FBI to in­ves­ti­gate Clin­ton aide’s email

Ma­te­rial was on com­puter shared by Huma Abe­din and An­thony Weiner

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Del Quentin Wil­ber and Evan Halper

WASHINGTON — Just as Hil­lary Clin­ton ap­peared to be cruis­ing to Elec­tion Day with the wind at her back, the FBI rat­tled the pres­i­den­tial race Fri­day by an­nounc­ing that it is again prob­ing emails that might be re­lated to her pri­vate server, rekin­dling a po­lit­i­cally dam­ag­ing con­tro­versy for Clin­ton and rein­vig­o­rat­ing Repub­li­cans scram­bling to hold on to con­gres­sional seats.

The sur­prise word from FBI Direc­tor James Comey came after his agency dis­cov­ered new com­mu­ni­ca­tions on a com­puter jointly used by close Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din and her es­tranged hus­band, An­thony Weiner, a for­mer New York con­gress­man, ac­cord­ing to U.S. law en­force­ment of­fi­cials.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors came across the emails while in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Weiner vi­o­lated fed­eral law when ex­chang­ing sex­u­ally ex­plicit texts with a15-year-old girl in North

Carolina, the of­fi­cials said.

Comey wrote in a let­ter to Congress that the newly dis­cov­ered mes­sages could be rel­e­vant to ques­tions of whether Clin­ton and her aides mis­han­dled clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion while she was sec­re­tary of state.

The emails were not to or from Clin­ton, and they con­tained in­for­ma­tion that ap­peared to be more of what agents had al­ready un­cov­ered, the of­fi­cial said, but in an abun­dance of cau­tion, they felt they needed to fur­ther scru­ti­nize them.

Be­cause Comey had told Congress that the FBI had fin­ished in­ves­ti­gat­ing Clin­ton’s server, he felt he needed to let law­mak­ers know that agents were look­ing into the case again in light of the re­cent dis­cov­ery, the of­fi­cials said.

The Clin­ton cam­paign was caught off guard, be­cause the let­ter emerged while the can­di­date and her en­tourage, in­clud­ing Abe­din, were fly­ing on a cam­paign plane with no work­ing Wi-Fi to a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Speak­ing briefly to re­porters after an event in Des Moines, Clin­ton called on Comey to re­lease more in­for­ma­tion. She said nei­ther she nor her cam­paign staff was con­tacted by the FBI.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple de­serve to get the full and com­plete facts im­me­di­ately,” she said.

Clin­ton also ex­pressed con­fi­dence that what­ever might be in the newly dis­cov­ered emails “will not change the con­clu­sion” Comey reached in July when he an­nounced he would not rec­om­mend crim­i­nal charges.

Min­utes after the news broke, Don­ald Trump took the stage in Manch­ester, N.H., to sug­gest the FBI was all but ready to in­dict Clin­ton — which Comey’s let­ter hardly sug­gested.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cor­rup­tion is on a scale we have never seen be­fore,” Trump said. He branded the lat­est news from the FBI “big­ger than Water­gate.”

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, ex­co­ri­ated Comey’s tim­ing.

“The FBI has a his­tory of ex­treme cau­tion near Elec­tion Day so as not to in­flu­ence the re­sults,” she said in a state­ment. “To­day’s break from that tra­di­tion is ap­palling.”

Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Chair­man Chuck Grass­ley of Iowa, a Repub­li­can, said in a state­ment, “The let­ter from Direc­tor Comey was un­so­licited and, quite hon­estly, sur­pris­ing. But it’s left a lot more ques­tions than an­swers for both the FBI and Sec­re­tary Clin­ton. Congress and the pub­lic de­serve more con­text to prop­erly as­sess what ev­i­dence the FBI has dis­cov­ered and what it plans to do with it.”

Repub­li­can Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asked in a tweet: “Why is FBI do­ing this just 11 days be­fore the elec­tion?”

Comey had writ­ten in his let­ter that he could not as­sess whether the new mes­sages con­tained “sig­nif­i­cant” ma­te­rial or “how long it will take us to com­plete this ad­di­tional work.”

The re­view could take weeks and will not be com­pleted by Nov. 8, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said.

The short note put Comey, a Repub­li­can who was ap­pointed by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, back un­der an un­wel­come spot­light.

Democrats who had praised his han­dling of the email in­ves­ti­ga­tion this year, when Comey de­clared he had re­viewed the ev­i­dence and found it did not merit crim­i­nal charges against Clin­ton and her staff, are now ques­tion­ing his judg­ment.

Repub­li­cans who ac­cused Comey of cov­er­ing up Clin­ton’s mis­deeds then were laud­ing his courage Fri­day. Trump said the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem “might not be as rigged as I thought.”

BAO DANDAN/ZUMA PRESS

FBI chief James Comey says dis­cov­ered mes­sages could be rel­e­vant to whether Hil­lary Clin­ton mis­han­dled U.S. se­crets.

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