Monday, 31 October 2016

The Hillary email scandal - 10/30/2016

Process has begun’: FBI scouring 650k emails on Clinton aide husband’s laptop in reopened case



RT,
30 October, 2016


The FBI has reportedly obtained a warrant to dig through hundreds of thousands of newly-discovered emails allegedly related to a private server used by Hillary Clinton. It’s unclear if the renewed probe will achieve any results before US Election Day.

The search warrant allows the bureau to scour through some 650,000 emails discovered on a laptop belonging to ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner and apparently also used by his wife, Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin. The probe is set to check if any of the texts are related to the reopened investigation of the former secretary of state’s private email use.


The authorization came two days after FBI Director James Comey finally revealed the existence of the emails stash which was reportedly discovered by the agency in early October.

The process has begun,” a federal law enforcement official told the New York Times.

The new emails were discovered as part of a separate ‘sexting’ probe into former Representative Anthony Weiner (D-New York). His electronic devices were seized during that investigation.

Abedin claims she has no knowledge of any of her emails being on the electronic device belonging to her husband, CBS News haslearned on Sunday. A source told the network that newly-discovered emails belonged to Weiner, not his wife, who left her husband earlier this year over his sexting addiction.

Clinton's longtime aide is allegedly cooperating with the investigation and “seemed surprised that the emails were there,” according to the CBS source.

On Friday, FBI Director Comey announced that due to new findings, the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server had been reopened, as he sent a letter notifying Congress of the email review.

The review, which is likely to take weeks, will seek to determine whether any of those messages are work-related, and whether they include either classified information or important new evidence in the probe aimed to check whether Clinton’s actions undermined US national security.


'I can't predict how long this will take us to complete' - Comey on reopening Clinton email investigation


The unexpected announcement came just over a week before Americans head to the polls to determine the winner in the race for the White House between Democrat Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Even though some of those emails passed through Clinton’s private server and could be duplicates of the information already handled by the FBI as part of the previous investigation, the probe is unlikely to wrap up before November 8.

Concerned by the FBI’s move to relaunch the investigation so close to the election date, US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Sunday sent a letter to the FBI director hinting that Comey had violated the Hatch Act, which bars the use of an executive branch position to influence an election.

Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law,” Reid, a senator from Nevada, said in the letter to Comey.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook also questioned the legality of the FBI’s actions. Comey’s letter to Congress was “long on innuendo, short on facts,”Podesta told CNN's State of the Union. “We are calling on Mr. Comey to come forward and explain what’s at issue here,” Podesta said, adding the significance of the emails was unclear.

In the meantime, the NYT reported that senior Justice Department officials vowed to make all resources available to conduct the investigation as quickly as possible.

In July the FBI’s long investigation of Clinton’s private email use during her time as secretary of state ended without any charges.


The Rats Are Beginning To Flee The Sinking Clinton Ship


earlofstirling



650,000 Emails Found On Anthony Weiner's Laptop; DOJ Blocked Foundation Probe

30 October, 2016

Yesterday, we reported that the FBI has found "tens of thousands of emails" belonging to Huma Adein on Anthony Weiner's computer, raising questions how practical it is that any conclusive finding will be available or made by the FBI in the few days left before the elections

Now, according to the WSJ, it appears that Federal agents are preparing to scour roughly 650,000 emails that, as we reported moments ago were discovered weeks ago on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, to see how many relate to a prior probe of Hillary Clinton’s email use, as metadata on the device suggests there may be thousands sent to or from the private server that the Democratic nominee used while she was secretary of state, according to people familiar with the matter.

As the WSJ adds, the review will take weeks at a minimum to determine whether those messages are work-related emails between Huma Abedin, a close Clinton aide and the estranged wife of Mr. Weiner, and State Department officials; how many are duplicates of emails already reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and whether they include either classified information or important new evidence in the Clinton email probe, which FBI officials call “Midyear.”

And, as we further reported earlier today, the FBI has had to await a court order to begin reviewing the emails, because they were uncovered in an unrelated probe of Mr. Weiner, and that order was delayed for reasons that remain unclear.

More stunning is just how many emails were found on Weiner's computer. And while one can only imagine the content of some of the more persona ones, the WSJ writes that the latest development began in early October when New York-based FBI officials notified Andrew McCabe, the bureau’s second-in-command, that while investigating Mr. Weiner for possibly sending sexually charged messages to a minor, they had recovered a laptop with 650,000 emails. Many, they said, were from the accounts of Ms. Abedin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Those emails stretched back years, these people said, and were on a laptop that both Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin used and that hadn’t previously come up in the Clinton email probe. Ms. Abedin said in late August that the couple were separating.

The FBI had searched the computer while looking for child pornography, people familiar with the matter said, but the warrant they used didn’t give them authority to search for matters related to Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement at the State Department. Mr. Weiner has denied sending explicit or indecent messages to the teenager.
As reported yesterday, it appears that there are potentially tens of thousands of Abedin linked emails on Weiner's computer:
In their initial review of the laptop, the metadata showed many messages, apparently in the thousands, that were either sent to or from the private email server at Mrs. Clinton’s home that had been the focus of so much investigative effort for the FBI. Senior FBI officials decided to let the Weiner investigators proceed with a closer examination of the metadata on the computer, and report back to them.

