The warrant that permitted the FBI to seize and search a computer related to the Hillary Clinton email controversy was unsealed by a federal judge on Tuesday.
The warrant reveals that FBI Director Jim Comey’s letter to Congress just days before the election was politically motivated.
Statistics show that Clinton’s downward spiral in the polls began with a letter sent by Comey to Congress on Oct. 28 that announced the agency’s intention to investigate further into the Democratic candidate’s use of a private email server. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com stated that Clinton would have won if not for Comey’s letter to Congress.
I'll put it like this: Clinton would almost certainly be President-elect if the election had been held on Oct. 27 (day before Comey letter).
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) December 11, 2016
The letter by Comey, however, failed to mention that the case the FBI was investigating had nothing to do with previous allegations that Clinton was guilty of negligence in national security measures as secretary of state. The FBI was investigating allegations surrounding Anthony Weiner’s sexting of an underage girl and was unrelated to Clinton’s position with the State Department. The warrant was issued to seize a laptop owned by Anthony Weiner and shared with his wife, Huma Abedin, who has been working with Hillary Clinton for several years.
Particularly damning is the revelation that even though the computer belonged to Weiner and Abedin, neither one of them is mentioned in the warrant or associated forms documenting the seizure of the laptop. Hillary Clinton, however, is mentioned by name, with references to the previous, and unrelated investigation that was concluded in July and resulted in no charges for the Democrat.
The warrant was unsealed by Manhattan federal court judge P. Kevin Castel, according to the New York Post in response to a petition from E. Randol Schoenberg, a Los Angeles attorney.
According to ABC, Schoenberg noted that when the FBI received the search warrant, “that meant that some judge thought there was probable cause to believe that an actual crime had been committed and that they would find evidence of the crime on the laptop.”
But a statement from Schoenberg says that he sees nothing in the warrant that would back probable cause for a search and seizure in an unrelated case.
‘I see nothing at all in the search warrant application that would give rise to probable cause, nothing that would make anyone suspect that there was anything on the laptop beyond what the FBI had already searched and determined not to be evidence of a crime, nothing to suggest that there would be anything other than routine correspondence between Secretary Clinton and her longtime aide Huma Abedin.’
As noted by Tamara Keith of NPR, the timing of Comey’s letter to Congress is particularly indicative of a political motive. The letter was sent before the warrant was issued, implying that Comey was jumping the gun on “probable cause.”
Notable to see date on the newly unsealed Clinton emails search warrant is after the Comey letter was released (though we knew that already) pic.twitter.com/zDcwr6LKSc
— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) December 20, 2016
The FBI already had possession of the laptop in question, while the last date of execution for using the warrant was a full five days after the election. Sending the letter to Congress a mere week prior to Election Day, before the warrant was issued, before the warrant expired, shows that Comey is culpable for interference in the results of that election.
1. The laptop WAS ALREADY IN THE POSSESSION OF THE FBI.
— Leah McElrath (@leahmcelrath) December 20, 2016
As Schoenberg points out in a Twitter post with an image of the heavily redacted warrant, how does the mere volume of email between an employee and employer justify a probable cause for criminal investigation?
Since when is this probable cause? pic.twitter.com/R4vymsMMeC
— E Randol Schoenberg (@RandySchoenberg) December 20, 2016
Adding to the appearance of politically motivated complicity is Comey’s refusal to acknowledge that the CIA uncovered targeted cyber hacks directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as a form of vengeance against Clinton and as a means of aiding a more conciliatory Donald Trump into the White House.
Comey had no problem publicly announcing the investigation of Abedin’s laptop and tying it to Hillary Clinton only a week before Election Day. During the same week, however, Comey advised the Obama administration not to publicly accuse Russia of interference too close to the election, saying it would appear too partisan.
Whether or not James Comey will be held accountable for his interference in the 2016 presidential election is yet unknown. Many high-level Democrats are placing the onus for Hillary’s loss on Comey’s doorstep, including former President Bill Clinton. However, it remains to be seen if formal charges will ever be filed in future.
Featured image via Getty/Mark Wilson