FBI Director James Comey is set to face the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday amid renewed scrutiny of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which he ended in July without recommending indictments for anyone involved.
Republicans in Congress have expressed outrage over the findings that have been made public in recent weeks, from previously-undisclosed immunity deals to evidence that a witness sought advice from a public forum on how to destroy records.
The bureau quietly released nearly 200 pages of notes from its investigative file on Friday evening. Those records suggested some witnesses had felt "pressure" not to classify anything in the collection of Benghazi-related emails provided to Congress and the public in May 2015.
FBI notes made public earlier this month unveiled what appeared to be a deliberate effort among some Clinton aides to conceal emails. Members of her team had smashed Blackberry phones with a hammer and deployed a digital deletion tool called BleachBit to scrub records beyond recovery.
Comey has weathered fierce criticism over his handling of the Clinton email case. Because he declined an invitation earlier this month to brief lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee about the classified information in Clinton's emails, the hearing Wednesday will mark the first time he has faced questioning about the case since his appearance before Congess in July, shortly after he announced his intention to close the investigation.
The FBI director appeared before the Senate Homeland Security Committee Tuesday to discuss the bureau's counterterrorism efforts. In what was perhaps a preview of the grilling Comey could face Wednesday, the director was asked about the immunity agreement offered to Cheryl Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff.
Comey is likely to face many questions about his decision to clear Clinton and her team of criminal wrongdoing despite concluding they had demonstrated "extreme carelessness" in their treatment of classified material. Here are five questions about the case that remain unanswered.
Why did Cheryl Mills need an immunity agreement to cooperate with the FBI?
Comey told the Senate Homeland Security Committee Tuesday that the immunity agreement was offered to Mills because agents needed to obtain materials off her laptop in a timely fashion. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee similarly focused on the limitations of Mills' protections last week, arguing the partial immunity agreement was inconsequential because it covered only the contents of her hard drive.
But Republicans have wondered how such an immunity deal served the investigation, when four other witnesses had already been shielded from prosecution through separate agreements.
Critics have noted that immunity is not a prerequisite for cooperation in criminal probes, questioning whether the Justice Department pursued any other approaches to obtaining Mills' laptop before offering her a deal.
Did the FBI know about the suspicious Reddit posts?
Paul Combetta — an employee at Platte River Networks, the firm hired in 2013 to manage Clinton's emails — is suspected of posting information about the former secretary of state's email network to Reddit in 2014. Posts believed to have been authored by Combetta surfaced earlier this month and suggested the Platte River specialist had sought advice on how to conceal Clinton's private address from records that would be turned over to the State Department.
Members of Congress have written to the Justice Department to inquire about whether agents knew about the posts when they dismissed the possibility that Clinton's team intentionally destroyed emails.
Combetta is among the five witnesses to receive immunity deals. His agreement with the Justice Department was not initially disclosed by the FBI and became public knowledge earlier this month through a New York Times report.
Why did two of Clinton's lawyers receive immunity deals?
Mills and Heather Samuelson, a former State Department official, both received protection from prosecution to turn over their laptops to the FBI.
Both also served as personal attorneys for Clinton during the case. Mills invoked attorney-client privilige during a deposition in May when asked under oath to describe conversations with Clinton about the server.
Legal experts have widely criticized the decision to allow immunized witnesses to serve as counsel for the target of an investigation. Comey is likely to face questions about why such an arrangement was deemed necessary to extract information from Mills and Samuelson given their precarious legal positions.
Samuelson was the aide who sorted through all 60,000 of Clinton's emails to determine which she would turn over to the State Department and which she would delete.
Was anyone at the White House questioned about their knowledge of the server?
Buried in the 189 pages of notes the FBI released on Friday was the revelation that President Obama had communicated with Clinton on her private server using a pseudonym.
Obama has previously claimed he learned about Clinton's personal email use by reading about it in the news.
But his use of a fake name to send messages to Clinton's server has raised suspicions that his team was aware of Clinton's reliance on a private server.
Given the possibility that sensitive White House equities could have been exposed through Clinton's unsecured network, Congress could ask Comey whether his agents contacted the president's office during their year-long investigation.
Why was John Bentel protected?
John Bentel, a now-retired IT aide at the State Department during Clinton's tenure, also received an immunity agreement during the FBI investigation.
Bentel is one of several agency officials believed to have known about the server while Clinton was secretary of state, despite the administration's insistence that Clinton operated her private network without the knowledge or consent of the State Department.
The retired IT staffer has sparked controversy in the past, particularly when the State Department inspector general found he had instructed two lower-level officials never to speak of Clinton's emails again after they asked him questions about her records.
Bentel rejected congressional Republicans' requests to question him earlier this year. Comey will likely be asked to explain the Justice Department's decision to shield Bentel from prosecution.