The WSJ then connects the dots between how the Weiner emails were linked to the Clinton reopening of the Clinton probe, despite Loretta Lynch's and the DOJ's vocal urges not to do so:

At a meeting early last week of senior Justice Department and FBI officials, a member of the department’s senior national-security staff asked for an update on the Weiner laptop, the people familiar with the matter said. At that point, officials realized that no one had acted to obtain a warrant, these people said.

Mr. McCabe then instructed the email investigators to talk to the Weiner investigators and see whether the laptop’s contents could be relevant to the Clinton email probe, these people said. After the investigators spoke, the agents agreed it was potentially relevant.

Mr. Comey was given an update, decided to go forward with the case and notified Congress on Friday, with explosive results. Senior Justice Department officials had warned Mr. Comey that telling Congress would violate well-established policies against overt actions that could affect an election, and some within the FBI have been unhappy at Mr. Comey’s repeated public statements on the probe, going back to his first press conference on the subject in July.
But wait it gets better.

Recall that this is the same Andrew Mcabe whose wife the Wall Street Journal reported last week received $467,500 in campaign funds in late 2015 from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of the Clintons and, until he was elected governor in November 2013, a Clinton Foundation board member.

Mr. McAuliffe had supported Dr. McCabe in the hopes she and a handful of other Democrats might help win a majority in the state Senate, giving Mr. McAuliffe more sway in the state capitol. Dr. McCabe lost her race last November, and Democrats failed to win their majority.

FBI officials have said Mr. McCabe had no role in the Clinton email probe until he became deputy director, and there was no conflict of interest because by then his wife’s campaign was over.

Which brings us to the second big topic: the Clinton Foundation, and how the DOJ made sure that particular probe never made the light of day. At the same time as the Clinton server was being investigated, other Clinton-related investigations were under way within the FBI, and they have been the subject of internal debate for months.

Early this year, four FBI field offices—New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Little Rock, Ark.—were collecting information about the Clinton Foundation to see if there was evidence of financial crimes or influence-peddling, according to people familiar with the matter.

The WSJ touches on something fasctinating: Los Angeles agents had picked up information about the Clinton Foundation from an unrelated public corruption case and had issued some subpoenas for bank records related to the foundation, these people said. So where did that trail go? Apparently nowhere.

The Washington field office was probing financial relationships
involving Mr. McAuliffe before he became a Clinton Foundation board
member, these people said. Mr. McAuliffe has denied any wrongdoing, and
his lawyer has said the probe is focused on whether he failed to
register as an agent of a foreign entity. The FBI field office in New York had done the most work on the Clinton  Foundation case and received help from the FBI field office in Little Rock, the people familiar with the matter said.

In February, FBI officials made a presentation to the Justice Department, according to these people. By all accounts, the meeting didn’t go well.

Some said that is because the FBI didn’t present compelling evidence to justify more aggressive pursuit of the Clinton Foundation, and that the career public integrity prosecutors in the room simply believed it wasn’t a very strong case.Others said that from the start, the Justice Department officials were stern, icy and dismissive of the case.

That was one of the weirdest meetings I’ve ever been to,”one participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the matter.
Needless to say, the probe into the Foundation aded.

But back to the Clinton probe, according to a person familiar with the probes, on Aug. 12, a senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe, despite the department’s refusal to allow more aggressive investigative methods in the case. Mr. McCabe said agents still had the authority to pursue the issue as long as they didn’t use those methods.

At this point a question emerges: did McCabe seek to defend or press on with a Clinton probe:

Mr. McCabe’s defenders in the agency said that following the call, he repeated the instruction that he had given earlier in the Clinton Foundation investigation: Agents were to keep pursuing the work within the authority they had.

Others further down the FBI chain of command, however, said agents were given a much starker instruction on the case: “Stand down.” When agents questioned why they weren’t allowed to take more aggressive steps, they said they were told the order had come from the deputy director—Mr. McCabe. Others familiar with the matter deny Mr. McCabe or any other senior FBI official gave such a stand-down instruction.

At this point the two probes, into Hillary's email and the Clinton Foundation converged:

For agents who already felt uneasy about FBI leadership’s handling of the Clinton Foundation case, the moment only deepened their concerns, these people said. For those who felt the probe hadn’t yet found significant evidence of criminal conduct, the leadership’s approach was the right response to the facts on the ground.

Things accelerated over the past two months, when in September, agents on the foundation case asked to see the emails contained on nongovernment laptops that had been searched as part of the Clinton email case, but that request was rejected by prosecutors at the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. Those emails were given to the FBI based on grants of partial immunity and limited-use agreements, meaning agents could only use them for the purpose of investigating possible mishandling of classified information.

Some FBI agents were dissatisfied with that answer, and asked for permission to make a similar request to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. McCabe, these people said, told them no and added that they could not “go prosecutor-shopping.”

