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Cummings Issues Statement on Inaccurate Republican Leaks About Limited Immunity Agreement with Cheryl Mills

Sep 23, 2016
Press Release

Cummings Issues Statement on Inaccurate Republican Leaks About Limited Immunity Agreement with Cheryl Mills

 

 

Washington, DC (Sept. 23, 2016)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to inaccurate Republican leaks regarding a limited immunity agreement for Cheryl Mills:

“It’s beyond disappointing—but not surprising in light of the election—that Republicans are rushing to leak inaccurate information about this very limited agreement between Ms. Mills and the Justice Department.  Ms. Mills was not immunized for any statements she made to the FBI, Congress, or other investigators.  Of course, Republicans are trying to make political hay out of this, but the facts are that Ms. Mills cooperated fully with the Justice Department and Congress, the FBI concluded that there was no basis for any criminal prosecution, and even Chairman Gowdy praised Ms. Mills for voluntarily answering every single question in his marathon, nine-hour interview with her more than a year ago.  Republicans will stop at nothing to tear apart the FBI’s independent investigation to try to damage Secretary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

Earlier today, the Justice Department made available to the Committee a copy of the agreement, which makes clear that it does not extend to any testimony Ms. Mills provided to Congress, any statements she made to the FBI, or any other assertions she made to other investigators.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Immunity Agreements Were Very Limited—They Did Not Extend to Testimony or Statements to Investigators

In 2014, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, as Secretary Clinton’s attorneys, conducted a process to determine whether Secretary Clinton’s emails were work-related or personal so they could turn in work-related emails to the State Department.

After this process concluded, it was determined—after the fact—that some emails sent to Secretary Clinton may have contained classified information.  None of the emails was properly marked as classified.

Since Mills and Samuelson conducted their review on laptop computers, the FBI wanted to obtain those computers.  Mills and Samuelson turned them over with a limited immunity agreement from the Justice Department that they would not be prosecuted based on information obtained from the laptops.

However, these very limited immunity agreements did not extend to any testimony before Congress, statements to the FBI, or assertions to any other investigators.

Both Mills and Samuelson provided voluntary statements to the Justice Department, and neither exercised her Fifth Amendment rights. 

The FBI Found No Crimes Involving the Mishandling of Classified Information or Destruction of Documents to Conceal Them from Investigators

The FBI investigated whether there was criminal activity involved with (1) the potential mishandling of classified information; or (2) the potential intentional destruction of evidence to conceal it from investigators.

After obtaining the laptops and conducting other facets of the investigation, the FBI found that neither conclusion was warranted.

On July 5, 2016, FBI Director Comey stated:  “we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information.”

Two days later before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Director Comey testified:  “we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them.”

He added:  “I do not see evidence that is sufficient to establish that Secretary Clinton or those with whom she was corresponding both talked about classified information on email and knew, when they did it, they were doing something that was against the law.”

He added:  “We didn’t find any evidence of evil intent and intent to obstruct justice.”

He also said specifically about Secretary Clinton’s attorneys:   “I don't see the evidence there to make a case that she was acting with criminal intent in her engagement with her lawyers.”

Mills Already Appeared Before Congress for a Marathon Nine-Hour Interview, After Which Chairman Gowdy Praised Her for Answering Every Single Question

Cheryl Mills already appeared voluntarily before Congress for a marathon nine-hour interview.  More than a year ago, on September 3, 2015, she was called before Chairman Gowdy on the Benghazi Committee for a transcribed interview. 

During her interview, Ms. Mills was asked in detail about her actions with respect to Secretary Clinton’s emails.  Republicans asked numerous questions about:

  • her knowledge of the set-up of the server that hosted clintonemail.com;
  • her knowledge of Bryan Pagliano’s role in setting up Secretary Clinton’s personal server;
  • her knowledge of any outages affecting the server;
  • her communications with the State Department related to the recovery of federal records;
  • her role in reviewing Secretary Clinton’s emails for work-related records;
  • her role in responding to FOIA requests to the State Department; and
  • her awareness of federal records requirements.

After Ms. Mills appeared before the Benghazi Select Committee, Chairman Gowdy praised her, stating publicly that “Ms. Mills answered all of the committee’s questions.  The dialogue was professional and fact-centric.”

Ms. Mills thanked the Chairman and Ranking Member for “the professionalism and the respect that they showed me throughout this process.”  She added:  “I’m grateful for the chance that I had to visit with the Committee today.  I appreciate all the time that they spent with me and the respect that they showed to me.”

Ms. Mills had offered for the session to be open to the public at the time.  Her attorneys sent a letter to Chairman Gowdy on August 28, 2015, offering to appear at a public hearing to answer the Committee Members’ questions.  Chairman Gowdy declined and held a closed session that lasted nine-and-a-half hours.

Democrats called for the transcript to be released to the public, but Gowdy refused.

In the wake of multiple inaccurate disclosures about her testimony favoring Republican conspiracy theories about Secretary Clinton, Democrats released Ms. Mills’ transcript on October 21, 2015.

114th Congress