The State Department on Monday disclosed for the first time that its own investigators are investigating how Hillary Clinton and her top aides communicated with each other before and after she stepped down as secretary of state in 2017.
In a pair of agency documents, the State Department said it is reviewing “information that suggests the use of personal email for government business may not have been authorized, which would be a clear violation of federal recordkeeping requirements.”
Mrs. Clinton is still deeply ensnared in the controversy over her use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department.
Her decision in March 2015 to use a private email account to discuss matters ranging from counterterrorism to responding to the French hostage situation, and her later refusal to provide the emails from that server, has dogged her during the presidential campaign.
The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
The disclosure of the State Department investigation is another twist in what has become a long-running saga over the circumstances surrounding Mrs. Clinton’s exclusive use of private email.
The new State Department documents were released in response to questions from news outlets, including The New York Times, about why the agency had issued a blanket statement last week that Mrs. Clinton had not committed a federal recordkeeping violation in her use of personal email during her tenure.
The Times later found out that the State Department had issued a memo to bureau chiefs affirming that Mrs. Clinton had not violated the agency’s policies for using personal email.
One of the documents was prepared by the department’s management office for the Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, to brief members of Congress and others on its probe. The other document — a memo from Bill Tavenner, the acting secretary of health and human services — is a list of 20 questions that are expected to be asked during a congressional hearing on Friday about the use of personal email at the Health and Human Services Department.
The State Department had previously said it had concluded in a review of “over 55,000 pages of documents” that Mrs. Clinton and her staff complied with the proper practices for the use of personal email in connection with government business. But the agency has refused to provide details about its review.
“State agrees that this inquiry at the inspector general level is in order,” Mr. Sullivan wrote. “All of us look forward to the inquiry’s resolution.”