Monday, October 31, 2016

What's Next for the FBI's Renewed Investigation Into Clinton's Email Server
ABC News
Oct 31, 2016, 6:08 PM ET

PHOTO: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton pauses while speaking during a rally at the Palace of Agriculture at the state fairgrounds, Oct. 12, 2016, in Pueblo, Colorado.Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The FBI says it's moving ahead with urgency as it begins the examination of newly discovered emails that prompted a review of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server.

Investigators have taken the hard drive out of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop and made a mirror image of it to immediately begin pulling data.

Weiner’s laptop contained hundreds of thousands of emails, but the FBI team is only focusing on the thousands that appear to be associated with Huma Abedin, Weiner's now-estranged wife and Clinton insider, said sources familiar with the investigation.

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Investigators are targeting work-related emails and any emails that may have gone to the private Clinton server. The FBI will use computers to eliminate any emails that they’ve already seen. Agents will also look at the time frame when Clinton was in office, but may include some of the time after she left office, according to sources.

The investigators working on the latest cache of emails is the same FBI team that conducted the Clinton private email server probe. It’s a collection of cyber and forensic experts, and counterintelligence agents, which number in the dozens. The goal was to have people most familiar with this case step back into it, said sources familiar with the investigation.

The FBI hasn't yet determined if the newly discovered emails are truly "new" or whether any of the emails contained any type of sensitive information.

The emails were found as part of a separate criminal investigation as FBI agents in New York were analyzing a laptop used by Weiner, who had been accused of sending sexually explicit messages to an underage girl. Since the Clinton-related emails were found while investigating another case, the FBI needed a separate warrant to examine the news emails.

Federal agents discovered the emails weeks ago, but presented the findings to FBI Director James Comey last Thursday. On Friday, Comey sent a letter to key members of Congress informing them of the update. That sparked a frenzy within the Clinton campaign and immediate backlash against Comey, as lawmakers and former officials on both sides of the aisle demanded for a more complete understanding of the new information. It is also long-standing DOJ tradition to steer clear of potentially influential investigative actions so close to an election.

On Sunday, the FBI obtained the appropriate warrant and began reviewing thousands of emails.

Comey is receiving regular updates on the investigation and if something definitive is developed quickly, he might consider whether to release additional information.

On Monday, the Department of Justice said it was moving as "expeditiously as possible" in response to Democrats and Republicans in Congress who had asked for additional information related to the FBI's investigation.

"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, wrote Assistant Attorney General Peter Kazik in the letter.

Officials in the Justice Department weren't trying to block the FBI from trying to review these emails, according to sources familiar with the discussions. However, there was tension over whether the FBI should notify Congress about it with the knowledge that it would be immediately leaked—and potentially affect an election that is effectively already underway, said those sources.

Ben Siegel contributed to this story.

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