A timeline of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.
2008 – The server used for clintonemail.com is registered under the name Eric Hoteham. This is presumably a misspelling of Eric Hothem, the name of a former Clinton aide.
2009 – Government employees are allowed to use private emails for government work. However, this practice is strongly discouraged. If using a private email, “the agency must ensure that federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency record-keeping system.”
January 13, 2009 – The domain clintonemail.com is registered in the name of longtime adviser to former President Bill Clinton, Justin Cooper. Hillary Clinton’s email is set up as email@example.com
November 2012 – Clinton’s private email server was redesigned to use Google as the backup server.
December 13, 2012 – Congressional investigators ask Clinton if she uses a personal email.
March 20, 2013 – Gawker reports that based on emails retrieved by a Romanian hacker called “Guccifer,” Clinton used the “clintonemail.com” domain name in emails to advisers and friends. Because her original address is revealed in the article, Clinton changes her email address.
July 2013 – Clinton’s email server is changed once again to be backed up by a McAfee-owned company.
September 2013 – National Archives and Records Administration clarifies that personal email can only be used in “emergency situations” and that emails from personal accounts should be captured and managed in accordance with agency record-keeping practices.
2014 – The State Department requests that all former secretaries of state “submit any records in their possession for proper preservation.”
Also in 2014, at the request of the State Department, Clinton hands over 55,000 pages — approximately 30,000 emails. Left out were emails deemed by her and her staff to be “personal.”
December 1, 2014 – President Barack Obama signs an update to the Federal Records Act that clarified how private emails are allowed to be used. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, this update prohibits “the use of private email accounts by government officials unless they copy or forward any such emails into their government account within 20 days.”
March 3, 2015 – Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill says:
- “… like secretaries of state before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any department officials.”
- “For government business, she emailed them on their department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes.”
- “Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved.”
March 3, 2015 – State Department spokeswoman Maria Harf says: “[There’s] no indication that Secretary Clinton used her personal email account for anything but unclassified purposes … While Secretary Clinton did not have a classified email system, she did have multiple other ways of communicating in a classified manner, including assistants printing documents for her, secure phone calls and secure video conferences.”
The same day, the House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, issues a subpoena for Clinton’s Libya-related emails.
March 5, 2015 – It is revealed that Clinton isn’t publicly registered as the owner of the domain and server used to operate her personal email. This makes it more difficult to trace the account back to her. Accounts were registered in her aides’ names, and she used a proxy company to shield her involvement.
March 6, 2015 – The State Department begins reviewing emails to determine what can be publicly released, not whether Clinton did anything wrong.
March 10, 2015 – Clinton holds a 20-minute “press encounter” at the United Nations, saying:
- “At the end, I chose not to keep my private personal emails – emails about planning Chelsea’s wedding or my mother’s funeral arrangements, condolence notes to friends as well as yoga routines, family vacations, the other things you typically find in inboxes …”
- “I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two.”
- “Looking back, it would have been better if I’d simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn’t seem like an issue.”
- Clinton wouldn’t disclose how her emails were encrypted, “given what people with ill intentions can do with such information in this day and age, there are concerns about broadcasting specific technical details about past and current practices.”
- “I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters, and I feel like I’ve taken unprecedented steps for these emails to be in the public domain. I went above and beyond what I was requested to do.”
March 12, 2015 – State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki tells reporters the State Department would remove any emails “deemed not to be agency records.”
March 27, 2015 – Rep. Trey Gowdy makes the statement, “Secretary Clinton unilaterally decided to wipe her server clean and permanently delete all emails from her personal server.”
Clinton’s lawyer responds in a letter that she “has maintained and preserved copies” of work-related or potentially work-related emails that were turned over to the State Department late in 2014. The lawyer, David Kendall, also stated that federal law governing record retention requires that each federal employee individually decide what emails must be preserved.
March 31, 2015 – It is revealed that Clinton used both an iPad and a Blackberry for email, allegedly contradicting the statement she made on March 10 about not wanting to carry multiple devices.
