Why FBI said it had ‘probable cause’ to go after Clinton-related emails in election’s final stretch
A federal judge on Tuesday released an October warrant used by the FBI to search additional emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private server, casting light on a development that at the time sent shockwaves through the final stretch of the presidential race.
The partially redacted document shows that the FBI in late October told federal magistrate judge Kevin Fox there was “probable cause” to believe that a laptop owned by Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner could contain classified information in email exchanges between Clinton and Abedin. They based this partially on the conclusion that other emails between the pair had classified information in them.
The FBI later told Congress that the newly discovered emails did not alter its earlier conclusions that Clinton should not be prosecuted for her handling of sensitive data. Comey said earlier this year that Clinton’s team was “extremely careless” with classified information but added that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against her.
Comey’s letter to lawmakers about the emails found on Weiner’s laptop jolted the last week of the presidential race. Then-candidate Donald Trump jumped on the news, claiming it showed Clinton’s inability to serve. Clinton partially blamed the Comey announcement for her loss in remarks to donors, according to NBC News.
No charges have been brought in relation to the handling of classified information, but some Trump associates have said they’ll push for a prosecution after the White House transition.
Some Democrats, meanwhile, have seized on the FBI’s handling of those emails as a possible factor in the electoral outcome, which saw Trump outperform polling averages in key states to pull off an unexpected victory.
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon contended Tuesday that the document shows the email search was “utterly unjustified.”
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