Showing posts with label Emails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emails. Show all posts

November 2, 2018

Read THE MISSING EMAILS! Between Trump Campaign and Roger Stone

Michael S. SchmidtMark MazzettiMaggie HabermanSharon LaFraniere
By Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, Maggie Haberman and Sharon LaFraniere

WASHINGTON — When WikiLeaks published a trove of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman a month before the 2016 election, it was widely viewed as an attempt to damage her standing, even as WikiLeaks defended the release as an effort to bring greater transparency to American politics.

We have since learned that the emails were originally hacked by Russian intelligence operatives. What is still not clear is how much Trump campaign advisers knew about the hacks at the time — a subject of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III — or the extent of their interactions with far-right figures eager to undermine Mrs. Clinton.

Emails obtained by The New York Times provide new insight into those connections, as well as efforts by Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime informal adviser to President Trump and political operative, to seek funding through the campaign for his projects aimed at hurting Mrs. Clinton. The emails are verbatim, typos and all, save for email addresses deleted to protect the emailers’ privacy.

The Players

Stephen K. Bannon, Trump campaign chairman and co-founder of the far-right Breitbart News, who ran the website until he joined the campaign

Matthew Boyle, Breitbart’s Washington editor

Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime conservative operative and confidant of President Trump

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks

The Context

A month before the election, Mrs. Clinton looked to be cruising to victory. Mr. Trump’s surrogates, including Mr. Stone, were trying to come up with ways to attack her to help Mr. Trump gain ground. 

Mr. Stone had long claimed both publicly and privately that he had foreknowledge of the information that WikiLeaks planned to release about Mrs. Clinton and her political allies. In early October, Mr. Stone predicted on his Twitter account, which was suspended after a string of expletive-laden tweets, that the documents that Mr. Assange promised to make public would hurt Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

Oct. 2, 2016 @rogerjstonejr: “Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done.”

Oct. 3, 2016 @rogerjstonejr: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #LockHerUp”
The Emails

On the night of Oct. 3, Mr. Boyle emailed Mr. Stone. Mr. Assange had scheduled a news conference for the next day where he would announce he was releasing a new cache of documents. The emails show how closely intertwined Breitbart News and the campaign were and how people in Mr. Bannon’s orbit saw Mr. Stone as a direct link to WikiLeaks.

Monday, October 3, 2016 
FROM: Matthew Boyle
TO: Roger Stone

Assange — what’s he got? Hope it’s good.


Matthew Boyle 
Washington Political Editor, Breitbart News
Mr. Stone had apparently been trying to get in touch with Mr. Bannon to tell him about Mr. Assange’s plans. Mr. Boyle, a protégé of Mr. Bannon’s, forwarded to him Mr. Stone’s email. But Mr. Bannon appeared uninterested in engaging.

Monday, October 3, 2016
FROM: Roger Stone
TO: Matthew Boyle

It is. I’d tell Bannon but he doesn’t call me back.

My book on the TRUMP campaign will be out in Jan.

Many scores will be settled. 


Monday, October 3, 2016 
FROM: Matthew Boyle
TO: Steve Bannon
You should call Roger. See below. You didn’t get from me.

Monday, October 3, 2016 
FROM: Steve Bannon
TO: Matthew Boyle 
I’ve got important stuff to worry about

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 
FROM: Matthew Boyle
TO: Steve Bannon

Well clearly he knows what Assange has. I’d say that’s important.
The next morning, Mr. Assange told reporters in Berlin, by teleconference, that he planned to release “significant material” in the coming weeks, including some related to the American presidential election. He said WikiLeaks hoped to publish a trove of documents each week in the coming months. Mr. Assange’s comments were reported extensively in the United States.

Mr. Bannon then contacted Mr. Stone directly, asking for insight into Mr. Assange’s plan. Notably, Mr. Stone did not tell Mr. Bannon anything that Mr. Assange had not said publicly. He did explain that Mr. Assange was concerned about his security, and he said in an interview that Randy Credico, a New York comedian and activist whom Mr. Stone has identified as his source about WikiLeaks, also gave him that information.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
FROM: Steve Bannon
TO: Roger Stone

What was that this morning???

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 
FROM: Roger Stone
TO: Steve Bannon
Fear. Serious security concern. He thinks they are going to kill him and the London police are standing done. 

However —a load every week going forward.