April 15, 2015 – It is discovered that Clinton ignored questions from Congress in 2012 about her email.
May 19, 2015 – The State Department says it will need until January 2016 to release all the emails. They propose the date of January 15, 2016. A US district court judge suggests rolling releases.
May 21, 2015 – The government’s chief records officer says more than 1,200 of the emails Clinton gave them were deemed to be personal and not part of the federal record.
May 26, 2015 – A federal judge orders the State Department to start releasing portions of the 30,000 emails starting June 30 and continuing every 30 days until January 29, 2016.
June 3, 2015 – Newly released emails suggest that the National Archives and Record Administration had contacted the State Department about the preservation of Clinton’s emails before she left office.
June 25, 2015 – The State Department is missing all or part of 15 emails from Clinton’s longtime confidant Sidney Blumenthal that were released by the House panel investigating Benghazi.
July 7, 2015 – CNN’s Brianna Keilar has an exclusive interview with Clinton. In response to being asked about deleting 33,000 emails while under investigation by a House panel, Clinton says other secretaries of state had done the same thing. Clinton also says she was never subpoenaed by the House.
July 17, 2015 – In a letter, the State Department inspector general Steve A. Linick says his office is reviewing “the use of personal communications hardware and software by five secretaries of state and their immediate staffs.” The Office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General is assisting in the review.
July 24, 2015 – The inspector general for the intelligence community informs members of Congress that some materials from Clinton’s emails contain classified information.
July 26, 2015 – Clinton says she did not send classified emails from her private server while she was secretary of state.
“I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received,” Clinton tells reporters in Winterset, Iowa.
August 9, 2015 – Clinton tells a federal judge that she has turned over all work-related emails to the State Department. In a signed declaration: “While I do not know what information may be ‘responsive’ for purposes of this lawsuit, I have directed that all my emails on clintonemail.com in my custody that were or potentially were federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.”
August 11, 2015 – Clinton agrees to turn over her private email server and a thumb-drive backup to authorities.
August 11, 2015 – The intelligence community inspector general confirms that at least five emails have contained classified information.
August 12, 2015 – One of Clinton’s lawyers confirms that the private server used to contain Clinton’s emails from 2009-13 was turned over to the Justice Department. The server was previously wiped of data, but FBI officials are confident that the data from it will be able to be recovered. Law enforcement officials suspect that the examination will take months.
August 15, 2015 – Clinton makes comments about the scandal at the Iowa State Fair. Clinton repeats her claim that she “never sent classified material on my email, and I never received any that was marked classified.” She also says this is never brought up when she holds town halls on the campaign trail.
August 17, 2015 – Intelligence officials reviewing emails from the server have recommended that 305 documents be sent to other agencies for consultation.
August 18, 2015 – Clinton tells reporters that “nobody talks to me about it other than you guys” in response to questions about her email. She states, as she has before, that she handed over anything that was thought to be work-related.
“Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions,” Clinton says. “And as I just said, over 1,200 of those emails have been deemed not work-related.”
August 26, 2015 – At an event in Iowa, Clinton says, “My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn’t the best choice. I should have used two emails – one personal, one for work – and I take responsibility for that decision.” She also adds: “Well, I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why. I get it.” This is a change from her previous responses to questions about her email use.
August 31, 2015 – The latest batch of emails is released by the State Department. This release contains more than 7,000 emails. However, 125 of those emails are being retroactively considered classified.
September 1, 2015 – Clinton’s team responds to the latest batch of released emails in a memo saying, “This latest batch of emails backs up what we’ve said all along – that the emails simply provide an interesting window into the day-to-day life and work of the secretary of state. … This group of emails include 125 that have had portions classified after the fact, but as confirmed again by the State Department, nothing she sent or received was marked classified.”
