The brouhaha over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account during her tenure at the State Department isn’t over.
The U.S. Justice Department has now been asked “to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled” on Clinton’s private email account, The New York Times reported late Thursday.
Two inspectors general, from the State Department and intelligence agencies, requested that DOJ open the probe after determining that Clinton’s private email account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails,” according to the report. Yet the Times noted that it wasn’t clear whether the information in those emails was marked as classified when Clinton sent or received them.
An anonymous U.S. official also told The Associated Press that “it was unclear whether classified information was mishandled and the referral doesn’t suggest wrongdoing by Clinton herself.”
Questions about the legality of Clinton’s use of private email while serving as the head of the State Department have dogged her since March, before she kicked off her presidential campaign. She has maintained that she preserved all work-related emails from her private server and that she did not send or receive any classified information from her personal email account.
Politico noted that the Times story’s headline and lead paragraph were later changed to avoid casting Clinton as the target of a criminal probe. There was no notice of the change appended to the article, but one of the reporters on the story told Politico that it had been changed to reflect reasonable complaints that the Clinton campaign had raised.
The Clinton campaign, including press secretary Brian Fallon, continued to push back against the Times’ reporting on Friday:
To review, NYT sent out breaking news last night that they walked back overnight and that is now contradicted by the Associated Press
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 24, 2015
Update: The Justice Department on Friday afternoon said that the inquiry the agency had been asked to open into Clinton’s email was not of a criminal nature.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.