Roger stone

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 
FROM: Steve Bannon
TO: Roger Stone

He didn’t cut deal w/ clintons???
The final email in the exchange is vintage Stone. He demanded that Trump campaign surrogates convey his accusations, made without evidence, about Bill Clinton’s having a love child named Danney Williams. And he told Mr. Bannon to have the wealthy Republican donor Rebekah Mercer send money to his political organization — a 501(c)(4) group sometimes called a C-4 — which was structured to keep its donors secret. No evidence has emerged that Mr. Bannon asked Ms. Mercer to send money.

In response to Mr. Bannon’s request for insider information into whether Mr. Assange had cut a deal with the Clintons not to release the emails, Mr. Stone said he did not know.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 
FROM: Roger Stone
TO: Steve Bannon

Don’t think so BUT his lawyer Fishbein is a big democrat .

I know your surrogates are dumb but try to get them to understand Danney Williams case 

chick mangled it on CNN this am 

He goes public in a big way Monday— Drudge report was a premature leak.

I’ve raise $150K for the targeted black digital campaign thru a C-4

Tell Rebecca to send us some $$$

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Michael S. Schmidt is a Washington correspondent covering national security and federal investigations. He was part of two teams that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2018 — one for reporting on workplace sexual harassment and the other for coverage of President Trump and his campaign’s ties to Russia. @NYTMike

Mark Mazzetti is a Washington investigative correspondent, a job he assumed after covering national security from the Washington bureau for 10 years. He was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. @MarkMazzettiNYT

Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The Times in 2015 as a campaign correspondent and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. Previously, she worked at Politico, The New York Post and The New York Daily News. @maggieNYT

Sharon LaFraniere is an investigative reporter. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for national reporting on Donald Trump’s connections with Russia. @SharonLNYT

February 18, 2017

Chairman Rep.Chaffetz is Going Back to Investigate Clinton Emails

(CNN)House Oversight Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz is asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into the staffer who helped set up former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server.

In a letter sent Thursday evening, Chaffetz recommends former Clinton IT aide Bryan Pagliano for prosecution over failure to show up in person to his committee in compliance with a subpoena. Pagliano became a key player during the investigation into Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state.

“If left unaddressed, Pagliano's conduct in ignoring a lawful congressional subpoena could gravely impair Congress's ability to exercise its core constitutional authorities of oversight and legislation," Chaffetz wrote.

The law Chaffetz accused Pagliano of violating is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine between $100 and $1,000 as well as between a month and a year in jail.
CNN has reached out to Pagliano for comment.

The Utah Republican said the committee requested Pagliano's testimony at a September 2016 hearing and that Pagliano's lawyer told the committee he would "not appear voluntarily" and if he did appear, he would plead the Fifth -- the right to not answer questions to avoid potentially incriminating oneself.
The letter to Sessions said Chaffetz issued a subpoena served electronically to Pagliano. The original hearing was recessed and a back and forth ensued between Chaffetz and Pagliano’s attorneys, according to the letter.

Pagliano never showed, and the committee voted on party lines to hold him in contempt.
At the time, Pagliano’s lawyers said Chaffetz's demand "betrays a naked political agenda," saying the subpoena served no valid legislative purpose.

Chaffetz, however, argued otherwise at the time and in his letter on Thursday.
“There is no legal basis for Pagliano's refusal to appear before the committee," the letter read.

At a deposition with the conservative group Judicial Watch earlier in 2016, a spokeswoman from the group said Pagliano invoked the Fifth about 125 times. He also invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in a closed door session with the House Select Committee on Benghazi in 2015.

As part of the Justice Department investigation into Clinton's email practices, Pagliano accepted an immunity deal. The FBI never pursued criminal charges against Clinton or others over the arrangement. But the FBI closing its investigation and the end of the election hasn't stopped Chaffetz's dogged pursuit of the Clinton email saga. On Inauguration Day, he shook her hand and later wrote, “The investigation continues."

November 30, 2016

When Comey Pulled Out Thumb for the Election, Trump Might Have Been a Target

Just 11 days before the U.S. presidential election, FBI Director James Comey wrote a letter to Congress letting them know that the agency had found additional emails that “appear to be pertinent” to its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

It was extremely unusual for the bureau to be so forthcoming about an investigation, and the move drew harsh criticism from both Democrats and Republicans who accused Comey of deliberately trying to turn the election in Trump’s favor.
Ten days after the election, the FBI responded to a longstanding VICE News Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, revealing that the bureau may very well have been investigating Donald Trump, too.

