FBI Investigating New Information Regarding Hillary Clinton… Because Of The Anthony Weiner Sexting Investigation
from the never-email dept
Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server (at times kept in her own basement…) has obviously been a big story during this campaign — and for a variety of obvious, yet stupid, reasons, the discussion has become ridiculously partisan. What people should be able to admit on all sides of the debate is that Clinton’s use of a private email server was incredibly stupid and, at the very least, calls into serious question the judgment of whoever told her this was okay. It also, almost certainly, put serious information at risk of being exposed through hacks. But, earlier this year, the FBI came out and said that it didn’t actually break the law. There was a bit of the old “high court, low court” to this whole setup, because you could see how someone with much less fame or status would be nailed to the wall by the DOJ if they wanted to put that person away.
Either way, the surprise of today is the new announcement by James Comey that the FBI is investigating some new emails that were apparently discovered in an “unrelated case” on “a device.” There were a couple of hours of speculation on this, with gradual denials — not the Wikileaks investigation, not the Clinton Foundation investigation — until it was revealed that it was from the investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting. Law enforcement seized devices belonging to both Weiner and his then wife (they’ve since filed for divorce), Huma Abedin, who is a close Clinton aide (and who also had an email account on the private Clinton server). Other reports have noted that the emails aren’t ones that were withheld from the original investigation, so it’s not an issue of withholding info, but could potentially reveal issues about the motivations and setup of the private server.
In political circles this is raising eyebrows, coming just 11 days before the election, in a campaign where Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, has repeatedly pointed to her use of an email server as a reason that she should be in jail, and even promising to appoint a special prosecutor to go after her for this (which, uh, actually isn’t how the President is supposed to use that power, but…). Comey’s letter doesn’t go into much detail, though reporters have been getting more and more details. The letter was sent to a variety of people in Congress, on key committees, including the heads of the Intelligence, Judiciary, Oversight and Homeland Security committees.
Dear Messrs Chairmen:
In previous congressional testimony, I referred to the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had completed its investigation of former Secretary Clinton’s personal email server. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.
In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.
Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.
In a perfect world, this kind of story should lead to open discussions on better email technologies, email etiquette, encryption, over-classification and such. Instead, everyone’s going to play political hacky sack with this one, with Clinton supporters arguing it’s no big deal (though it is) and Trump supporters either feeling vindicated for earlier claims or arguing that the FBI failed to do its job properly before. This campaign has been nothing if not full of surprises.