The documents shed new light on how the FBI framed its argument for access to the emails
Clinton was ultimately cleared by the FBI two days before the election
The fact that Hillary Clinton and top aide Huma Abedin previously exchanged classified emails gave federal prosecutors probable cause to justify their review of Anthony Weiner’s laptop last fall, according to a search warrant application released on Tuesday.
The review of the laptop – publicly disclosed less than two weeks before the election – jolted Clinton’s campaign and resurfaced the controversy over her use of a private email server at the State Department.
The search warrant and supporting documents – previously issued in late October but ordered unsealed by a federal judge Monday – shed new light on how the FBI framed its argument for access to the emails and what federal investigators hoped to find. More specifically, investigators sought information on those who accessed classified information, communications with Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state and “activity related to a computer intrusion.”
Eleven days before the 2016 presidential election, FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI discovered emails possibly “pertinent” to the Clinton email server probe “in connection with an unrelated case.” That unrelated case was New York prosecutors’ separate investigation into allegations that Weiner – a former New York congressman and the estranged husband of Abedin – had allegedly sexted with an underage girl.
Though neither Abedin nor Weiner are identified by name in the newly released search warrant documentation, and the court ordered the materials redacted, the affidavit in support of the warrant makes clear that the FBI argued that there was further probable cause to search Weiner’s hard drive in light of the fact that Abedin and Clinton previously exchanged classified emails.
“There is also probable cause to believe that the correspondence between them located on the Subject Laptop contains classified information which was produced by and is owned by the US Government. The Subject Laptop was never authorized for the storage or transmission of classified or national defense information,” an unidentified FBI agent wrote in court papers.
Additionally, the FBI sought a “complete forensic analysis” of the laptop in order to determine “if classified information was accessed by unauthorized users or transferred to any other unauthorized systems,” according to the affidavit.
Abedin’s lawyers have previously said she did not know the emails were on the Weiner laptop and did not know how they got there.
In the end, the investigators determined the emails were mostly ones they had previously seen and Clinton was ultimately cleared by the FBI two days before the election.
CNN’s Evan Perez contributed to this report.