The FBI is stepping up an investigation and expanding its probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails exploring whether multiple statements violate a federal false statements statute, according to sources familiar with the case. Reportedly, agents are looking at U.S. Code 18, Section 1001, which pertains to “materially false” statements given either in writing, orally or through a third party. Violations also include pressuring a third party to conspire in a cover-up. Each felony violation is subject to five years in prison.
“This sounds to me like it’s more than a preliminary inquiry; it sounds like a full-blown investigation,” said Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the FBI. “When you have this amount of resources going into it …. I think it’s at the investigative level.”
Obviously, the FBI declined to respond to questions about the scope of its work.
Clinton faced intense scrutiny about her email during her appearance last month before the House panel investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack.
“This is a broad, brush statute that punishes individuals who are not direct and fulsome in their answers,” former FBI agent Timothy Gill told Fox News. Gill is not connected to the email investigation, but spent 16 years as part of the bureau’s national security branch, and worked the post 9/11 anthrax case where considerable time was spent resolving discrepancies in Bruce Ivins’ statements and his unusual work activities at Fort Detrick, Md.
“It is a cover-all. The problem for a defendant is when their statements cause the bureau to expend more time, energy, resources to de-conflict their statements with the evidence,” he said.