On Friday afternoon – 11 days before the election – FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee informing them of the discovery of new information that might be relevant to the FBI’s previous probe of Clinton’s private email server.
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote. He added, “I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”
According to Comey, because the information just came to light.
What is the new information?
Comey didn’t specify in the letter, but NBC’s Pete Williams reports that the newly discovered emails were not written by Clinton herself.
What’s the “unrelated case”?
Welp – it’s actually the investigation into disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner’s online relationship with an underage girl. In September, the Daily Mail published a lengthy interview with a 15-year-old girl who claimed Weiner – who is married to but separated from Clinton aide Huma Abedin – sent her explicit, inappropriate messages and photographs over the course of several months.
What this isn’t
Comey’s letter does not technically constitute a reopening of the Clinton case. The case was not closed; the FBI had just decided not to charge Clinton in connection with the case.
Were the emails withheld from the investigation?
Pete Williams reports that senior officials with the FBI say this was not a matter of withholding emails. “It doesn’t appear that the the campaign or the Clintons or the State Department had emails that they didn’t give to the FBI, and that the FBI someone found them some other way,” Williams said. “‘It’s not like that,’ they say.”
What does Donald “The Election Is Rigged” Trump have to say about all this?
The Republican nominee was on stage at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, shortly after the news of the FBI letter broke, but before the revelation that Weiner was involved. The system “might not be as rigged as I thought,” Trump said.
Trump, who in addition to floating the idea that the election will be “rigged,” has been highly critical of the FBI’s handling of Clinton’s email, appeared to change his mind about that too. “I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the DOJ are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made. This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understand. It is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected,” he said.
Trump had previously attempted to tie Clinton to the Weiner scandal. In a late August statement, he said, “I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment.”
How about the Clinton camp?
Clinton, who was en route to Iowa as the story broke, seemed unfussed at her rally there Friday. “Donald Trump says he can still win. And you know, he is right. Anything can happen in an election,” she said. “I have a plan for just about everything.”
Meanwhile, Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, said in a statement, “The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.”
Former congressman Anthony Weiner has had many scandals, but the newest one could mean real trouble. Watch here.