James Comey , FBI director testifying on Capitol Hill in July. (Photo by Al Drago from The New York Times)
Blog post by Patrick Pickett
On Sunday, October 30, federal law enforcement officials secured a warrant to search the emails of a Hillary Clinton aide, effectively reopening their investigation of the Democratic nominee’s email server.
Officials found Huma Abedin’s emails on Friday, during an unrelated investigation involving Abedin’s husband, former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner, and his own email correspondence with a 15 year-old girl. In a letter to Congress, FBI director James Comey said the Bureau would examine the emails to see if they contained any classified information.
Federal officials noted that it was unlikely the Justice Department would change their stance that neither Clinton or her aides should be charged with anything. Investigators added it was possible the re-opened investigation wouldn’t lead them to any new information, but they felt obligated to check. Comey has received criticism from the Clinton campaign, and supporters, due to the timing of the investigation being under two weeks before the Presidential election. The FBI is under pressure to complete their investigation before election day, and is working to complete their review of the emails before polls officially open.
The current investigation will be handled by the same team that started the initial investigation earlier in the year, and the review will determine whether or not Abedin mishandled classified information, or did anything to impede the original investigation. According to an article by the New York Times, investigators will also try to find out if the messages include any that weren’t originally turned over to the FBI.
Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump praised the recent decision by the FBI at a rally in New Hampshire:
“I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the D.O.J. are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made,” said Trump.
Meanwhile the Clinton campaign called for the FBI to come forward with more information than what was mentioned in Comey’s letter:
“Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are, and the director himself notes they may not even be significant,” said John Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s campaign. He added that a development like this, just 11 days before a Presidential election was “extraordinary.”
In light of the criticism he has received, Director Comey said he thought he was obligated to reveal the existence of new emails, and that not telling Congress would have opened the Bureau up to criticism and would’ve haunted the department for years.