Spokesman: Clinton Declined Interview With State Dept. IG, Fearing 'Anti-Clinton Bias'

Susan Jones | May 26, 2016 | 9:14am EDT
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Hillary Clinton's campaign spokesman says "hints of an anti-Clinton bias" prompted her to decline an interview request from the State Department's Office of Inspector General. (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined to be interviewed by the Office of Inspector General of the department she once led to answer questions about her use of a private email server and personal email address to conduct State Department business.

"Through her counsel, Secretary Clinton declined OIG’s request for an interview," said the OIG report released today.

On Wednesday afternoon on CNN, Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon explained why she did so.

Fallon said several times that the Clinton team decided to "prioritize" the parallel Justice Department/FBI investigation.

But pressed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Fallon cited "hints of an anti-Clinton bias" in the State Department inspector general's office. He also said the State Department OIG was "seeking to hasten its timeline to pre-judge the outcome" of the ongoing Justice Department investigation.

Blitzer asked Fallon: "Don't you think she would have wanted to cooperate with the inspector general and get to the bottom of this? The Justice Department wouldn't have minded if she would have cooperated with him."

"Well, Wolf, as I said, we made the decision to prioritize the Justice Department review. That is going to be the last word on this matter--"

"Why couldn't she do both?" Blitzer asked.

"Well, quite frankly, Wolf, it was always of concern to us, and we never could quite make sense of why this review by the State Department IG was proceeding on its own timeline, in a parallel fashion to the Justice Department review, when it was the same office that suggested that the Justice Department undertake its review."

Blitzer noted that Clinton has "answered a whole lot of questions" from the news media, and she's promised to make time for the Justice Department: "Why disrespect the inspector general of the State Department, the department she ran for four years, and not at least go to a meeting with the inspector general and answer a whole bunch of questions?"

Fallon brought up Hillary's 11 hours of testimony before the House Benghazi committee, where members probed her use of a private email server.

"It looks as if she's got something to hide when she doesn't even want to answer questions from the inspector general of the State Department," Blitzer said.

"No, Wolf -- look Wolf, if she had anything to hide, she wouldn't be volunteering since last August to go face questions from the Justice Department, where the stakes will be much higher than this State Department IG investigation.

"And as I said, the appropriateness of the State Department IG's office conducting this review at the same time when the Justice Department was already looking into the same issue is an open question.

"There were questions raised about this office during the course of its investigation," Fallon continued. "There were reports about individuals in this office coming forward and suggesting that there were hints of an anti-Clinton bias inside that office, all of that adds up to--"

"That's interesting," Blitzer interrupted. "Are you accusing the inspector general of the State Department of having an anti-Clinton bias?"

Fallon said as it turns out, the report released by the State Department inspector general on Wednesday "includes an appropriate amount of context about how widespread the use of personal email was.

"So I actually think the report today puts a lot of those questions to bed, based on how fair it was in explaining that the use of personal email was widespread and done by her predecessors, including Secretary (Colin) Powell.

"I mention it only because it was another factor in contributing to the sense of uncertainty about why this office was conducting a parallel review and seeking to hasten its timeline to pre-judge the outcome of the very same matter that the Justice Department was investigating."

"So look, at the end of the Justice Department's review, Hillary Clinton presumably, if she's asked, will have cooperated in full, answered every question that the Justice Department lawyers want to ask of her. The same will be true of all the aides that cooperate in the way that she has asked them to do.

"And at that point, she'll have cooperated in full with the full-on DOJ review; she'll have cooperated with a congressional committee's investigation into this matter. She'll have cooperated or her aides will have testified and given interviews in various lawsuits brought by third parties.

"I think that at the end of this, it will be impossible for anybody to suggest that she didn't answer every question that anybody had."

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