September 28 – November 6, 2016: Despite Comey assurances, the Weiner Laptop emails were never examined

In Email Timeline Post-Election 2016, Email/Dossier Investigations by Katie WeddingtonLeave a Comment

James Comey: “The FBI left no stones unturned.” (Credit: Salt Serkan Gurbuz / ZUMA Wire)

“When then-FBI Director James Comey announced he was closing the Hillary Clinton email investigation for a second time just days before the 2016 election, he certified to Congress that his agency had “reviewed all of the communications” discovered on a personal laptop used by Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner.”

(…) “FBI officials in New York assumed that the bureau’s brass would jump on the discovery, particularly since it included the missing emails from the start of Clinton’s time at State. In fact, the emails dated from the beginning of 2007 and covered the entire period of Clinton’s tenure as secretary and thereafter. The team leading the Clinton investigation, codenamed “Midyear Exam,” had never been able to find Clinton’s emails from her first two months as secretary.

By Oct. 4, the Weiner case agent had finished processing the laptop, and reported that he found at least 675,000 emails potentially relevant to the Midyear case (in fact, the final count was 694,000). “Based on the number of emails, we could have every email that Huma and Hillary ever sent each other,” the agent remarked  to colleagues. It appeared this was the mother lode of missing Clinton emails. But Strzok remained uninterested. “This isn’t a ticking terrorist bomb,” he was quoted as saying in the recently issued inspector general’s report. Besides, he had bigger concerns, such as, “You know, is the government of Russian trying to get somebody elected here in the United States?”

Strzok and headquarters sat on the mountain of evidence for another 26 days. The career New York agent said all he was hearing from Washington was “crickets,” so he pushed the issue to his immediate superiors, fearing he would be “scapegoated” for failing to search the pile of digital evidence. They, in turn, went over Strzok’s head, passing their concerns on to career officials at the National Security Division of the Justice Department, who in turn set off alarm bells at the seventh floor executive suites of the Hoover Building.

The New York agent has not been publicly identified, even in the recent IG report, which only describes him as male. But federal court filings in the Weiner case reviewed by RCI list two FBI agents present in court proceedings, only one of whom is male – John Robertson. RCI has confirmed that Robertson at the time was an FBI special agent assigned to the C-20 squad investigating “crimes against children” at the bureau’s New York field office at 26 Federal Plaza, which did not return messages.

The agent told the inspector general that he wasn’t political and didn’t understand all the sensitive issues headquarters may have been weighing, but he feared Washington’s inaction might be seen as a cover-up that  could wreak havoc on the bureau.

“I don’t care who wins this election,” he said, “but this is going to make us look really, really horrible.”

Lisa Page: “Whatever.” (Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/The Associated Press)

Once George Toscas, the highest-ranking Justice Department official directly involved in the Clinton email investigation, found out about the delay, he prodded headquarters to initiate a search and to inform Congress about the discovery.

By Oct. 21, Strzok had gotten the word. “Toscas now aware NY has hrc-huma emails,” he texted McCabe’s counsel, Lisa Page, who responded, “whatever.”

Four days later, Page told Strzok – with whom she was having an affair – about the murmurs she was hearing from brass about having to tell Congress about the new emails. “F them,” Strzok responded, apparently referring to oversight committee leaders on the Hill.

The next day, Oct. 26, the New York agent finally was able to brief Strzok’s team directly about what he had found on the laptop. On Oct. 27, Comey gave the green light to seek a search warrant.

Michael Horowitz: “Pressure from New York was key to reopening email case.” (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press)

“This decision resulted not from the discovery of dramatic new information about the Weiner laptop, but rather as a result of inquiries from the Weiner case agent and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office [in New York],” Horowitz said in his recently released report on the Clinton investigation.

Former prosecutors say that politics is the only explanation for why FBI brass dragged their feet for a month after the New York office alerted them about the  Clinton emails.

“There’s no rational explanation why, after they found over 300,000 Clinton emails on the Wiener laptop in late September, the FBI did nothing for a month,” former deputy Independent Counsel Solomon “Sol” L. Wisenberg said in a recent interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “It’s pretty clear there’s a real possibility they did nothing because they thought it would hurt Mrs. Clinton during the election.”

Horowitz concurred. The IG cited suspicions that the inaction “was a politically motivated attempt to bury information that could negatively impact the chances of Hillary Clinton in the election.”

He noted that on Nov. 3, after Comey notified Congress of the search, Strzok created a suspiciously inaccurate “Weiner timeline” and  circulated it among the FBI leadership.

The odd document, written after the fact, made it seem as if New York hadn’t fully processed the laptop until Oct. 19 and had neglected to fill headquarters in on details about what had been found until Oct. 21. In fact, New York finished processing on Oct. 4 and first began reporting back details to top FBI executives as early as Sept. 28.” (Read much more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/23/2018)

(Timeline editor’s note: This is just an excerpt from a much more in-depth report on what happened to the Weiner laptop. Please be sure to read it in its entirety.)

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