In September, VICE News and Ryan Shapiro, a doctoral candidate at MIT and research affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, filed the FOIA lawsuit against the FBI demanding documents connected to a pair of incendiary comments Trump made on the campaign trail over the summer. In July, he called upon Russia to track down “30,000 emails [from Hillary Clinton’s private email server] that are missing.” And at an August campaign rally in North Carolina, he made a statement that was widely interpreted as calling for the assassination of Clinton.

We sought this information from the FBI after receiving a tip that the bureau, in addition to the Secret Service, was probing the incidents. We asked the FBI to grant us expedited processing because there was an urgent need to inform the public before they went to the polls on November 8.

But the FBI refused to respond to our request before the election, instead dating it Nov. 18; we received it in the mail Nov. 28.

“The nature of your request implicates investigative records the FBI may or may not compile pursuant to its broad criminal and national security investigative missions and functions,” said the bureau’s response, which is embedded at the end of this story. “Accordingly, the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of any such records about your subject as the mere acknowledgment of such records existence or nonexistence would in and of itself trigger foreseeable harm to agency interests.”

This is what’s known as a Glomar response, a term that came into use after the CIA denied a reporter’s request in the 1970s for information about a CIA ship, the Glomar Explorer, designed to recover a sunken Russian submarine. The agency refused to either confirm or deny the ship’s existence.

The FBI’s response states that any records the FBI has must be withheld because disclosure would interfere with enforcement proceedings and disclose information vital for effective investigations. This response is highly suspicious.

‘If the FBI is going to break from precedent, it cannot do so for one presidential candidate and not the other.’
For one, it is extremely rare for the FBI to issue a Glomar. I’ve filed thousands of requests with the bureau and I cannot recall ever receiving a Glomar. Typically, when a FOIA requester seeks information from the FBI on anything the bureau might be investigating, the FBI has explicit authority to deny the request, citing a pending investigation. However, because using that exemption would itself confirm to a requester that there’s an ongoing probe, the FBI has the authority under the FOIA to essentially lie and say it doesn’t have any documents — even when it does.

But the bureau did neither of those things. Instead, it said it could not confirm or deny that it has any documents concerning an investigation into Trump and/or his comments about Clinton.

Had the FBI released this letter to us prior to the election, our subsequent story would have noted that Trump may be under investigation over his comments — and that no doubt would have attracted widespread media attention. The FBI may have been aware of this and chosen to delay disclosure until after Election Day.

The fact that Comey revealed to the heads of eight congressional committees that FBI investigators located emails potentially pertinent to its probe of Clinton before Election Day is a potential double standard not lost on Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“It is extremely difficult to understand the FBI’s position,” he told VICE News. “On one hand, they are refusing to provide any information whatsoever in response to these FOIA requests relating to Donald Trump, yet at the height of the presidential campaign, the FBI director personally disclosed details about the investigative steps the FBI was taking with respect to Secretary Clinton — even though there was no finding of criminal activity. I have said repeatedly that if the FBI is going to break from longstanding precedent, it cannot do so for only one presidential candidate and not the other. I believe this approach has done great harm to the public’s trust in the FBI.”

A spokesperson for Clinton has not responded to a request for comment

It’s unlikely the FBI launched a full-blown investigation into Trump’s comments. Instead, an agent likely raised it as an issue and opened a file that probably contains a few sheets of paper. But that itself would be newsworthy.

Nate Jones, the director of the FOIA project at George Washington University’s National Security Archive, told VICE News the FBI’s response to our requests is troubling on a number of other fronts as well.

“It appears clear that the FBI is placing its interest on not performing a FOIA review of the documents — or even stating if they exist — above the very large public interest in this case,” he said. “It’s another important example as to why agencies should not be given the ability to issue blanket ‘non-denial’ denials in response to FOIA requests…. Hopefully, in this case a judge will compel the FBI to do just this.”

Jeffrey Light, the FOIA attorney handling our case, said VICE News will challenge the FBI’s response in court. But before we proceed, we need the Secret Service to respond to an identical FOIA request. The Secret Service had already stated publicly that it was looking into Trump’s comments about “Second Amendment people” and Clinton. But they’re now in an awkward position: It is their job to protect President-elect Trump.

A word from the publisher:

“Just Like in the days of JEdgar Hoover except he did it quietly: Having friendly candidates to the FBI elected.  You are free to speculate about the FBI after a Presidential election was tilted. The polls were not wrong, they just did not have the time to recover in three days after Hillary was let off the hook by the same guy that put her out to dry 11 days before the election.”

