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What’s next: FBI unlikely to conclude Clinton email review prior to election

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WASHINGTON — FBI officials are unlikely to finish their review of new emails potentially related to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private server before the November 8 election.

Officials are constantly meeting and debating whether there’s any more room for them to add clarity without further harming the situation. The initial work of cataloging top Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on her estranged husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop could be done in the next few days, US law enforcement officials told CNN.

But the investigators are expected to spend more time doing other work, including likely coordinating with other federal agencies to determine what — if any — classified materials are in the emails. This makes it unlikely there will be a resolution prior to the election.

FBI Director James Comey’s decision to notify lawmakers of the review Friday is rocking the final days of the presidential race. Clinton’s surrogates along with three former attorneys general have blasted Comey for violating FBI protocol designed to keep the bureau away from election-year politics.

The investigators are using software comparable to a specialized search engine at FBI facilities in Quantico, Virginia, to try to isolate emails on Weiner’s computer that could be pertinent to the Clinton email-server investigation, the law enforcement officials said. Some of that work was done earlier this month when agents conducting the Weiner investigation stumbled on the Abedin emails.

After that work is done, investigators will examine the emails they believe are relevant to the Clinton investigation to see if they contain classified information and, if so, whether the individuals who sent or received the emails knew the information was classified.

FBI officials also believe it’s possible that investigators might have to conduct another interview with Abedin and others.

Officials say they are providing all the necessary resources to streamline the process given the sense of urgency so close to the election.

“We are very aware of the pressure on us,” one law enforcement official told CNN. “This is not a resource problem.”

In a letter to congressional Democrats Monday, Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik wrote Monday that the Justice Department is moving as quickly as possible.

“We assure you that the Department will continue to work closely with the FBI and together, dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible,” Kadzik wrote.

Officials say it’s unlikely the public will hear from FBI Director James Comey until it is more clear about the substance of the pertinent emails, the officials said.

Comey is under fire from Democrats in the wake of his Friday disclosure to lawmakers that the FBI is once again looking into emails potentially tied to its Clinton investigation.

Clinton’s campaign, sensing political danger, is calling on Comey to immediately release more information about the emails.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that Comey had meant to transparently disclose information by sending the letter — but “clearly it had the opposite of the intended effect.”

Comey’s revelation left many unanswered questions about the content of the emails and how they could be related to Clinton, at a particularly politically sensitive time for the Democratic nominee eight days out from the election.

Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a Republican, on Monday slammed Comey, saying his letter was an “error in judgment.”

“You don’t comment on investigations because commenting on the investigation may jeopardize the investigation. And that’s the box that he’s put himself in, because people are now calling for more information — for release of the emails,” Gonzales told CNN’s John Berman and Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour.”

Gonzales, who served in the George W. Bush administration, said Comey wouldn’t have been misleading voters by withholding the news until after November 8.

“If you delay the announcement, hopefully it’s not going to jeopardize an investigation, it’s not going to jeopardize the pursuit of justice, and voters will have the opportunity to vote on Election Day without information that may in fact be incomplete or untrue,” he said.

Eric Holder, the attorney general during much of President Barack Obama’s administration, called Comey’s action “incorrect” in The Washington Post on Monday.

“I served with Jim Comey, and I know him well. This is a very difficult piece for me to write. He is a man of integrity and honor. I respect him. But good men make mistakes. In this instance, he has committed a serious error with potentially severe implications,” Holder wrote.

“It is incumbent upon him — or the leadership of the department — to dispel the uncertainty he has created before Election Day. It is up to the director to correct his mistake — not for the sake of a political candidate or campaign but in order to protect our system of justice and best serve the American people.”

Despite the backlash, Comey stands by his decision and believes he did the right thing, according to a source familiar with Comey’s thinking. In Comey’s view, he was faced with two bad options: Not be upfront with Congress and risk the news leaking out or violating DOJ protocol and living up to his word to Congress to provide any updates related to the investigation.

He chose the lesser of the two bad choices in his mind.

“He’s doing okay,” the source said.

9 comments

  • GHOST OF HENRY MAIER

    Thanks
    Clinton
    News
    Network….. For letting me know what I need to know. I know more than enough about HRC and I really don’t need CNN telling me what I need to know.

  • Jim Ziegelbauer

    HERES WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW LEFT WING PAPER, IF YOUR LIAR HILLARY & BLOWJOB GILL WOULD ACT LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE, I WOULD NOT NEED YOU TO TELL ME WHAT I NEED TO KNOW

    GOT IT
    Clinton’s FBI investigation: What you need to know

    Posted 6:44 am, October 31, 2016, by CNN Wire Service, Updated at 09:14am, October 31, 2016

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    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s campaign was jolted when FBI Director James Comey delivered the ultimate October surprise.