September 8, 2015 – Hillary Clinton releases an apology and statement on her Facebook page about the email scandal:
“I wanted you to hear this directly from me:
“Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility …”
September 9, 2015 – During an interview on ABC News’ “World News Tonight with David Muir,” Clinton says she should have used separate emails for her work and her personal business, and she apologizes for her use of a private email server. She says, “I take responsibility, and I am trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.”
September 25, 2015 – An email chain between Clinton and David Petraeus from January and February 2009 is discovered. This causes speculation about whether some emails on Clinton’s server were mistakenly considered personal. The emails did not contain classified information.
September 27, 2015 – In an interview with “Meet the Press,” Clinton states that she did not participate in her attorneys’ review of her private server to determine which emails needed to be handed over to the State Department.
September 30, 2015 – The State Department releases the latest batch of Clinton’s emails. This batch contains 3,849 documents from mostly 2010 and 2011. There are 215 documents that have been retroactively upgraded to “classified” and were not made publicly available. The new emails also show that there was worry about the use of private email inviting hackers.
October 8, 2015 – It is revealed that Sen. Ron Johnson asked Datto Inc., the makers of Clinton’s backup system, for information concerning the security and preservation of her email server. Backup services were provided through the Datto SIRIS S2000 device that was purchased by Platte River Networks when the server moved from her private residence to a New Jersey-based data center in 2013. The letter released by Johnson reveals conversations to and from Platte River Network employees and Datto.
October 30, 2015 – Another batch of emails is released. This release contains 222 emails.
November 30, 2015 – The latest and largest batch of Clinton’s emails is released. This release contains more than 5,000 emails, and approximately 328 of those were retroactively classified. Also included with the emails is a chain at the center of Republican criticism of Clinton’s handling of the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
January 7, 2016 – Having not met its goal for the month of December, the State Department releases another batch of Clinton emails. The next group of emails to be released at the end of January is expected to be the last.
January 14, 2016 – In a letter to congressional intelligence committees, Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III writes that emails on Clinton’s private server have been flagged for classified information, some of which is considered the highest “top secret” level of classification.
January 20, 2016 – During a segment on National Public Radio, Clinton says the letter from the inspector general was nothing more than a ruse to damage her campaign for the presidency. Clinton’s spokesman, Brian Fallon, also tells Bloomberg that they believed McCullough and Republican senators were working together to make the letter public.
January 22, 2016 – Due to inclement weather, the State Department asks for a one-month extension to release Clinton’s remaining emails. January 29 is the original deadline set by the courts for releasing all of the emails on Clinton’s private server.
January 25, 2016 – Attorneys for VICE News and journalist Jason Leopold tell a federal judge that a delay in releasing the remaining emails would “cause grave, incurable harm” because the releases would be after the initial presidential primaries.
January 29, 2016 – The State Department releases the second-to-last batch of emails from Clinton’s private server. The State Department also announces that 22 emails would not be released due to their containing “top secret” information. The emails are said to have not contained classified information at the time they were sent.
February 1, 2016 – On CNN’s “New Day,” Clinton comments that there is nothing new with her email controversy and that the information regarding the 22 top secret emails is a “dispute about retroactive classification.”
February 4, 2016 – During a State Department review of the past five secretaries’ of state emailing practices, it is revealed that former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice had received emails containing classified information through personal email accounts. The State Department found that Powell received two emails that are now deemed classified and that Rice and her staff received 10 emails.
February 10, 2016 – Judge Rudolph Contreras expresses dismay and determines that the delays in releasing the remaining of Clinton’s emails is unreasonable.
February 11, 2016 – Contreras orders the remaining emails to be released in four installments over the next three weeks on February 13, 19, 26 and 29.
February 23, 2016 – U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan considers ordering subpoenas of Clinton and aide Huma Abedin, but he ultimately decides to wait and rule in favor of discovery.
February 26, 2016 – The State Department releases 881 emails, approximately 1,500 pages, of the remaining emails. As of this release, 1,840 emails have been retroactively upgraded to classified. The last 4,000 pages of Clinton’s emails are set to be released on February 29.
