The FBI has expanded its probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, with agents exploring whether multiple statements violate a federal false statements statute, according to intelligence sources familiar with the ongoing case.
Fox News is told 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 phase represents an expansion of the FBI probe, which is also exploring potential violations of an Espionage Act provision relating to “gross negligence” in the handling of national defense information.
“The agents involved are under a lot of pressure and are busting a–,” an intelligence source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News.
The section of the criminal code being explored is known as “statements or entries generally,” and can be applied when an individual makes misleading or false statements causing federal agents to expend additional resources and time. In this case, legal experts as well as a former FBI agent said, Section 1001 could apply if Clinton, her aides or attorney were not forthcoming with FBI agents about her emails, classification and whether only non-government records were destroyed.
Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said the same section got Martha Stewart in trouble with the FBI. To be a violation, the statements do not need to be given under oath.
“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.