EXCLUSIVE: An investigation by the State Department's top attorney has found that the official who ordered the censorship of a 2013 press briefing -- deleting an exchange between a department spokeswoman and a Fox News reporter -- specifically mentioned that exchange when ordering the doctoring of the video. That fact, buried in a new report prepared by the department's Office of the Legal Adviser, was ignored in the report's own conclusions about why the incident occurred, and conflicted with public statements about the report made by State Department spokesman John Kirby. Department investigators now say they do not know if a technical glitch or willful misconduct caused the deletion of the critical eight-minute exchange on Dec. 2, 2013 between then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki and Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen. At issue in the exchange was a previous one between Rosen and then-spokeswoman Victoria Nuland from February 2013. Asked if the U.S. and Iran were engaged in secret bilateral talks, Nuland said no such "government to government" contacts were taking place between the Obama administration and Tehran.
Top Republican lawmakers are demanding answers after the State Department admitted an official intentionally deleted several minutes of footage from a press briefing dealing with sensitive questions on the Iran nuclear deal. The department has not identified who actually ordered the deletion; one spokesman said their internal inquiry has hit a "dead end." But the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked the State Department for more information -- and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has asked the State Department inspector general to investigate. "In tampering with this video, the Bureau of Public Affairs has undermined its mission to'communicate timely and accurate information with the goal of furthering U.S. foreign policy,'" Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a letter to Inspector General Steve Linick. "This is all the more troubling given that the video in question dealt with hugely consequential nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Donald Trump's campaign and congressional Republicans are pushing to re-open the Hillary Clinton email case – at the Justice Department, as well as in the court of public opinion – in the wake of newly released FBI documents which are fueling claims her team may have destroyed evidence. The latest call came Tuesday from former New York City mayor and top Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani, who urged the FBI to review its own findings and the department to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case. "She acted with criminal intent," Giuliani said – a charge Clinton's team denies. On a conference call with reporters, Giuliani said a special prosecutor should also investigate allegations that Clinton Foundation donors got special access to the State Department during and after Clinton's tenure as secretary of state, which the Clinton campaign also denies. "I don't trust the Justice Department to review the pay-to-play foundation scandal or the national security [email] scandal," Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, said in response to a question from FoxNews.com.
Republicans are demanding that the Justice Department open a new investigation into whether Clinton lied to Congress. WASHINGTON -- Congress has received FBI documents related to the agency's recently closed investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, according to lawmakers. A spokeswoman for the Republican-led House oversight panel said staff is reviewing documents that are classified as secret. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said in a statement that the panel received "FBI witness interview reports, including that of Secretary Clinton's interview, along with other materials from the FBI's now closed investigative file." The FBI last month closed its yearlong probe into whether Clinton and her aides mishandled sensitive information that flowed through a private email server located in the basement of her New York home.
EXCLUSIVE: The State Department missed its own target date last year for the establishment of a special unit to review Benghazi documents, documents obtained by Fox News show. The previously unpublished documents, generated by the House select committee that is investigating the 2012 terror attacks, detail how Rep. Trey Gowdy, the panel's Republican chairman from South Carolina, began working behind the scenes early last year to help the department secure over 4 million in "reprogrammed" funds set aside by Congress for such a unit. According to agreements worked out between Republican staff on the committee and top aides to Secretary of State John Kerry, including chief of staff Jonathan Finer, the document review unit was supposed to be "operational" in June 2015. Yet the State Department, prompted by inquiries from Fox News, now acknowledges it missed that target date. "The Congressional Document Production unit began staffing up in mid-2015," said State Department spokesman Mark Toner in an email late Thursday, "and is now fully operational."