November 8, 2016

The Way Comey Handled Emails Brings Hard Questioning to the Agency

 Where the scales tipped on Email letter to congress just before the election?
Most people think so
The FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation has created more turmoil for the bureau than any other matter in recent history, exposing internal tensions with the Justice Department and stirring concerns the famously apolitical organization unnecessarily injected itself into the campaign.

The FBI for decades has prided itself on being both independent and silent about its work. It has survived other painful moments in its century-long existence. But rarely have its core duties become so awkwardly entangled with politics, thanks to an election-year criminal investigation involving Clinton's email practices — and whiplash-producing public statements in the final two weeks of the campaign.

Though FBI Director James Comey signaled a conclusion to the Clinton email matter with a letter to Congress on Sunday, the public isn't done discussing it: Lawmakers demand answers to questions left unresolved by two vague and ambiguous letters. Clinton and her aides feel wronged by a curiously timed disclosure. And ex-prosecutors of both parties are concerned the bureau's actions strayed from its mandate to remain above politics.

The controversy, coupled with a series of leaks laying bare internal squabbling, suggests a tough road ahead for FBI leadership regardless of who wins Sunday. "This has been a very difficult election process. Unfortunately, the FBI has been drawn into it," said Leo Taddeo, a retired FBI supervisor. He said he was concerned that candidates seemed more eager than before to politicize national security issues and seek investigations into opponents.
"This is a new and developing trend in U.S. political discourse, so I think the FBI has to resist being drawn into it," he added.

That's easier said than done.

The FBI last year began investigating Clinton for the potential mishandling of classified information as secretary of state after a referral from the intelligence community inspector general. Comey has said the investigation was done without regard to politics, but he also never lost sight of its political sensitivities, receiving regular briefings from investigators and repeatedly refusing to discuss it in public.
When the FBI decided it wouldn't recommend charges, he broke from protocol and delivered an unusual public statement chastising Clinton and her aides as "extremely careless."

But the pushback to that announcement was nothing compared to what Comey has faced the last two weeks, starting with his Oct. 28 notification to Congress that the FBI would review newly discovered emails potentially connected to the Clinton email investigation.

The statement provoked outrage from Clinton and other Democrats who said it needlessly placed her under suspicion when the FBI didn't even know if the emails were important. The Justice Department opposed the idea, too.
Then came Sunday's statement, in which Comey effectively cleared the Democratic presidential nominee by saying the new review had done nothing to change the FBI's July recommendation that she not face charges. Though a relief to Democrats and Clinton, the news also infuriated some who wondered why the new emails — if apparently insignificant — were ever made public in the first place.

"Today's letter makes Director Comey's actions nine days ago even more troubling," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee.

Comey says he felt obligated to alert Congress after having previously testified that the investigation had been closed. Supporters say had he kept silent until after the election, he would have faced partisan allegations of stifling a bombshell announcement and perhaps given fuel to allegations of a "rigged" election. He also would have risked the chance of the news leaking out anyway.

"Do I sit quietly and do nothing for 10 days and let the election quietly go by, pregnant with the knowledge that we have thousands of new emails?" said Ron Hosko, a retired FBI assistant director. "Or do I tell the same Congress that I've been committed to being transparent with?"

The bureau has been further roiled by leaks that hint at disagreement over the handling of a separate inquiry involving the Clinton Foundation. The Associated Press and other news organizations have reported that FBI agents seeking an investigation met earlier this year with public corruption prosecutors to present allegations they wanted to pursue, but that the lawyers did not see a basis for moving forward.

Hosko said there's no doubt former agents in particular were distressed by the FBI's decision not to recommend charges against Clinton. But he said there was no "revolution" inside the storied Hoover Building.

"There's a lot of fiction-writing going on," Hosko said. "It's being fanned up by people and repeated by people who pretend they know something when they know nothing."

The FBI has survived frayed relations between its leaders and the president before — Bill Clinton and his FBI director, Louis Freeh, were known to have strongly disliked each other. In the modern era, it's gone through major structural reorganizations, such as after the Sept. 11 attacks, and faced second-guessing after operations that haven't gone as planned.

But the latest turmoil poses a unique challenge for a revered law enforcement organization and for a director who talks often about his desire to be accountable to the American people — and transparent.

Depending on who wins Tuesday, Comey will have to co-exist with either a Republican president who has repeatedly challenged his agency's integrity or a Democrat whose email practices were the subject of a criminal investigation. He'll also probably have to explain his decision-making to Congress.

"Rest assured, Jim Comey's not afraid of creating controversy," Taddeo said. "He is determined to do the right thing."

Associated Press

November 3, 2016

Pres.Obama Smacks Down FBI Chief Without Naming Him

 President Obama sharply criticized the decision by his F.B.I. director to alert Congress on Friday about the discovery of new emails related to the Hillary Clinton server case, implying that it violated investigative guidelines and trafficked in innuendo.

“We don’t operate on incomplete information,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with NowThis News, broadcast Wednesday. “We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

“When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the F.B.I., the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable,” Mr. Obama said.

The president did not mention the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, but it was clear Mr. Obama was referring to him.

Declaring that he had “made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I’m meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments,” Mr. Obama nonetheless expressed confidence in Mrs. Clinton.

“I trust her,’’ he said. “I know her. And I wouldn’t be supporting her if I didn’t have absolute confidence in her integrity and her interest in making sure that young people have a better future.’’

White House officials later downplayed Mr. Obama’s remarks about the F.B.I. and insisted he had not meant to criticize Mr. Comey.

“The president went out of his way to say he wouldn’t comment on any particular investigations,” Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, told reporters on Air Force One while Mr. Obama was en route to North Carolina to campaign for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Schultz characterized Mr. Obama’s remarks as mirroring those made in recent days by the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, who had said that while the White House would not criticize Mr. Comey’s decision to update Congress on the status of an ongoing investigation, Mr. Obama believed that rules intended to keep such investigations confidential were good ones and should be followed.

For the last several days, the F.B.I. has been analyzing emails belonging to Huma Abedin, a top adviser to Mrs. Clinton. Agents discovered the emails last month in an unrelated investigation into Ms. Abedin’s estranged husband, the disgraced former congressman Anthony D. Weiner.

*New York Times

*Now This Now

November 1, 2016

A Top Cop and Prosecutor Too

Beyond the precedent that the Justice Department, particularly the FBI, bends over backward not to interfere in a presidential election, there is yet another precedent, this one established during the Monica Lewinsky investigation: A holder of high office, under pressure from both Congress and the press, can lose his mind. The mind in question belonged to Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel, who back in the winter of 1997 signaled he had had more than enough of Bill Clinton, sex that wasn’t sex, a dress no longer suitable for a casual date, and other such matters and was quitting. He would repair to Pepperdine University, about as far from Washington as is continentally possible, and become dean of its law school. Then all hell broke loose.

Republican members of Congress denounced Starr for cutting and running. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), a member of the all-important Judiciary Committee, asked Starr to reconsider. William Safire, then the biggest gun on the New York Times’s op-ed page, was less judicious. His column was titled “The Big Flinch.” He called Starr a wimp who had brought “shame on the legal profession” — as if such a thing were possible. It seemed it was, and Starr retracted his resignation, stayed in Washington, hounded Clinton into impeachment and, in general, soiled a promising legal career that once had him on some shortlists for the Supreme Court.

I tell you this sad tale of opportunity missed just to illustrate how political pressure and the braying of the media can addle the minds of otherwise smart people. This is what happened to Ken Starr, and it seems to have happened to James B. Comey, the director of the FBI, although maybe not for much longer. Twice now, he has lost his bearings, stepped out of his role as top cop and decided he was prosecutor instead. In July, he announced that the FBI had concluded its investigation into the Hillary Clinton email server and found nothing worth prosecuting. He did find that her handling of her emails had been “extremely careless,” which was true, but was the sort of judgment that pundits like me get to make, not lofty FBI directors whose personal — even professional — opinions should be saved for their memoirs.

For recommending against indictment, Comey was vilified by the right, particularly by Donald Trump. Others had a different criticism: Comey should have said nothing at all. The decision to prosecute is made by the Justice Department, not the FBI, and it was not his place to chastise Clinton, who, if I may be permitted an observation, certainly deserved it. Now Comey has announced that the investigation that seemed closed remains open. He announced this less than two weeks before Election Day, virtually reviving a dormant Trump campaign. “Bigger than Watergate,” Trump observed.

What’s going on? We don’t know. An astounding 650,000 emails were found by the FBI on the laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the now-estranged (and always strange) husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s No. 1 aide. This could be a device that Weiner allegedly used to send filthy pictures of himself to women both young and old, one purportedly a mere 15. It’s possible the emails are duplicates of what the FBI has already seen on Clinton’s private server or — G-men beware — maybe half a million Weiner selfies. (You cannot out-weird this story.)

From the very start, I’ve felt that this whole business of Clinton’s email server has been ridiculously hyped. She shouldn’t have done it. Granted. She’s hiding something. Granted. She’s even hiding that she’s hiding something. But she didn’t commit treason, and the nation’s security has not been endangered as far as we know, and all this mucking around in the personal emails of public figures has gone too far. If there’s no crime, let’s move on. The threat is not Clinton and her BlackBerry, but the Russians and their military-industrial-hacking complex.

But Comey, buffeted from both sides and possessed of a fiery moralism, has now possibly thrown the election into doubt. What’s this all about, Jim? We — the voters — need to know. (Actually, I can’t imagine learning anything that would get me to vote for Trump.) Still, some voters are undecided. Both candidates have the negative ratings of bill collectors. Now that Comey has broken established practice and intruded into the elections, he needs to say why — what did his agents glimpse in that laptop that made him throw both judgment and precedent to the wind? It better be good or else he should do what Starr in the end didn’t: quit.

October 30, 2016

Answers to Questions About the Comey-Wiener Emails

Most breaking news stories, especially ones based on law-enforcement sources, tend to be contradictory, confusing or incomplete. That’s because reporters are chasing for scraps of information, which may or may not be right depending on the quality of the sourcing. It usually takes a few days — or weeks — for a complete and accurate picture to emerge.

[This Posting is from the Washington Post]

FBI Director James B. Comey’s announcement Friday that new emails had been found that might be relevant to the Hillary Clinton investigation is a good example. His letter to Congress was cryptic, forcing reporters to scramble for additional explanation. The announcement came 11 days before a highly charged presidential election, leading to political spin on both sides.

Here are answers to some key questions. We will update this as additional, credible information emerges.

I haven’t paid much attention to the news. What happened?

The FBI announced in July that it had completed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, concluding that although she and her aides were “extremely careless” with the handling of classified information, there was no case for criminal prosecution. In large part, Comey said, no prosecutor could bring a case because the FBI could not find evidence that indicated “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.”

As part of that probe, Comey said, the agency had examined every possible work-related email it could find, including reconstructing fragments of emails found on an abandoned server. On Friday, Oct. 28, Comey sent a letter to Congress saying additional emails that might be relevant to the investigation had been found.

What do we know about the new emails?

Not much. In fact, it does not appear as if the FBI has yet examined them in depth. Comey, in his letter, said the new emails “appear to be pertinent” to the earlier investigation. He also added the FBI “cannot yet assess whether the material may or may not be significant,” including whether the emails contained classified information.

Translation: Once the FBI examines the emails, it may discover these are emails that have already been reviewed in the earlier probe. Alternatively, these could be fresh emails that had been missed in the first investigation. Even then, they may or may not have classified information.

How many emails are there?

There is no precise number, but news reports have said there are more than 1,000. It is unclear whether that number means actual email chains or individual emails.

How did these emails get discovered?

Law enforcement sources have told reporters that the emails were found on a computer that belonged to former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who had been Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department. The computer had been seized as part of an underage sexting investigation of Weiner, conducted by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

The prosecutors investigating Weiner obviously had not been part of the Clinton probe, but apparently once they found State Department emails on the computer, they notified FBI headquarters. Now the investigators who had been part of the Clinton probe will need to comb through the emails found on the computer to determine whether there is anything new in them.

News organizations have reported conflicting information about the nature of the emails. They apparently include some Clinton-Abedin exchanges, but even that has not been confirmed.

How would State Department emails end up on Abedin’s computer?

Abedin had previously told the FBI that when Clinton requested a printout of an email, she would send it to one of two personal accounts because it was too clunky to use the State Department’s system. She told the FBI that she also had maintained an email account for support of Weiner’s campaign activities. It is unclear whether these emails were on an account that had not been disclosed to the FBI or if (and how) they ended up on the hard drive of the computer. Abedin has previously testified that she turned over to her attorneys all devices that she believed contained government work: two laptops, a BlackBerry and some files in her apartment.

What’s the legal risk for Clinton?

