The State Department has released a number of the emails belonging to Huma Abedin found on her husband Anthony Weiner’s laptop that prompted FBI Director James Comey to reopen then close a probe of Hillary Clinton’s email just days before the 2016 presidential election.
Clinton’s use of a private email server and the handling of communications, some of them containing sensitive information, was a central issue during the campaign.
The emails released, after Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, belonged to Clinton aide Abedin and were believed to have found their way onto Weiner’s laptop during normal backups of her personal devices. Others were sent from Abedin to Weiner to print out.
Authorities had seized the laptop during a separate investigation of Weiner, a former Congressman from New York, who is now serving a 21-month prison term for sexting with a minor.
The former FBI director has been widely criticized by Clinton proponents for revealing the FBI was taking another look into the Clinton email issue. Before he was canned by President Trump last May, Comeytold members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that it made him “slightly nauseous” to think his decision to inform Congress in late October 2016 that the FBI had renewed the Clinton probe might have affected the outcome of the election.
But Comey defended his decision, saying that when faced with what he saw as two choices – speak or conceal – speaking out was the least damaging. “Lordy that would be really bad,” Comey recalled thinking when considering alerting Congress so close to an election that additional emails had been found on Weiner’s computer. But to conceal renewed interest in Clinton’s email, he said, would have been “catastrophic” to the bureau.
“It was a hard choice, I still believe in retrospect the right choice,” Comey said.
Some of the emails released by the State Department were heavily redacted, according to CNN.