Presidential Election 2016
A federal judge removed any doubt regarding the probe into Hillary Clinton's email scandal today, calling it a "criminal investigation."
The presumptive Democratic nominee has frequently insisted that the investigation into her alleged mishandling of her private email server is nothing more than a "security review."
And last week, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest caused an uproar when he admitted that what was previously labeled a security inquiry was actually a criminal investigation. Earnest later clarified that he was not an expert on the matter.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan is well versed on the investigation, however, and officially called the probe a "criminal investigation" when discussing Clinton's IT specialist, Bryan Pagliano.
"The privacy interests at stake are high because the government's criminal investigation, through which Mr. Pagliano received limited immunity, is ongoing and confidential," Sullivan wrote in an order issued Tuesday.
Pagliano, who helped set up Clinton's private email server while working for the State Department, was recently granted immunity by the Justice Department, meaning that if he cooperates with the investigation, anything he reveals cannot be used against him. He is unable to invoke fifth amendment rights as well.
"In the Court's opinion, the need for public access to Mr. Pagliano's agreement with the government is minimal. Mr. Pagliano's immunity agreement has not previously been disclosed," Sullivan wrote. "Mr. Pagliano and the government object to disclosure of the immunity agreement. Mr. Pagliano's immunity agreement with the government was filed with the Court by Mr. Pagliano solely to enable the Court to assess the legitimacy of his intent to assert his Fifth Amendment rights in this civil proceeding."
Pagliano is expected to give a videotaped deposition before the end of June. But Sullivan said the tape would remain sealed from the public.