Of­fi­cial: FBI gets email war­rant

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Eric Tucker

The FBI has ob­tained a war­rant to be­gin re­view­ing newly dis­cov­ered emails that may be rel­e­vant to the Hil­lary Clin­ton email server in­ves­ti­ga­tion, a law en­force­ment of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Sun­day.

FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors want to re­view emails of long­time Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din that were found on a de­vice seized dur­ing an un­re­lated sex­ting in­ves­ti­ga­tion of An­thony Weiner, a for­mer New York con­gress­man and Abe­din’s es­tranged hus­band.

The of­fi­cial, who has knowl­edge of the ex­am­i­na­tion, would not say when in­ves­ti­ga­tors might com­plete the re­view of Abe­din’s emails but said they would move ex­pe­di­tiously.

The Clin­ton email in­quiry, which closed with­out charges in July, resur­faced on Fri­day when FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey alerted mem­bers of Congress to the ex­is­tence of emails that he said could be per­ti­nent to that in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The FBI wants to re­view the emails to see if they con­tain clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion and were han­dled prop­erly, the fo­cus of the ear­lier Clin­ton in­quiry.

Sep­a­rately Sun­day, an­other law en­force­ment of­fi­cial said FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tors in the Weiner sex­ting probe knew for weeks about the ex­is­tence of the emails po­ten­tially re­lated to the probe of Clin­ton’s server. A third law en­force­ment of­fi­cial also said the FBI was aware for a pe­riod of time about the emails be­fore Comey was briefed, but wasn’t more spe­cific.

In his let­ter that roiled the White House race, Comey said he’d been briefed on Thurs­day about the Abe­din emails and had agreed that in­ves­ti­ga­tors should take steps to re­view them.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear Sun­day what steps in­ves­ti­ga­tors took once the emails were first found to fully ad­vise FBI lead­ers that ad­di­tional and po­ten­tially rel­e­vant mes­sages had been dis­cov­ered.

The of­fi­cials were not au­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter by name and spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

The tim­ing of Comey’s let­ter less than two weeks be­fore Elec­tion Day drew crit­i­cism from Democrats and some Repub­li­cans who cast it as un­prece­dented and as po­ten­tially tip­ping the scales in the pres­i­den­tial race in fa­vor of Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump.

En­er­gized by the news, the GOP pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee has ral­lied his sup­port­ers, call­ing the lat­est de­vel­op­ments worse than Water­gate and ar­gu­ing that his can­di­dacy has the mo­men­tum in the fi­nal days of the race.

“We never thought we were go­ing to say ‘thank you’ to An­thony Weiner,” Trump said in Ne­vada.

Trump also high­lighted re­ports that the Jus­tice Depart­ment had dis­cour­aged the FBI from alert­ing Congress to the un­ex­pected dis­cov­ery of the emails, and said the depart­ment is try­ing “so hard” to pro­tect Clin­ton.

Comey told FBI col­leagues in a memo Fri­day that he was aware the let­ter to Congress was at risk of be­ing mis­un­der­stood, but he said he felt ob­li­gated to no­tify law­mak­ers about the new emails af­ter hav­ing told them that the mat­ter was closed.

Dozens of for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors, in­clud­ing for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder, have signed a let­ter crit­i­cal of Comey’s de­ci­sion. And Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., wrote to Comey say­ing the ac­tion may have vi­o­lated the law.

Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server while sec­re­tary of State has dogged her cam­paign since early last year. In July, Comey rec­om­mended against crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion af­ter a months-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but re­buked Clin­ton and her aides for be­ing care­less with clas­si­fied ma­te­rial.

Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials who were ad­vised of the FBI’s in­ten­tion to no­tify Congress about the dis­cov­ery ex­pressed con­cern that the ac­tion would be in­con­sis­tent with depart­ment pro­to­cols de­signed to avoid the ap­pear­ance of in­ter­fer­ence in an elec­tion. Comey acted in­de­pen­dently when he sent sev­eral mem­bers of Congress a let­ter about the emails on Fri­day, said one of the of­fi­cials.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear what the Abe­din emails were about or what sig­nif­i­cance, if any, they car­ried to the Clin­ton email server in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A per­son fa­mil­iar with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, who lacked author­ity to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly and in­sisted on anonymity, said the de­vice that ap­pears to be at the cen­ter of the new re­view was a com­puter that be­longed only to Weiner and was not one he shared with Abe­din.

As a re­sult, it was not a de­vice searched for workre­lated emails at the time of the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The per­son said it is “news to (Abe­din)” that her emails would be on a com­puter be­long­ing to her hus­band.

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