Clinton email controversy: FBI director criticised for timing of letter to Congress

WASHINGTON, U.S. - In a revival of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, the FBI has obtained a warrant to search more emails related to the probe. The emails ...


• Comey on Friday wrote a letter to Congress on Clinton email controversy

• FBI investigating Huma Abedin's estranged husband Anthony Weiner's computer

• Trump questions validity of Colorado's largely mail-in voting system

WASHINGTON, U.S. - In a revival of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, the FBI has obtained a warrant to search more emails related to the probe.

The emails were discovered on disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop. FBI is looking into whether classified information was held on this computer shared by Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton's close aide, and Weiner, her estranged husband, who is accused of sending sex texts to a 15-year-old girl.

The FBI already had a warrant to search Weiner's laptop, but that only applied to evidence of his allegedly illicit communications with an underage girl.

The fresh warrant will allow the bureau to compare the latest batch of messages with those that have already been investigated to determine whether any classified information was sent from Clinton's server.

The latest development comes just a couple of days after FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to key leaders in Congress on Friday informing the members that the bureau was reviewing additional emails possibly related to the Democrat presidential nominee's personal server, just days before the November 8 election.

Comey was criticised for the timing of the letter. 

According to the timeline of the latest email controversy, investigators took possession of multiple computers related to the inquiry of Anthony Weiner in early October, U.S. law enforcement officials said. 

They were, however, made public only on Friday, raising concerns about the timing and fuelling criticism that the bureau was acting inappropriately.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and several other former federal prosecutors and high-ranking Department of Justice officials penned a short open letter expressing their dissatisfaction with how Comey has handled the latest developments into the investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server.

 “Many of us have worked with Director Comey; all of us respect him,” the letter by the senior officials says. “But his unprecedented decision to publicly comment on evidence in what may be an ongoing inquiry just eleven days before a presidential election leaves us both astonished and perplexed.”

The letter also cites the Justice Department’s “widely-respected, non-partisan traditions” that have kept officials from making statements ahead of elections in the past.

“We do not question Director Comey’s motives,” the letter goes on to say. “However, the fact remains that the Director’s disclosure has invited considerable, uninformed public speculation about the significance of newly-discovered material just days before a national election.”

Comey's letter to Congress is "inconsistent with prevailing Department policy" and "breaks with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections."

Reid accuses Comey of breaking law

Meanwhile, well-known Democrat Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said FBI Director James Comey was guilty of a “disturbing double standard,” adding that the FBI chief was “tarring Secretary Clinton with thin innuendo.” 

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), in response, called Reid a disgrace. The verbal brawl between the Democrats and the Republicans just got more strident as both parties traded barbs over the issue.

"Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law," Reid said in the letter to Comey.

He also accused Comey of shielding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from scrutiny over his connections to Russia, saying "it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination" between Trump and his advisers and the Russian government.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign manager Robby Mook questioned Comey's decision to send a letter notifying Congress of the email review before he even knew whether they were significant or relevant.

Hillary Clinton, in Florida, meanwhile, told voters she was not going to be “knocked off course” by the renewed focus on her emails. “You know, there’s a lot of noise and distractions,” Clinton said on Sunday, as she vowed to stay focused on the concerns of voters.

“Lock her up”

Republican nominee Donald Trump was more than happy to cash in on the controversy with just a little over a week left for the election. He called the emails on a laptop held by ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the “mother lode.”

“We only have Crooked Hillary to beat,” Trump said to cheers at a stop in New Mexico on Sunday night.

“I think the least of her problems right now is this race,” as the crowd chanted, “Lock her up!”

And at a rally in Las Vegas, Trump said he was confident of victory. He said Clinton "set up this illegal server knowing full well that her actions put our national security at risk.” 

He added, "We have one ultimate check on Hillary's corruption, and that is the power of voting."

"Hillary put the office of secretary of state up for sale and, if she ever got the chance, she'd put the Oval Office up for sale too."

According to a new poll, the latest email controversy has brought Trump right back in the game. Donald Trump surged to within one percentage point of Clinton in the ABC News/Washington Post survey, having been 12 points behind in the same poll a week ago.

Trump questions Colorado's mail-in voting system

Donald Trump for the second day in a row questioned the validity of this swing state's largely mail-in voting system. 

Trump kicked off his rally here on Sunday by encouraging his supporters to "make sure" their ballots are properly counted, saying that he is a "skeptical person" when it comes to the state's largely vote-by-mail process. He then encouraged his supporters to get a "new ballot" in person at a local polling location.

Registered voters in Colorado automatically receive a ballot in the mail, but can request a new ballot or vote in person if they have not yet mailed in a completed ballot. However, requesting a new ballot if you have already submitted your vote would constitute voter fraud, something Trump went on to hint was an issue in the state.

The Republican nominee has repeatedly raised doubts about the integrity of the U.S. election despite the fact that experts say fraud is extremely rare. 

 

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