosecutors initially threatened to charge him with three felonies, including conspiracy, violating the Espionage Act and lying to the FBI. But after negotiations, Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.
[Why the Clinton email scandal and Petraeus leak are not really alike]
He was fined $100,000 and sentenced to two years of probation. FBI officials were angered by the deal and predicted it would affect the outcome of other cases involving classified information.
Petraeus “was handled so lightly for his offense there isn’t a whole lot you can do,” said a former U.S. law enforcement official who oversaw counterintelligence investigations and described the email controversy as “a lesser set of circumstances.”
The State Department has been analyzing the contents of Clinton’s correspondence, as it has prepared 52,000 pages of Clinton’s emails for public release in batches, a process that began in May and concluded Monday. The State Department has said 2,093 of Clinton’s released emails were redacted in all or part because they contained classified material, the vast majority of them rated “confidential,” the lowest level of sensitivity in the classification system.
Clinton and the State Department have said that none of the material was marked classified at the time it was sent. However, it is the responsibility of individual government officials to properly handle sensitive material.
The email investigation is being conducted by FBI counterintelligence agents and supervised by the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
In a letter filed last month in federal court as part of ongoing civil litigation over Clinton’s emails, the FBI confirmed that it was “working on matters related to former Secretary Clinton’s use of a private email server.” The agency declined to publicly detail the investigation’s “specific focus, scope or potential targets.”
On Tuesday, FBI Director James B. Comey said he was “very close” to the investigation.
Former federal prosecutor Glen Kopp said it is not surprising that agents want to interview Clinton and her aides.
“They are within the zone of interest of the investigation,” he said.
A request to interview her would have to be reviewed by top level officials at both the FBI and the Justice Department, a former official said.
As part of those interviews, the FBI would also seek to establish that Clinton and her aides understood the policies and protocols for handling classified information, former officials said.
Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, declined to comment.
Kendall, who also has represented President Bill Clinton and Petraeus, has navigated similar issues in other cases. During the investigation of President Clinton by independent counsel Ken Starr, for instance, Kendall rebuffed several requests for interviews.
[Hillary Clinton’s incomplete timeline on her personal e-mail account]
The president was then subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. In a deal brokered by Kendall, the subpoena was withdrawn and Clinton testified voluntarily in 1998.
Former prosecutors said investigators were probably feeling the pressure of time because of the election. Take action before the election, they said, and you risk being perceived as trying to influence the result. Take action after and face criticism for not letting voters know there was an issue with their preferred candidate.
“The timing is terrible whether you do it before or after,” Kopp said.
The issue of Clinton’s use of a private email server was referred to the FBI in July after the Office of the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community determined that some of the emails that traversed Clinton’s server contained classified material.
Emails that contain material now deemed classified were authored by Clinton but also by many of her top aides, including Jacob Sullivan, who was her director of policy planning and her deputy chief of staff. He is now advising Clinton’s campaign on foreign policy and is thought to be a likely candidate for national security adviser if she is elected president.
The State Department has said that, at the request of intelligence agencies, it has classified 22 Clinton emails as “top secret” and will not release those emails, even in redacted form. “Top secret” is the highest level of classification, reserved for material whose release could cause “exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”
I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general of the intelligence community, has indicated that some of the material intelligence officials have reviewed contained information that was classified at the time it was sent; the State Department has indicated that it has not analyzed whether the material should have been marked classified when it was sent, only whether it requires classification before being released now.
Rosalind S. Helderman, Julie Tate and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.