Near the beginning of a recent interview, an FBI investigator broached a topic with longtime Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills that her lawyer and the Justice Department had agreed would be off limits, according to several people familiar with the matter.
Mills and her lawyer left the room — though both returned a short time later — and prosecutors were somewhat taken aback that their FBI colleague had ventured beyond what was anticipated, the people said.
Investigators consider Mills — who served as chief of staff while Clinton was secretary of state — to be a cooperative witness. But the episode demonstrates some of the tension surrounding the criminal probe into possible mishandling of classified information involving the leading Democratic presidential candidate. In the coming weeks, prosecutors and FBI agents hope to be able to interview Clinton herself as they work to bring the case to a close.
The incident was described to The Washington Post by several people, including U.S. law enforcement officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing and those involved could face professional consequences for discussing it publicly.