Clinton calls on FBI to release ‘full and complete facts’ of email review
FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Friday the bureau is
reviewing new emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, a
development that shook her campaign 11 days before the election.
The emails being examined are part of an investigation into Anthony
Weiner, according to law enforcement sources. Weiner, the disgraced
former congressman, recently separated from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin
after a sexting incident.
13:10The FBI and the New York Police Department have opened preliminary
investigations of allegations that the former New York Democratic
congressman exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a purportedly
The FBI is looking at whether any of the newly discovered emails will
have an impact on the investigation into Clinton’s server that was
closed earlier this year.
After recommending in July that the Department of Justice not press
charges against the former secretary of state, Comey said in a letter to
eight congressional committee chairmen Friday that investigators are
examining newly discovered emails that “appear to be pertinent” to the
Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, explained
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the
existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation,” Comey
wrote the chairmen. “I am writing to inform you that the investigative
team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take
appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to
review these emails to determine whether they contain classified
information, as well as to assess their importance to our
Comey said he was not sure how long the additional review would take and
said the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta pressed Comey to release more information about the emails.
“FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more
information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican
committee chairmen,” Podesta said. “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.”
Comey felt he had no choice but to tell Congress now or risk being
accused of hiding relevant information before the election, law
enforcement officials said in explaining the timing. The letter was
“carefully worded,” one of the officials said.
The Department of Justice, which followed Comey’s recommendation not to charge Clinton, declined to comment Friday.
Law enforcement sources say the newly discovered emails are not related
to WikiLeaks or the Clinton Foundation. They would not describe in
further detail the content of the emails. A law enforcement official
said the newly discovered emails were found on an electronic device that
the FBI didn’t previously have in its possession.
The news is a major development unfolding in the final stretch of the
campaign, uniting Republicans and putting the Clinton campaign on
defense. GOP nominee Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans, such
as Speaker Paul Ryan, jumped on Comey’s announcement to blast Clinton.
Clinton’s campaign learned of the news while they were aboard a flight to Iowa.
“We’re learning about this just like you all are,” a Clinton aide told CNN.
The Democratic nominee has the advantage in the race for the 270
electoral votes needed to capture the presidency. She is leading Trump
by six points in CNN’s Poll of Polls. The question now is whether the
return of the email storm, which has overshadowed her entire campaign,
will have an impact on any remaining undecided voters.
Republicans: No honeymoon if Clinton wins
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we’ve never seen before,”
Trump said at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. “We must not let her
take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.”
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, tweeted after the news broke, “A great day in our campaign just got even better.”
Ryan said Clinton betrayed Americans’ trust for handling “the nation’s most important secrets.”
“This decision, long overdue, is the result of her reckless use of a
private email server, and her refusal to be forthcoming with federal
investigators,” Ryan said in a statement. “I renew my call for the
Director of National Intelligence to suspend all classified briefings
for Secretary Clinton until this matter is fully resolved.”
Despite lashing Clinton’s email practices as “extremely careless,” Comey
declined over the summer to recommend prosecution. That move was
instantly lambasted by Republicans — some of whom decried the
department’s politicization. Comey eventually was called to Capitol Hill
to testify and defend the FBI’s integrity and decision process.
First on CNN: US attorney investigating Weiner sexting allegations
Prosecutors in the office of US Attorney Preet Bharara have issued a
subpoena for Anthony Weiner’s cell phone and other records, according to
law enforcement officials.
The FBI and the New York Police Department have opened preliminary
investigations of allegations that the former New York Democratic
congressman exchanged sexually explicit text messages with a purportedly
Spokespersons for the US Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and the FBI declined to comment.
The allegations first surfaced in the Daily Mail.
The online sexting relationship allegedly went on for months between
Weiner and a girl claiming to be just 15. The Daily Mail reported she
said he sent her numerous photos, one of him in a pool and at least one
The outlet reported that the girl said she reached out to Weiner in January on Twitter.
In a statement to CNN, Weiner neither confirmed or denied sending the texts.
“I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgment about the people I
have communicated with online and the things I have sent. I am filled
with regret and heartbroken for those I have hurt,” he said.
Weiner continued: “While I have provided the Daily Mail with information
showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to
blame but me for putting myself in this position. I am sorry.”
CNN has not been able to confirm this was a hoax.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Republican presidential nominee Donald
Trump noted that Weiner donated $550 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential
campaign last year.
“The announcement by the FBI and New York Police Department that they
are investigating close Clinton ally Anthony Weiner’s inappropriate
relationship with an underaged female is extremely disturbing,” Jessica
Ditto said. “The Clinton campaign should immediately return all campaign
contributions from Weiner. America has had enough of the sleaze that is
Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s closest aides, announced last month that
she was separating from Weiner after photos emerged of him allegedly
sexting with another woman while their son was in bed with him. That
woman was described in the New York Post as a 40-something divorced
woman from the West.
Weiner left Congress in June 2011 when sexually-charged, sometimes
explicit, texts with women other than his wife first emerged. His social
media habits continued after leaving Congress and contributed to his
poor showing in the 2013 New York City mayoral race, a contest in which
he had once been a leading contender.
Hillary Clinton’s email controversy, explained
Hillary Clinton’s email controversy is older than her 2016
presidential campaign — and it’s been forced into the headlines again
Thursday and Friday when two top aides testify behind closed doors for a
The former secretary of state’s use of a private email server might not
have been broken laws, particularly if her claims that she never
knowingly shared information that was classified at the time holds true.
But the Justice Department’s investigation, the State Department’s
processing and release of her emails, a House panel’s separate
investigation and dozens of impending lawsuits are weighing on the 2016
Democratic presidential front-runner’s campaign.
Here’s what’s happened so far:
What did Clinton do?
News broke in March that Clinton used personal email addresses connected
to a privately-owned server, rather than a government email, during her
four years as President Barack Obama’s first-term secretary of state.
Some previous secretaries of state — including Colin Powell — have also
used private email accounts, but Clinton’s approach was particularly
controversial because it’s out of step with typical government practice
now and gave Clinton a major measure of control over what remains
private and what’s public.
Clinton’s lawyers turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State
Department, and the department has since processed those — releasing
some, under a judge’s orders, at the end of each month.
But she didn’t hand in the server itself until last month, after five
months of intense scrutiny over whether she flouted transparency laws or
put government secrets at risk.
Why did she do it?
Clinton has chalked it all up to convenience, saying she preferred not
to carry two phones — one with a personal email address and one with a
There’s some legitimacy to that: Government BlackBerrys could only include one address.
But having her own personal server also gave Clinton — as well as her
closest aides — much greater control over which emails were accessible
under public records requests.
Clinton acknowledged, both in March when her private email use was first
reported and again in Iowa last month, that it “clearly wasn’t the best
choice” to skip using a government email address.
What’s in the emails?
It’s mostly innocuous — with Clinton asking for scheduling updates,
fitting in trips to her hair stylist, checking on a strange trade
dispute over gefilte fish and receiving notes about the balance of a
career and a family from a top policy aide.
But the emails also offer insight into Clinton’s closest contacts. Among
them: Sidney Blumenthal, who sent what Clinton has said were
unsolicited — yet were clearly warmly received — notes with advice and
guidance on domestic and international politics.
Many of the emails are, in part or in full, redacted. That makes it
tough to tell what behind-the-scenes policy conversations were taking
place as Clinton navigated tricky international waters.
Of the 7,000 emails released by the State Department this week, 125 were retroactively classified.
Did Clinton break the rules?
There are laws intended to keep government records transparent — but one
that requires officials to transfer emails sent to private addresses
onto government servers wasn’t enacted until 2014, after Clinton
departed the State Department.
Still, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan suggested last month that
Clinton violated government policy and made the process of responding to
open records requests more difficult.
“We wouldn’t be here today if this employee had followed government
policy,” he said at a hearing on one of the dozens of lawsuits over
Looming larger is the question of how classified information was handled
— the subject of a Justice Department investigation and the question
that ultimately forced Clinton to turn over her private server to the
Clinton has insisted she never sent or received information that was
classified at the time — though many of her emails have been classified
retroactively as the State Department has prepared them for release.
Was what she did illegal?
Probably not, said Anne M. Tomkins, the former U.S. attorney who oversaw
the prosecution of Gen. David Petraeus over his having showed
classified materials to his mistress and biographer.
Tomkins wrote this week in USA Today that Clinton committed no crime because she didn’t “knowingly” share classified materials.
“Clinton is not being investigated for knowingly sending or receiving classified materials improperly,” Tomkins wrote.
“Indeed, the State Department has confirmed that none of the information
that has surfaced on Clinton’s server thus far was classified at the
time it was sent or received,” she wrote. “Additionally, the Justice
Department indicated that its inquiry is not a criminal one and that
Clinton is not the subject of the inquiry.”
What’s classified, when was it made classified and why?
All government agencies are responsible for determining which of their own materials are classified.
But Clinton’s emails are being reviewed by a team of about 12
interagency officials, who are making recommendations on what should and
shouldn’t be classified.
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in August that
“there’s an exhaustive, extensive review process for each and every
email, which includes not just State Department reviewers going through
them but having intelligence community reviewers with us at the time as
we go through them in real-time to help make determinations.”
Kirby added, “Some of those determinations are fairly easy — yes or no. Some of them require additional review and discussion.”
What’s next? What does this have to do with Congress? Are there lawsuits over the emails?
It’s not just the State Department’s email releases forcing fresh headlines about the issue.
The House’s Benghazi committee chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy is calling two
top Clinton aides in for closed-door depositions this week. Cheryl
Mills, Clinton’s State Department chief of staff, will appear Thursday,
while policy adviser Jake Sullivan is expected Friday.
Another former State Department employee Bryan Pagliano who worked on
Clinton’s private email server has informed Congress that he will invoke
the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before the House Select
Clinton herself will appear before the committee for an open hearing —
one likely to attract the most television cameras of any congressional
hearing in recent memory — on Oct. 22.
There are also dozens of lawsuits seeking Clinton’s emails. They range
from news organizations like Gawker and The Associated Press to
conservative groups like Judicial Watch.
The State Department said Tuesday that it will ask for all of those lawsuits to be consolidated under a single judge.
What’s it mean for 2016?
Among Clinton’s biggest challenges in the presidential race is
demonstrating her authenticity — and part of that is showing voters
Increasingly, though, voters say they distrust Clinton. The numbers have
shifted dramatically since news of her private email server was first
reported in March.
Her campaign has shifted tactics in recent weeks, dropping the jokes
Clinton had cracked about what she’d once portrayed as a non-issue and
sending aides out in an attempt to diffuse the issue in television
appearances — signaling that it’s an increasingly serious challenge.
Trump on FBI Clinton probe: Don’t let her in the Oval Office
Donald Trump pounced on the news that the FBI is reviewing new
information related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server
and expressed hope that the FBI will “right the horrible mistake that
Trump kicked off his rally here by announcing the “very critical
breaking news announcement” to his capacity crowd of supporters, who
erupted in cheers and chants of “Lock her up!” as a stern-faced Trump
announced, “They are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal
conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America.”
FBI Director James Comey announced Friday in a letter to members of
Congress that through “an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the
existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation” of
Clinton’s email server. Comey directed investigators to “review these
emails to determine whether they contained classified information.”
The decision comes nearly four months after the FBI recommended no
criminal charges following its investigation into Clinton’s private
It also comes just 11 days before Election Day as Trump faces a steep
and narrow path to victory following a series of damaging revelations —
including sexual assault allegations and audio of Trump bragging about
being able to grope women.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before.
We must never let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,”
Trump said, reading from prepared remarks. “I have great respect for the
fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have
the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.”
Trump has repeatedly accused the FBI and DOJ of colluding to cover up
Clinton’s wrongful use of a private email server during her time as
secretary of state.
And while he made it clear Friday that he was not backing off that
claim, Trump appeared cautiously optimistic that the FBI’s latest
announcement might finally yield the result he and his supporters have
been clamoring for. Trump has argued Clinton should be jailed for
storing several pieces of classified information on her private email
server and misrepresenting that fact to the American public, though he
did not explicitly say Friday that Clinton should be indicted or jailed.
“This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully
understood and it is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected,”
Minutes later, he added: “It might not be as rigged as I thought.”
“The FBI, I think they’re going to right the ship, folks, I think
they’re going to right the ship and they’re going to save their great
reputation by doing so,” Trump said.
While Trump remained stern-faced as he addressed the FBI’s decision to
investigate new emails related to Clinton’s email server, Trump’s
supporters and his campaign staff were suddenly reinvigorated by the
Before supporters erupted in raucous cheers as Trump addressed the news,
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted: “A great day in our
campaign just got even better.”
Trump’s reaction to the FBI news echoed the response of other top
Republican officials, including House Speaker Paul Ryan — who has been
critical of Trump but still supports him for president.
Ryan called the FBI’s decision “long overdue” and hammered Clinton for
her “reckless use of a private email server, and her refusal to be
forthcoming with federal investigators.”
“Hillary Clinton has nobody but herself to blame. She was entrusted with
some of our nation’s most important secrets, and she betrayed that
trust by carelessly mishandling classified information,” Ryan said in a
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the news a
“stunning development” and argued Clinton “jeopardized classified
Priebus also suggested the FBI’s announcement raised questions about the
33,000 emails Clinton deleted from her private email server, which
Trump has frequently raised on the stump.
“This stunning development raises serious questions about what records
may not have been turned over and why, and whether they show intent to
violate the law,” Priebus said.
Republicans: No honeymoon if Clinton wins
So much for the honeymoon period.
The election is 12 days away but Republicans are already promising years
of investigations and blocked nominees if Hillary Clinton wins.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says he has lined up enough
material from Clinton’s four years as secretary of state for two years
“It’s a target-rich environment,” Chaffetz told The Washington Post.
“Even before we get to Day One, we’ve got two years’ worth of material
already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department,
and it ain’t good.”
Then there’s the Supreme Court vacancy.
Republicans have said for months they won’t act on President Barack
Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the opening left by
Justice Antonin Scalia’s death because they want the winner of the
presidential race to fill that vacancy. Now, one senator says the GOP
should consider blocking any Clinton nominee, leaving the nation’s high
court with just eight members.
Clinton won’t mess with Texas
“There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with
fewer justices,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in Colorado on Wednesday,
in remarks first reported by The Washington Post. “I would note, just
recently, that Justice (Stephen) Breyer observed that the vacancy is not
impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that
we are going to have.”
The comments offer a potential preview of what Clinton’s relationship
with Congress could look like if she wins the presidency. Democrats are
poised to make gains on Capitol Hill and could retake the Senate. That
would likely result in a more conservative Republican conference on
Capitol Hill that might not be interested in working closely with
For her part, Clinton said Wednesday she wants to be “president for everybody.”
“I certainly intend to reach out to Republicans and independents, the
elected leadership of the Congress,” she said aboard her campaign plane.
Trouble with Democrats
Clinton could also have plenty of trouble with her own party. Even if
Democrats retake the Senate, they won’t have the 60 votes needed to shut
down filibusters. And their roster will include several members who
represent traditionally Republican states and may need to show
independence from a Clinton White House.
Democrats are already using the comments from Chaffetz and Cruz against the GOP.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee,
told CNN in a statement that “Republicans are pretending like they
haven’t been investigating Secretary Clinton for years ever since she
announced that she was running for president, including everything from
Benghazi to emails to the Clinton Foundation.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that on the first day Secretary Clinton
walks into the White House, Republicans will have already investigated
her more than any other president in history,” Cummings said.
2 states move back to battleground
“The American people want us to solve their problems, but House
Republicans are doing exactly the opposite,” he said. “They have spent
six years and squandered millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to
attack their political targets instead of working together in a
bipartisan way to seek constructive reforms to improve the effectiveness
and efficiency of federal programs.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also mocked Chaffetz over his remarks.
“I saw comments from Congressman Chaffetz, he of the gmail account on
his business cards, vowing to engage in congressional investigations
that actually don’t have anything to do with the Clinton White House,”
Earnest compared Chaffetz to Rep. Darrell Issa, who recently featured
Obama on a campaign mailer touting legal protections for sexual assault
victims, which Issa co-sponsored and Obama signed into law.
Chaffetz, Earnest said, is using “the same strategy that Darrell Issa
tried to pursue when he served, when he preceded Congressman Chaffetz in
that role. And it did not benefit Mr. Issa’s personal political
“He has now been faced with a scenario where he went from calling the
President one of the most corrupt presidents in history, to now
featuring President Obama prominently on a mailer in support of his
campaign,” Earnest said. “So he looks pretty ridiculous. And Mr.
Chaffetz seems to be well down the same path.”
Some Republicans reject Cruz’s idea
Some influential Republicans are rejecting calls to block Clinton’s Supreme Court nominee.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, told CNN he strongly disagrees with the
prospect floated by Cruz of blocking Clinton’s nominees — and said he
doesn’t think there will be wide support for the concept among Senate
“You will not be surprised — I do not agree,” said Flake, who is a
member of the Judiciary Committee. “There is a difference between what
might be constitutional and what you can do politically. …I think
leaving a vacancy for up to four years is not why we are here.”
Asked about how much support there might be in the GOP conference for
Cruz’s position, he said, “I can’t imagine there are too many that feel
Impressions of US direction improved, but divided by partisanship
“I think there are enough people who do not see it as the Senate’s proper role to hold somebody indefinitely,” Flake said.
The first-term senator said he spoke recently to Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell to get “on-the-record” that he would oppose such an approach
and that he didn’t “detect” any interest from McConnell in such a
Flake has made headlines in recent months for his heavy criticism of
Donald Trump’s candidacy. The senator said he’s been worried about the
blockade talk gaining steam because he was approached a couple of months
ago by a “pretty well informed guy” who is part of the grassroots
conservative movement in Arizona who asked him if he would be willing to
hold Clinton’s nominees for four years.
“I said ‘no,'” Flake said.
Flake said Cruz and others can read the language of the Constitution to
mean that the Senate is not bound to act in a timely way on a Supreme
Court nominee. “But there’s a question of what we should do and what we
feel our role is, and what you can do politically and what you can’t. On
both of those counts you have a hard time going ahead.”
Flake isn’t the only senator to reject Cruz’s notion.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, recently pulled back from his own comment
that Republicans would “be united against any Supreme Court nominee”
that Clinton put forth.
In a statement provided to CNN, McCain spokeswoman Rachael Dean sought to clarify the senator’s position.
Tequila, dance parties and Adele: Hillary Clinton finally lets loose
“Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and
Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial
nominees. That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly
examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate
and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as
he has done throughout his career.”
GOP sought to stop Obama too
The early warning shots at Clinton are reminiscent of Republican efforts
to stymie Obama at the outset of his presidency. The difference: Those
calls came after Obama was already in office.
In the heat of the 2009 health care reform battle, South Carolina Sen.
Jim DeMint famously declared: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this, it
will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”
The following year, McConnell, then the Senate minority leader, called Obama’s defeat in 2012 his top priority.
“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President
Obama to be a one-term president,” McConnell said in an interview with
the National Journal.
He explained in a speech after the GOP wave in the 2010 midterms that he
was bent on defeating Obama because it was the only way to shepherd
conservative legislation into law.
“If our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health
spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size
and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to
put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,”
“We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after
Tuesday’s election,” he said. “But we can’t plan on it. And it would be
foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse
the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto