Reports: FBI doesn't have a warrant yet to review Abedin emails

Reports by Yahoo News and CBS reveal that the FBI has yet to obtain a warrant to view Huma Abedin's emails found on devices belonging to her estranged husband Anthony Weiner.

This information calls into question Director James Comey's contention that the emails are "pertinent" to congressional investigations. How could he know the emails were relevant if he hasn't read any of them?

The Hill:

Investigators still had not secured a warrant to review the emails as of Saturday night, Yahoo News reported. That echoed reporting from CBS News earlier Saturday.

One of the government officials quoted by Yahoo News said the FBI director "had no idea what was in the content of the emails" when he wrote the letter to lawmakers.

Comey said in his brief letter to lawmakers that emails had been discovered during a separate probe that "appear to be pertinent" to the investigation into Clinton's server.

Authorities discovered the emails when they seized electronic devices belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).

The emails purportedly belong to Abedin and were taken off a laptop used by Weiner, who is under investigation for allegedly carrying on an online relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Comey's letter Friday sparked a political firestorm within two weeks of the election, with Clinton's campaign pushing the FBI to release more information about the emails linked to the Democratic presidential nominee.

Comey's letter to Congress on Friday, which apparently violated DoJ policy and was in direct conflict with the wishes of the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, becomes even more questionable. Are we to believe that it was Comey's personal ethics that drove him to release information on the new investigation without knowing the contents of the emails? The director's contention that he felt bound to inform Congress because he had been saying all summer that the investigation was over just doesn't track.

The fact that the FBI has yet to secure a warrant means that calls from the Clinton campaign and Republicans in Congress to release details of the emails probably can't be met immediately. So the issue will hang in front of voters, inviting all kinds of speculation about what's in the emails and why Abedin kept them on her husband's devices.

If the emails in question have been released before or don't contain anything of importance to the investigation, Comey is history. He will be forced to resign in disgrace for his interference in a presidential election.

I'm sure he thought of that prior to writing the letter, making his actions even more a mystery.  

Thomas Lifson adds:

I think Comey’s hand was forced. As Clarice Feldman recounts today, the evidence was first obtained by the NYPD and handed over to the feds, where the case landed on the desk of US Attorney Preet Baraha, who is honest.  If Comey sat on the new information (which was almost certainly reviewed by the NYPD who may well have their own digital copy of the archive), the news would have been leaked or even publicly disclosed. The FBI does not like being scooped by the NYPD. And Comey would not like being exposed as covering up new information that forces a re-opening of the case.

Then there is the little matter of the FBI agents who reportedly refused to destroy the laptops of Hillary aides, despite Comey’s orders. A rebellion from below is the last thing Comey needs. 

Reports by Yahoo News and CBS reveal that the FBI has yet to obtain a warrant to view Huma Abedin's emails found on devices belonging to her estranged husband Anthony Weiner.

This information calls into question Director James Comey's contention that the emails are "pertinent" to congressional investigations. How could he know the emails were relevant if he hasn't read any of them?

The Hill:

Investigators still had not secured a warrant to review the emails as of Saturday night, Yahoo News reported. That echoed reporting from CBS News earlier Saturday.

One of the government officials quoted by Yahoo News said the FBI director "had no idea what was in the content of the emails" when he wrote the letter to lawmakers.

Comey said in his brief letter to lawmakers that emails had been discovered during a separate probe that "appear to be pertinent" to the investigation into Clinton's server.

Authorities discovered the emails when they seized electronic devices belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).

The emails purportedly belong to Abedin and were taken off a laptop used by Weiner, who is under investigation for allegedly carrying on an online relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Comey's letter Friday sparked a political firestorm within two weeks of the election, with Clinton's campaign pushing the FBI to release more information about the emails linked to the Democratic presidential nominee.

Comey's letter to Congress on Friday, which apparently violated DoJ policy and was in direct conflict with the wishes of the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, becomes even more questionable. Are we to believe that it was Comey's personal ethics that drove him to release information on the new investigation without knowing the contents of the emails? The director's contention that he felt bound to inform Congress because he had been saying all summer that the investigation was over just doesn't track.

The fact that the FBI has yet to secure a warrant means that calls from the Clinton campaign and Republicans in Congress to release details of the emails probably can't be met immediately. So the issue will hang in front of voters, inviting all kinds of speculation about what's in the emails and why Abedin kept them on her husband's devices.

If the emails in question have been released before or don't contain anything of importance to the investigation, Comey is history. He will be forced to resign in disgrace for his interference in a presidential election.

I'm sure he thought of that prior to writing the letter, making his actions even more a mystery.  

Thomas Lifson adds:

I think Comey’s hand was forced. As Clarice Feldman recounts today, the evidence was first obtained by the NYPD and handed over to the feds, where the case landed on the desk of US Attorney Preet Baraha, who is honest.  If Comey sat on the new information (which was almost certainly reviewed by the NYPD who may well have their own digital copy of the archive), the news would have been leaked or even publicly disclosed. The FBI does not like being scooped by the NYPD. And Comey would not like being exposed as covering up new information that forces a re-opening of the case.

Then there is the little matter of the FBI agents who reportedly refused to destroy the laptops of Hillary aides, despite Comey’s orders. A rebellion from below is the last thing Comey needs.