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FBI obtains warrant to review newly discovered emails related to Clinton investigation

The agency had to wait for permission to review thousands of emails on former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's laptop that may have been sent to and from Hillary Clinton's private email server.

By
Stephen Feller
Hillary Clinton, pictured Saturday night at a campaign rally in Miami with musical artists Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, has called on the FBI to release emails found on a computer shared by disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who is one of Clinton's top aides. The emails were discovered during an investigation into Weiner allegedly sexting with a 15-year-old and may relate to the investigation into Clinton's private email server the FBI closed in July. File photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
Hillary Clinton, pictured Saturday night at a campaign rally in Miami with musical artists Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, has called on the FBI to release emails found on a computer shared by disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who is one of Clinton's top aides. The emails were discovered during an investigation into Weiner allegedly sexting with a 15-year-old and may relate to the investigation into Clinton's private email server the FBI closed in July. File photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation has permission to sort through hundreds of thousands of emails on a computer belonging to the husband of one of Hillary Clinton's top aides because some of them may relate to a now-closed investigation into the former secretary of state's private email server.

The FBI received a warrant to investigate about 650,000 emails on a laptop shared by former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The emails may relate to a monthslong investigation to find whether Clinton or her surrogates broke federal law by sending email through her private email server, according to the director of the FBI.

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FBI Director James Comey revealed the existence of the new emails Friday in a letter he sent to Congress informing them of the potential his testimony in August about the investigation may change as a result of new information coming to light.

The emails were discovered by FBI agents weeks ago during an unrelated investigation into allegations Weiner sent sexual text messages to a 15-year-old girl.

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While searching Weiner's computer for child pornography, metadata on the laptop showed thousands of messages the FBI said may be related to Clinton's private home email server.

Investigating the emails will take weeks, but the FBI couldn't start reviewing them without a court order because the Weiner probe is unrelated to the Clinton email investigation.

The timing of the announcement was questioned by Democrats almost immediately because of the potential effect the revelation may have on the presidential election, which is a week and a half away.

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"We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetimes," Clinton said in Des Moines on Friday. "The American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately."

Vice President Joe Biden echoed Clinton on Saturday, saying in an interview that Comey should release the emails because, "to the best of my knowledge, it won't prejudice the investigation."

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suggested Sunday that Comey violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits government employees from meddling in politics and elections.

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The U.S. Department of Justice, which has policies and procedures for handling investigations that may affect the outcome of an election, also urged Comey not to send the letter, however he felt his testimony to Congress required him to update them on the newly found emails.

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"Of course, we don't ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I felt an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed," Comey wrote in a memo published Friday. "I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record."

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump immediately pounced on the opportunity to turn voters' attention back to Clinton's emails.

Trump suggested at a rally Sunday that the unearthed emails could be the smoking gun that Clinton "set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her criminal conduct from the public disclosure and exposure."

"To cover up her crimes, she bleached and deleted 33,000 emails after receiving a congressional subpoena," Trump said. "But I have a feeling they've just found a lot of them, don't you think? Have a feeling. Huma. They just found a lot of them. We never thought we were going to say thank you to Anthony Weiner."

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