New York Times: The FBI Knew a Month Ago that the Laptop they Seized Could have Relevant Emails

by ryeland –

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The most compelling reason to suspect partisan motives for FBI Director James Comey’s vague disclosure on Friday is its timing, days before a presidential election. Well now the New York Times is reporting that when the FBI seized the Weiner-Abedin laptop on October 3rd, they were already aware of the possibility that it contained emails related to the Clinton server investigation.

After reports surfaced late last month that Mr. Weiner had sent illicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, top prosecutors in Charlotte and Manhattan jockeyed for the case. Senior officials in the Justice Department decided that if there were a prosecution, it would take place in New York under the supervision of the United States attorney there, Preet Bharara.

About the same time, agents in the F.B.I.’s New York field office understood that the Weiner investigation could possibly turn up additional emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s private server, according to a senior federal law enforcement official. Mr. Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, is a top adviser to Mrs. Clinton…

On Oct. 3, the F.B.I. seized several electronic devices, including a laptop, Mr. Weiner’s iPhone and an iPad that was in large measure used by his 4-year-old son to watch cartoons, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Days later, F.B.I. agents also confiscated a Wi-Fi router that could identify any other devices that had been used, the person said.

So the FBI’s New York field office knew when they got the case there was a good chance they would find some of Huma Abedin’s work emails. And I’m certain James Comey knew that as well. Since October 3rd, the FBI had possession of several devices they suspected of having emails relevant to the Clinton investigation. The also knew that any relevant emails could be duplicates of ones they had already looked at.

The New York Times’ law enforcement sources are less specific about when the FBI determined there were relevant emails on the laptop, but it’s difficult to believe that making such a determination — one way or another — wasn’t a priority. More than likely they’ve been sitting on this for weeks.

Providing further context is the revelation today that Attorney General Loretta Lynch advised Comey that releasing this information right before an election would be a violation Department of Justice policies:

Comey’s decision is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections.

“You don’t do this,” one former senior Justice Department official exclaimed. “It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.”

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos