Original Thompson Email Timeline
November 4, 2016 - Many political insiders, especially Republicans, say Comey’s letter changed the trajectory of the 2016 presidential race.
Politico asks “a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states” their opinions on the evolving 2016 presidential election campaign. In their latest query, nearly two-thirds of Republicans say that FBI Director James Comey’s October 28, 2016 letter announcing the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation “fundamentally altered the trajectory of the race.”
One unnamed Republican insider states, “There are a handful of words that can fundamentally alter the trajectory of a race. These include words and phrases like ‘indictment,’ ‘FBI investigation’ and ‘grand jury.’ These are popping with just barely enough time to make a difference in the race, even enough time for ad-makers to change out closing commercials.”
Another unnamed Republican insider says, “That is not how to end a campaign. [Clinton] wins when Trump is the issue. She loses when she is the issue.”
However, only 20 percent of Democratic insiders say the Comey letter changed the trajectory of the race.
One unnamed Democratic insider says, “It changed the race by bringing the map back to normal [meaning a non-landslide win for Clinton]. Pre-FBI, she was going to reach for 400 [electoral votes].” (Politico, 11/4/2016)
November 4, 2016 - A majority of voters think Clinton acted illegally.
Four days before the 2016 US presidential election, a majority of voters believe Clinton has done something illegal with her email controversy and/or Clinton Foundation, according to a McClatchy-Marist Poll. Eighty-three percent of likely voters believe she did something wrong, with 51 percent saying she did something illegal and 32 percent saying she something unethical but not illegal. Only 14 percent say she’s done nothing wrong.
Her main opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, has also been beset by scandals and controversies. Seventy-nine percent think Trump did something wrong. Just 26 percent think he’s done something illegal, while 53 percent think he’s done something unethical but not illegal. Only 17 percent think he’s done nothing wrong.
McClatchy Newpapers comments, “The deep suspicion of Clinton is likely a top reason she’s lost much of her lead and the race for the White House has tightened in the race’s closing days.” According to the poll, Clinton is only ahead by one point, 44 percent to 43 percent.
Both candidates are widely disliked. Clinton has an unfavorable rating of 57 percent and Trump has an unfavorable-favorable rating of 61 percent. Both numbers are unprecedented in the history of presidential polling this close to Election Day. (McClatchy Newspapers, 11/4/2016)
November 3, 2016 - It is alleged Comey told Congress about reopening the FBI’s Clinton investigation at least partially due to fears of leaks from the FBI’s New York office.
Reuters reports that FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress on October 28, 2016, revealing that the Clinton email investigation was being reopened, at least partially due to fear of leaks from within the FBI.
The investigation is being reopened due to new evidence discovered in an unrelated FBI investigation into sexual texts Anthony Weiner allegedly sent to a minor. Weiner is a former New York Congressperson and the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
It is believed that the Weiner investigation is being conducted with the help of the FBI’s New York field office, which initially discovered the emails. Two unnamed law enforcement officials say that a faction of FBI agents in the New York office are believed to be hostile to Hillary Clinton, and have been known to leak information to the press.
These sources also say that the examination of new evidence – believed to be thousands of Abedin’s emails found on Weiner’s computer – is being conducted under very tight security at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. (Reuters, 11/3/2016)
November 3, 2016 - It is alleged leakers inside the FBI are upset at Clinton, James Comey, and/or the Justice Department.
The Guardian reports that “Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI,” according to multiple FBI sources, “spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.” Both current and former anonymous FBI officials “have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over [FBI Director] James Comey’s July  decision” not to recommend indictment.
One current agent says, “The FBI is Trumpland,” referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”
However, “other sources dispute the depth of support for Trump within the [FBI], though they uniformly stated that Clinton is viewed highly unfavorably.”
A former FBI official says, “There are lots of people who don’t think Trump is qualified, but also believe Clinton is corrupt. What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician. … Many FBI agents were upset at the director, not because he didn’t [recommend to] indict, but they believe he threw the FBI under the bus by taking the heat away from [the Justice Department].”
While FBI agents are upset at Comey and his handling of the investigation, agents are also upset with what is seen as obstructionism from the Justice Department. The Guardian comments, “Some feel Comey needs to address the criticism and provide reassurance that the [FBI], with its wide-ranging investigative and surveillance powers, will comport itself in an apolitical manner.” But since October 28, 2016, when Comey announced the reopening of the investigation, he has stayed silent. (The Guardian, 11/3/2016)
November 3, 2016 - Previously unknown Huma Abedin emails relevant to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation have been found on her husband’s computer.
CBS News reporter Paula Reid posts a Tweet regarding the FBI’s recently started analysis of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on her husband Anthony Weiner’s computer: “@CBSNews confirms FBI found emails on #AnthonyWeiner computer, related to Hillary Clinton server, that are ‘new’ & not previously reviewed.” (Twitter, 11/3/2016)
In a follow-up Tweet, she explains what she means by “related to Hillary Clinton server:” “An email sent to or from an email address connected to the private Clinton sever. Doesn’t mean it’s HRC’s [Clinton’s] email.” (Twitter, 11/3/2016)
Later in the day, CBS News reports, “The FBI has found emails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the laptop belonging to the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, according to a US official. These emails… are not duplicates of emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server. At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.” (CBS News, 11/3/2016)
November 2, 2016 - Suspicions of partisan political decisions has been causing increasing conflict within both the FBI and Justice Department, as well as between them.
CNN publishes a front-page article with the title “Turmoil in the FBI,” which is based on interviews with more than a dozen anonymous government officials close to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. It states that since the investigation began in July 2015, “infighting among some agents and officials has exposed some parts of the storied [FBI] to be buffeted by some of the same bitter [political] divisions as the rest of American society.”
CNN alleges, “Some of the sharpest divides have emerged between some agents in the FBI’s New York field office, the bureau’s largest and highest-profile, and officials at FBI headquarters in Washington and at the Justice Department. Some rank-and-file agents interpreted cautious steps taken by the Justice Department and FBI headquarters as being done for political reasons or to protect a powerful political figure [Clinton]. At headquarters, some have viewed the actions and complaints of some agents in the field as driven by the common desire of investigators to get a big case or, perhaps worst, because of partisan views.”
The tensions are said to have “multiplied” since FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 that he would not recommend indicting Clinton. In addition to increasing conflicts within the FBI, his announcement “also opened up sharp divides between Justice [Department] and FBI officials, and even within the Justice Department itself, where some officials have pushed for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to more forcefully assert her power over the FBI.”
The tensions in the Clinton email investigation have been duplicated by the Clinton Foundation investigation, with some FBI agents again frustrated at what they consider political obstructionism from FBI leaders and the Justice Department to protect Clinton. That has also led to friction between FBI headquarters and the New York field office.
Since then, conflicts have increased still more due to the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016. Potentially relevant evidence was discovered on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, shortly after October 3, 2016. “The longer it took for officials at FBI headquarters and at the Justice Department to decide how to proceed with the matter, the more conspiracies spread among some agents that perhaps senior FBI officials were trying to cover up the matter.”
One unnamed “senior law enforcement official” says, “It’s the times we are living in. No one has emerged from this election unscathed.”
Rick DesLauriers, who was head of the FBI’s Boston field office until he retired three years ago, says, “Politics is running rampant. Passions are high.” He adds that “[Comey] made a decision that angered Republicans in July  and one that angered Democrats in October . That’s a pretty good indication he’s nonpartisan.”