February 29, 2016 – The State Department releases the final batch of Clinton’s emails. In total, more than 52,000 pages of emails have been reviewed with 2,101 being retroactively classified and 22 being upgraded to top secret. One of the final unclassified emails is being withheld from the public at the request of law enforcement.
March 2, 2016 – Bryan Pagliano has agreed to provide an interview with investigators and accepted an offer of immunity from the FBI and the Justice Department. Pagliano is a former Clinton staffer who helped set up the private email server.
March 6, 2016 – In an interview with John Dickerson on “Face the Nation,” Clinton says that she believes the controversy surrounding her private email server is nearing its end and that she’s “delighted” that Pagliano is cooperating with the investigation.
March 9, 2016 – The Republican National Committee files two lawsuits against the State Department asking it to release the emails of all Clinton’s aides during her time there. The RNC cited violations of the Freedom of Information Act in not releasing the information in a timely manner. It asks that State release them by July 1, 2016 – before the Democratic National Convention.
March 10, 2016 – In a letter addressed to the Inspector General of National Intelligence Charles McCullough II and Inspector General of the Department of State Steve Linick, a group of Democratic senators express concerns about the impartiality of the investigations into Clinton’s email server.
April 10, 2016 – Obama defends Clinton in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” but “guarantees” that he will not interfere with the ongoing investigation into her private email server.
May 4, 2016 – Judge Emmet G. Sullivan approves a proposal by Judicial Watch and the State Department to take depositions from current and former State Department officials. Some of the officials included in the depositions are former State Department chief of staff Cheryl D. Mills, Abedin and Pagliano.
May 5, 2016 – Clinton’s aides and State Department staff, including longtime adviser Abedin, provide interviews to federal investigators.
May 25, 2016 – A State Department Inspector General report says Clinton failed to follow the rules or inform key department staff regarding her use of a private email server, according to a copy of the report obtained by CNN.
The report states: “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with Department business before leaving government service and, because she did not do so, she did not comply with the Department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
May 31, 2016 – Mills’ deposition is released. In her deposition, Mills states she was “not aware” of any high-level discussion about Clinton’s decision to use a private server for official communications but her use of a personal account was understood. Mills also refuted claims that her server was kept quiet.
June 1, 2016 – In a newly released filing, State Department lawyers argue that it would take 75 years to release all of the 450,000 pages of records for former Clinton aides Mills and Jacob Sullivan and top State Department official Patrick Kennedy.
“Given the Department’s current FOIA workload and the complexity of these documents, it can process about 500 pages a month, meaning it would take approximately 16-and-2/3 years to complete the review of the Mills documents, 33-and-1/3 years to finish the review of the Sullivan documents, and 25 years to wrap up the review of the Kennedy documents – or 75 years in total,” the State Department argued in the filing.
June 6, 2016 – The lawyer for Pagliano, former State Department IT specialist, tells a federal judge his client’s immunity deal with the Department of Justice does not cover testimony in civil lawsuits and he will refuse to answer questions at an upcoming deposition. Pagliano’s deposition is postponed.
June 9, 2016 – Judicial Watch announces that State lawyers could not track which employees were conducting business on the Clinton email server. When asked in a court interrogatory about who used clintonemail.com addresses, the State Department lawyers objected.
“State objects to this interrogatory on the grounds that it never possessed or controlled clintonemail.com, does not now possess or control clintonemail.com, and thus has no method of identifying which State Department officials and employees had and/or used an account on clintonemail.com to conduct official government business.”
June 19, 2016 – Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Justice Department probe into Clinton’s emails is being conducted the same as similar investigations. “The investigation into the State Department email matter is going to be handled like any other matter. We’ve got career agents and lawyers looking at that. They will follow the facts and follow the evidence wherever it leads and come to a conclusion,” she states during an interview with “Fox News Sunday.”
June 22, 2016 – A spokeswoman for Judicial Watch says that during Pagliano’s deposition, he invoked the 5th Amendment approximately 125 consecutive times.