Not long after that discussion, FBI agents informed the bureau’s leaders about the Weiner laptop, prompting Mr. Comey’s disclosure to Congress and setting of the furor that promises to consume the final days of a tumultuous campaign

While much of the latest developments are known, or could have been inferred assuming more corruption within government agencies, the punchline is that the weeks if not months of upcoming work means that if Clinton wins the White House, she will likely do so amid at least one ongoing investigation into her inner circle being handled by law-enforcement officials who are deeply divided over how to manage such cases. It also means that Trump will be hounding Hilllary for the remainder of the campaign as being the only presidential candidate to seek election with a recently reopened criminal probe hanging over her head. 

FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe

Laptop may contain thousands of messages sent to or from Mrs. Clinton’s private server


Latest polls show Trump closing in on Clinton amid fall-out from FBI emails bombshell

Capturing Florida would give Trump a viable, if narrow, path to final victory
donald-trump.jpg

30 October, 2016

There are signs that the race for the White House is tightening amid continuing fall-out from the 11th-hour announcement by FBI director James Comey that he was assessing new emails potentially related to the use of a private email server by Hillary Clinton while Secretary of State.

Most notable were two new polls showing that her Republican rival, Donald Trump, may be finding a way back into the contest by becoming newly competitive in Florida, a key state with a large trove of Electoral College votes, without which he would have no plausible path to victory.

Additionally, a new Washington Post/ABC poll showed Ms Clinton leading Mr Trump by a perilously close two points nationally in a four-way race including Green Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson at 47 per cent versus 45 per cent, which is inside the margin of error. The same poll had Ms Clinton enjoying a huge 12-point lead just six days earlier.

But it is the movement in his favour in Florida that will particularly encourage Camp Trump. A New York Times Upshot/Siena poll released on Sunday had the GOP nominee up four points in Florida in a four-way race, 46 percent to 42 percent. While Ms Clinton has various ways to reach the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to clinch final victory even without Florida, that is almost certainly not the case for Mr Trump. He has to win it

All the new polls were conducted before Friday when Mr Comey dropped his new emails bomb, the precise impact of which remains uncertain. However, the anxiety it has created in Ms Clinton’s circle is tangible as one after another of her allies called on Mr Comey to clear up the confusion over what the new emails may or may not contain.

Their existence came to light in a brief letter sent by Mr Comey on Friday to leading members of Congress. It was extremely scant on detail, saying nothing beyond the fact that they may be “pertinent” to the investigation into her email server which the FBI formally concluded in July.

We are now leading in many polls, and many of these were taken before the criminal investigation announcement on Friday - great in states!

While it is now known that the new emails were found in devices shared by Huma Abedin, one of Ms Clinton’s closest aides, and her husband, from whom she is estranged, Anthony Weiner, there has been nothing more from Mr Comey on why they may be of interest. It even appears that many may be duplicates of emails the FBI has already analysed.

"We never thought we were going to say thank you to Anthony Weiner," Mr Trump declared at a rally in Las Vegas on Sunday, virtually taunting the Clinton campaign on the issue. "Corruption is corrosive to the soul of a Democracy, and it must be stopped. We have one ultimate check on Hillary’s corruption, and that is the power of voting. The only way to beat the corruption is to show up and vote by the tens of millions, including millions of people voting for the first time in their entire lives."

Adding to Democrat frustration has been confirmation that before he sent the letter, Mr Comey was strenuously advised to desist by the Justice Department which argued it would violate long-existing groundrules about not doing anything close to an election that could change its course.

It seems that Mr Comey may not even have seen the emails in question. In a subsequent email message to FBI employers on Friday, he said, “we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails”. Meanwhile, if he does decide to re-open his investigation, any new findings may not emerge until after election day.

As far as we know now, Director Comey knows nothing about the content of these emails. We don't know whether they're to or from Hillary at all,” Tim Kaine, her running mate, said on Sunday. He added that if Mr Comey “hasn't seen the emails, I mean they need to make that completely plain. Then they should work to see the emails and release the circumstances of those once they have done that analysis.”

Ms Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta, said the director’s handling of the matter was “inappropriate”. He also urged Mr Comey to be more transparent because the disclosure came “in the middle of the presidential campaign so close to the voting”.

Late on Saturday, meanwhile, a group of four Democratic senators – Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dianne Feinstein of California, Thomas Carper of Delaware and Benjamin Cardin of Maryland – wrote to Mr Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch demanding a full explanation of the FBI’s actions by Monday at the latest.

We request you provide us with more detailed information about the investigative steps being taken, the number of emails involved, and what is being done to determine how many of the emails are duplicative of those already reviewed by the FBI,” they wrote.

The first sign of Mr Trump closing the gap with his Democratic rival in the Sunshine State came in the middle of last week, when a Bloomberg News poll gave him his first lead there for several weeks. Sunday also saw the release of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll that had them essentially tied in Florida with Ms Clinton at 45 per cent and Mr Trump at 44 per cent.

Ms Clinton was in Miami this weekend. On Saturday night she joined Jennifer Lopez on stage at a concert held in support of her campaign and on Sunday she visited a Miami restaurant to urge Democrats to vote early. As patrons ate Sunday brunch, she said she wanted to get them “fuelled up” to head directly to early voting stations and cast their ballots.

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