    Eleven days before the 2016 presidential election, Comey announced that the FBI had discovered additional emails and is reviewing them to see whether they are related to the bureau’s investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information.

    Here’s what you need to know — and how it might affect Clinton, Donald Trump and the presidential race:

    Why is this happening now?

    It started with the FBI’s investigation into Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former New York congressman who was caught over the summer exchanging lewd and sexually suggestive messages with a 15-year-old girl.

    Weiner’s estranged wife is Clinton adviser Huma Abedin. And in their look into Weiner’s sexting allegations, which began on September 22, investigators from the FBI’s New York field office discovered Abedin’s emails on Weiner’s laptop — with initial data showing those emails went through Clinton’s server.

    It was enough to lead FBI Director James Comey to conclude the emails would need to be reviewed to see if he’d need to reopen the investigation he’d closed in July on whether Clinton kept classified information on the private email server she used during her tenure as secretary of state.

    Comey was made aware of the emails’ existence by mid-October, law enforcement sources have said. He was given a full briefing on Thursday.

    Comey decided Friday after a series of “long grueling meetings” with top FBI executives that the FBI needed to review to see whether the emails were related to its investigation into Clinton’s server, and a letter would be sent to Congress about the development, a law enforcement source told CNN.

    And so, on Friday — 11 days from the election — Comey informed eight Senate and House chairmen, who are Republicans, and copied the ranking Democrats on their panels.

    Does Comey’s decision break with precedent?

    Everything about this is beyond precedent.

    There’s never been a major party nominee under FBI investigation leading up to the election before. And how it’s being handled is equally out of the ordinary.

    Comey gave advance notice to top officials at the Justice Department before sending his letter to lawmakers Friday — but he didn’t get sign-off from those officials, and wasn’t seeking it. Instead he made an independent decision to go against longstanding Justice Department and FBI practice to not comment publicly about politically sensitive investigations within 60 days of an election, a law enforcement official said.

    Comey’s decision adds to the unusual role he has played in the Clinton email probe, which some critics have said usurped the role of prosecutors in the Justice Department whose job is to review FBI findings and make decisions on whether to bring charges.

    Comey made the unprecedented move in July to publicly announce that he would recommend no charges be brought in the email investigation, saying that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such charges. He made the July announcement without providing prior notice to Justice officials.

    That was in part because of another extraordinary part of the Clinton email investigation: A tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and Lynch — who, because of that meeting, left decisions on whether to prosecute Clinton to others because of the conflict.

    How mad are Democrats about Comey’s Friday move?

    Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in a letter to Comey on Sunday that he may have violated the Hatch Act, barring political activity by federal officials.

    “I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act,” Reid said in his letter to Comey. “Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”

    Clinton’s campaign is focused largely on the reality that Comey’s actions are out of step for the Justice Department and the FBI — but now that Comey has made his move, the political consequences can’t be undone.

    On Monday, former Attorney General Eric Holder wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post criticizing Comey’s decision, titled: “James Comey is a good man, but he made a serious mistake.”

    “I served with Jim Comey and I know him well. This is a very difficult piece for me to write. He is a man of integrity and honor. I respect him. But good men make mistakes. In this instance, he has committed a serious error with potentially severe implications,” Holder wrote.

    Calling Comey’s letter “a stunning breach of protocol,” Holder said that the departure from policy broke “fundamental principles. I fear (Comey) has unintentionally and negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI. And he has allowed — again without improper motive — misinformation to be spread by partisans with less pure intentions.”

    What does this have to do with Hillary Clinton?

    It’s too soon to know.

    The FBI discovered emails sent to or from Abedin — one of Clinton’s longest-serving and most-trusted aides.

    But it’s not clear whether those are the same emails the FBI already reviewed in its investigation into Clinton’s private email server that concluded in July with an admonition from Comey — but no recommendation of charges.

    There could be additional emails that Clinton didn’t turn over to the State Department and the FBI didn’t discover during its investigation. Even if any such emails exist, it still might not mean much because they could be personal in nature.

    Comey wrote to Congress that “the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.”

    What will happen next?

  • Hell in a handbasket

    Why is Faux 6 and their national news provider CNN not posting DNC Chairman Donna Brazile’s being fired from the DNC today? The media is in decline of trust and this is why!

  • EDITH

    My fellow Americans, time has come to vote and remove this corrupt administration along with their apostates. The un affordable care act that was shoved down our throats via pelosi and reid has cost hundreds more to me and they lied. I have been duped. That alone will determine how a ballot will be cast in our home.

  • Always Outspoken

    When every closet you’ve ever hung a pants suit in has skeletons in it, you have to expect them to be discovered at some point, and b**ching about the timing of the revelations is ridiculous.

    You left these little time-bombs in your wake, Hillary. There’s nobody to blame but yourself for whatever damage they may do to your campaign.

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