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On Friday, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to a Congressional Judiciary Committee explaining that the FBI had decided to reopen the case investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. The three page letter did not go into much detail which lead the Clinton campaign to respond. Campaign Chair John Podesta released a statement calling on Comey and the FBI to release more information surrounding their reasoning considering the election is less than two weeks away. The statement from Podesta is below.
“Upon completing this investigation more than three months ago, FBI Director Comey declared no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with a case like this and added that it was not even a close call. In the months since, Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been baselessly second-guessing the FBI and, in both public and private, browbeating the career officials there to revisit their conclusion in a desperate attempt to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen. Already, we have seen characterizations that the FBI is ‘reopening’ an investigation but Comey’s words do not match that characterization. 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.
It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election.
The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.”
The FBI did elaborate later in the day saying that additional evidence related to the Clinton investigation was discovered on a laptop seized during the investigation of Rep. Anthony Weiner. FBI officials said that the bureau will investigate the newly discovered emails on the laptop and that it is possible that the emails could be duplicates of ones previously turned over by the Clinton camp. State Department officials said they have not been made aware of the FBI’s new evidence. More details are likely to be released in the coming weeks, but the news of a reopened investigation could affect Clinton at the polls.
Read the letter from Comey to Congress below (download the letter HERE).
UPDATE (10/28): Following an event in Des Moines, Iowa, Hillary Clinton spoke at a press event and addressed the issues of the FBI reopening its investigation. Clinton said that the FBI needs to release additional details regarding its investigation with the election being less than two weeks away. “Voting is underway, so the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately,” she said. She said that she was confident that nothing new would be found and that she did not know what new evidence the FBI might be referring to adding, “Right now, your guess is as good as mine, and I don’t think that’s good enough.” A video of Clinton’s statement is below.
UPDATE (10/29): The Washington Post obtained a copy of an internal memo sent by FBI director James Comey to FBI employees. In the letter, he briefly explains his reasoning for taking the early details of an investigation to Congress. Read the letter below:
This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.
Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.
UPDATE (10/30): The FBI announced that it obtained a warrant to search the emails found on a laptop belonging to former Congressman Anthony Weiner. While it is unclear how many emails on the laptop, if any, are relevant to the Hillary Clinton email investigation, an official revealed that there are over 650,000 emails on the computer. It is likely that the majority belong to the former Congressman, but his wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin, also used the laptop. FBI officials also revealed today that several lower level investigators knew the emails existed weeks ago, but only recently brought them to the attend of Director James Comey. It is also unclear why a warrant was received after Comey briefed Congress of the investigation on Friday.
Hillary for America campaign chair John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook have been on the defensive since the revelations were announced. The campaign released a video about the facts of the case and calling for more details to be released considering the timing. The video released by The Briefing is below.
UPDATE (10/31): Former Attorney General Eric Holder wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he called FBI director James Comey “a good man,” but said that he made a mistake by telling Congress about evidence that may have nothing to do with the Hillary Clinton email case. In the editorial, Holder says, “The department has a practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations. Indeed, except in exceptional circumstances, the department will not even acknowledge the existence of an investigation. The department also has a policy of not taking unnecessary action close in time to Election Day that might influence an election’s outcome. These rules have been followed during Republican and Democratic administrations. They aren’t designed to help any particular individual or to serve any political interest. Instead, they are intended to ensure that every investigation proceeds fairly and judiciously; to maintain the public trust in the department’s ability to do its job free of political influence; and to prevent investigations from unfairly or unintentionally casting public suspicion on public officials who have done nothing wrong.” Read the full editorial HERE.