June 21, 2016 – Clinton’s personal email set-up caused extensive troubles inside the State Department, including her own messages to top staffers getting lost in spam filters, according to a new deposition from Abedin.
July 1, 2016 – According to a Justice Department official, Lynch will accept the “determinations and findings” of the FBI and career prosecutors who are investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
July 2, 2016 – Clinton meets with the FBI for a three-and-a-half hour interview as part of the investigation into her use of a private email server while leading the State Department.
July 5, 2016 – FBI Director James Comey states that he would not recommend charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. However, Comey does note that Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” handling classified information.
July 6, 2016 – Lynch makes it official that Clinton will not be charged for her use of a personal email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
The same day, House Speaker Paul Ryan asks Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to deny Clinton access to any classified information for the rest of the 2016 campaign.
July 7, 2016 – Comey testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. During the hearing, Comey says, “The Petraeus case, to my mind, illustrates perfectly the kind of cases the Department of Justice is willing to prosecute.”
The same day, the State Department reopens its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
July 29, 2016 – A court filing reveals that the FBI has turned over “thousands of documents” to the State Department recovered during the investigation into Clinton’s email server. More recovered emails are expected to be turned over on August 5.
July 31, 2016 – Clinton defends her use of a private email server in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Clinton states: “[FBI Director James Comey] said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.” The Washington Post Fact Checkers give her their lowest rating, four Pinocchios, for this statement.
August 5, 2016 – Clinton attempts to clarify her comments during a “Fox News Sunday” interview.
“I was pointing out in both of those instances, that Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That really is the bottom line here,” she says. “What I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly. I may have short-circuited and for that I will try to clarify.”
August 9, 2016 – Judicial Watch releases 296 pages of Clinton’s emails, including 44 that Judicial Watch says were not previously handed over to the State Department. The emails raise questions about the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during her time as secretary of state.
August 15, 2016 – The State Department agrees to turn over all official emails sent or received by Clinton that were recovered from her private email server to Judicial Watch.
August 19, 2016 – Judge Emmet Sullivan denies a request by Judicial Watch to depose Clinton in person over her email server. The judge does states that she will have to answer written questions.
August 20, 2016 – Powell responds to the allegations that he gave Clinton the idea to use a private email account. Powell says, “Her people are trying to pin it on me.”
August 22, 2016 – A federal judge sets a preliminary schedule for the release of nearly 15,000 documents the State Department received from the FBI as a part of their investigation into Clinton’s email server.
August 24, 2016 – During an interview with Anderson Cooper, Clinton is asked about her and Powell’s claims concerning her use of a private email. She responds:
“I am not going to relitigate in public my private conversation with him,” Clinton says. “I have been asked many, many questions in the past year about emails, and what I have learned is that when I try to explain what happened, it can sound like I am trying to excuse what I did. And there are no excuses. I want people to know that the decision to have a single email account was mine. I take responsibility for it. I apologize for it. I would certainly do differently if I could.” She adds, “I believe the public will be and is considering my full record and experience as they consider their choice for president.”
September 7, 2016 – According to emails released by congressional Democrats, Powell told Clinton that he used his own personal computer to communicate and send emails with friends and foreign leaders without going through the State Department’s server.
September 13, 2016 – Pagliano, a former State Department staffer who was involved in setting up and maintaining Clinton’s private email server, refuses to appear at a hearing before the House Oversight Committee.
September 22, 2016 – Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee vote to hold Pagliano in contempt for failing to appear at a hearing.
September 23, 2016 – It is revealed that Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff and adviser at the State Department, was given a limited immunity deal by the FBI during its investigation of Clinton’s private email server.
October 28, 2016 – In a letter to Congress, Comey says the FBI is reviewing new emails related to Clinton’s time as secretary of state, according to a letter sent to eight congressional committee chairmen. The emails are discovered as part of an investigation into Anthony Weiner and were sent or received by Clinton aide Abedin.
November 6, 2016 – Based on a review of the newly discovered emails, Comey tells lawmakers that the agency has not changed its opinion that Clinton should not face criminal charges.