CNN also notes that “Some of the tensions are built-in because of the FBI’s unique position as part of the Justice Department but also projecting a large measure of independence. The FBI director’s job has a 10-year tenure, spanning presidential administrations, while his bosses at the Justice Department are politically appointed and they leave when the administration ends.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)
- FBI headquarters
- FBI New York field office
- FBI Washington DC field office
- FBI's Anthony Weiner investigation
- FBI's Clinton email investigation
- FBI's Clinton Foundation investigation
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Huma Abedin
- internal FBI criticism
- James Comey
- Justice Department (DoJ)
- Loretta Lynch
- reopened FBI Clinton email investigation
- Rick DesLauriers
November 2, 2016 - The FBI allegedly has not destroyed the laptops of two Clinton aides, and their immunity deals may have been voided.
In October 2016, it was reported that Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson got immunity deals in return for their cooperation in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, and in return for turning over their computer laptops, the FBI promised to destroy those laptops after analyzing the data on them.
However, on this day, Fox News reporter Bret Baier claims, “As a result of the limited immunity deals to top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Justice Department had tentatively agreed that the FBI would destroy those laptops after a narrow review. We are told definitively that has not happened. Those devices are currently in the FBI field office here in Washington, DC, and are being exploited. The source points out that any immunity deal is null and void if any subject lied at any point in the investigation.” (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)
November 2, 2016 - FBI agents felt “handcuffed” over what they could do in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.
The Washington Examiner reports claims to have heard from two anonymous FBI agents. “One source with knowledge of the investigation told the Examiner this week that agents felt gratified both by Comey’s public statement on the investigation and their early findings from the new Clinton-related emails. A second source confirmed that agents, at times, felt ‘handcuffed’ during the initial investigation into Clinton’s private server in terms of what investigative steps they could take.”
The Examiner notes that this is part of a trend of “more than a dozen current and former agents [who] have spoken anonymously to multiple media outlets over the past week, including to the Examiner. Agents are frequently complaining about how FBI Director James Comey handled the FBI Clinton email investigation, as well as facing obstruction from the Justice Department. (The Washington Examiner, 11/2/2016)
November 2, 2016 - It is revealed that the FBI and Justice Department agreed not to have grand jury subpoenas for the Clinton email investigation, arguing that would lead to a faster conclusion.
CNN reports, “During the Clinton email server investigation, investigators and prosecutors debated whether to issue subpoenas to Clinton’s aides, officials say. Leaders at the FBI and at the Justice Department thought it would be faster to come to voluntary agreements with aides. Subpoenas could cause delays, particularly if litigation is necessary, officials said. And the FBI and Justice Department wanted to try to complete the probe and get out of the way of the 2016 election.”
Presumably this meant it was agreed not to get Justice Department approval to empanel a grand jury, because an FBI investigation cannot issue subpoenas without the legal authority of a grand jury. (CNN, 11/2/2016)
Two days earlier, Senator Charles Grassley (R) sent FBI Director James Comey a letter asking for an official answer regarding this issue. Comey hinted in September 2016 that he didn’t seek a grand jury in the interest of quickly concluding the investigation.
November 1, 2016 - Obama indirectly criticizes Comey, saying “we don’t operate on innuendo.”
President Obama publicly comments for the first time about FBI Director James Comey’s letter on October 28, 2016 that effectively announced the reopening of the Clinton email investigation just 11 days prior to the 2016 US presidential election.
Obama doesn’t directly mention Comey. But he says, “I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
Obama says, “I’ve made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I am meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments.”
But then he makes comments that clearly are supportive of Clinton, by downplaying the implications of reopening the investigation. “Obviously, it’s become a political controversy. The fact of the matter is that Hillary Clinton, having been in the arena for 30 years, oftentimes gets knocked around and people say crazy stuff about her and when she makes a mistake, an honest mistake, it ends up getting blown up as if it’s some crazy thing. I trust her. I know her.”
Obama also notes, “When this was investigated thoroughly last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.” (CNN, 11/2/2016) (CNN, 11/2/2016)
Contrary to Obama’s claims that he has made an effort not to meddle, in October 2015 he made comments supporting Clinton in her email controversy that were criticized. Then he did so again in April 2016.