FBI agents knew of Clinton-related emails weeks before director was briefed
"I'm sure you're getting a million takes on the Comey/email situation from former AUSAs, but here is what I think is going on (healthy doses of speculation here informed by my experience as a former federal public corruption prosecutor in high profile cases):
1. Agents investigating Weiner saw evidence of State Department related emails on Weiner's laptop. This is a totally separate team of agents from the team that investigated the State Department emails. They thus have no idea whether these have already been reviewed or not. And they can't lawfully look at them without a search warrant or (this is key) consent of the owner of the emails. . . .
2. The issue goes up the chain. Comey and his team decide they better get a look at these or they will be accused one day of a failure to follow a lead (they frankly should have had these long before). But they don't know what's on the emails, so they have no way of assessing whether they're relevant or not. They need a warrant, or consent, or a subpoena.
3. This is where I might be ready to give a slightly charitable explanation to Comey. He thinks if they seek a search warrant, it will leak. And that's probably a reasonable possibility given many GOP-friendly agents and lots of leakers apparently at HQ. In Comey's mind, headlines would be everywhere stating "FBI Seeks Search Warrant for New Clinton Emails" and the cable news folks would be in full hyperventilation mode. The FBI, his beloved institution, would then be subject to unrelenting attack for interfering in the election. So he decides he better preempt this by sending out a vague and, in his view, innocuous letter to the Hill. He thought he was in a no-win situation. One of his own making (he should have never commented on this case publicly at all), but still, a no-win. Chaffetz then distorts it and the uncritical mainstream news outlets desperate for a real horse race go berserk with hysteria and uninformed speculation. . . .
I think back to investigations of members of Congress that I handled and cannot fathom having my FBI agents make public comments about reviewing potential new evidence in real time less than two weeks before an election. It's just insane. Career destroying, Democracy distorting, insanity. At this point, I think he has to say the following: (1) we have not seen any new evidence that changes our prior conclusion; (2) we do not know whether the new email collection involves any emails that were not previously reviewed in reaching our prior conclusion; and (3) we will refer all further questions on this matter to the DOJ."
Still more troubling is the information contained in this just released article in The Wall Street Journal by Devlin Barrett. It describes what the article describes as a feud within the FBI and between the FBI and the Department of Justice over the Clinton probe. It now seems clear that what are essentially rogue FBI agents have been looking for all sorts of different angles to pursue investigations of Hillary Clinton and her family. Indeed, they've presented their evidence to career public corruption prosecutors at DOJ and been told they don't have anything. But it hasn't stopped. They clearly were not happy with the decision in the emails probe even though Comey said not even a close call. This seems to be the backstory of what happened on Friday. Agents pushing for more aggressive investigations on various fronts, Comey fearing he'd be blamed after the fact for not notifying Congress in the letter he sent and specifically being afraid that some of these agents would leak news of the possibly new Huma Abedin emails to Congress. These are not fun situations to be in, I am sure. But they are ones an FBI Director should, indeed must, be willing to stand up to. . .
Did Comey violate the law?
Eichenwald: James Comey's Letter Could Damage The Reputation Of The FBI For Years To Come
Even right wingers are saying this is effed up and unfair
The FBI has their warrant now -- get to work!
A LOT of work: https://politicalwire.com/2016/10/30/weiner-laptop-may-include-650k-emails/
Weiner’s Laptop May Include 650K Emails
Jason Chaffetz's role
There is a lot of speculation that he had heads up on the Comey revelation. He tweeted it out before his Democratic colleagues had gotten the letter. He seemed to know that something was coming. He actually reversed his Trump endorsement the day before. What was his role? Was he leaked some of this new information . . .
How one Congressman punked the media on the FBI letter about Clinton’s emails
How the media has made things worse
This won't happen, but I like that people are talking about it
On the heels of FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reveal a new investigation of emails connected to Hillary Clinton’s server just over a week before the presidential election, top Democrats are demanding that he level the playing field and disclose what the FBI knows about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s possible ties to the Russian government. . .
A great ad: This Time It's Different
Trumpy still wants to talk about . . . waterboarding
Trumpy's war against the media
“These people are among the most dishonest in the world – the media,” Trump said to a roaring crowd. “They are the worst. They’re trying to fix the election for crooked Hillary.”
Reporters covering a Donald Trump rally in Arizona Saturday were baited by a man who shouted an anti-Semitic chant and told them: "You're going down!" The man, wearing a "Hillary for prison" t-shirt, repeatedly yelled "Jew-S-A!" at journalists . . . "We know who you are! You're the enemy!" he shouted at reporters and media workers who were in their designated press area.
Trumpy's phony promises to donate to charity -- read this!
The fourth-grade candidate
This is the weirdest campaign ever
In private, Donald Trump admits “if we don’t” win, “that’s okay, too”
Trump: Campaign ‘will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy’ if I lose
[NB: I still can't really decide if, his outsized ego and competitiveness aside, Trumpy actually wants to be president, or whether this whole campaign has just been an extended exercise in vanity.]
Great story about how Trumpy got tricked into picking a different VP besides Christie, who he wanted
KellyAnne Conway admits that some Trump supporters are indeed "deplorable" -- but, boy she sure doesn't want to talk about them
Some types of bigotry are apparently more reprehensible than others
***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL: http://pbd.blogspot.com