Recall that Comey said that the FBI could not find evidence of “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.” If it turns out that the emails had been previously reviewed, there would be no liability for Clinton. Even previously undisclosed emails, especially ones not in Clinton’s possession, would not necessarily change that calculation.

The earlier investigation also focused on Clinton’s closest aides, so Abedin may face new scrutiny if it turns out that she stored classified information on a personal computer. When Abedin left the State Department, she signed a form, known as OF-109, saying she had turned over all classified information.

There are different levels of classification. About 2,000 emails in the Clinton probe were not classified when they were sent, but were “up-classified” to the low-level “confidential” classification after a review by intelligence agencies. But, Comey had said, “110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received,” including eight that were deemed Top Secret. In any case, government officials are supposed to know whether they are in possession of classified information, whether or not it is clearly marked.

Was the investigation “reopened” as Republicans claim?

This is a bit of a semantic dispute. The investigation had not been officially closed, but it had certainly been completed. Comey’s letter was intended to alert Congress that information had been found (the emails on the computer) and the FBI needed to assess whether they are relevant. If it turns out these emails had been previously examined, the FBI would then determine they were not relevant. But if the emails actually had not been discovered in the initial investigation, then the FBI would make it active again.

In any case, from a political perspective, the email issue is “reopened” for Clinton.

Did Comey only write to Republicans as Clinton claimed?

In a news conference, Clinton faulted the FBI for “sending this kind of letter that is only going originally to Republican members of the House.”

That’s wrong. Comey addressed the letter to the Republican chairmen of the relevant committees, but he cc’ed the ranking Democrats on the second page. A Clinton spokesman said she misspoke, having focused on the first page of the letter.

Did Comey have to issue this letter now?

That’s a judgment call. Comey, a Republican, was appointed three years ago by President Obama to a 10-year term, so in theory he is immune from political considerations.

Comey came under heavy criticism from Republicans for having cleared Clinton in the first place — and Democrats were angry that he issued a lengthy statement at the conclusion of the probe, criticizing Clinton and her aides. (His news conference at the time was considered by some as a departure from the norm.)

The Justice Department advised him not to make this new information public so close to the election, saying it was against government policy. But if he did not make it public, the information may still have leaked, especially as prosecutors would need court permission to use information seized in the Weiner probe in a separate investigation. In his letter, he referenced the fact that he had testified that the probe into Clinton’s email server had been completed, and he wanted to update his testimony. 

October 29, 2016

FBI Comey Replaces Wikileaks in Dumping Emails

FBI Director James Comey said Friday that investigators had found new emails related to the bureau's previously closed inquiry into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information, restarting a long-simmering debate over the Democratic nominee's conduct as secretary of State in the closing days of a presidential campaign that Clinton appeared to be putting away.

In a letter to senior lawmakers explaining his decision, Comey said "the FBI cannot yet assess" whether the information is "significant" nor could he offer a timetable for how long it will take investigators to make an assessment.

But an official familiar with the matter said Friday that the new materials, perhaps thousands of emails, were discovered in the ongoing and separate investigation into sexually charged communications between former New York congressman Anthony Weiner and a 15-year-old girl. Comey was briefed on the findings in recent days, resulting in the director's notification to Congress, said the official who is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The emails were discovered in a search of a device or devices used by Weiner, who is separated from longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin. It is unclear whether Abedin had access to the same device or devices.

The official said it was not likely that the FBI's review of the additional emails could be completed by Election Day.

Clinton did not address the matter during a Friday speech in Iowa. But campaign chairman John Podesta demanded that the FBI director "provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter'' to lawmakers.

"Upon completing this investigation more than three months ago, FBI Director Comey declared no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with a case like this and added that it was not even a close call,'' Podesta said in a written statement. "In the months since, Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been baselessly second-guessing the FBI and, in both public and private, browbeating the career officials there to revisit their conclusion in a desperate attempt to harm Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Clinton campaign chair on FBI review: ‘Immediately’ release more information

"We have no idea what those emails are and the director himself notes they may not even be significant,'' Podesta said. "It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election."

In July, Comey announced that while Clinton and her aides during her tenure as secretary of State had been "extremely careless" in the way they'd handled classified information, he recommended that no criminal charges be filed.

Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Oct. 28, 2016. (Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

Soon after, the director testified before skeptical Republican lawmakers to explain the bureau's recommendation, which had been adopted by Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“We’re mystified and confused by the fact pattern you laid out and the conclusion you reached," House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Comey.

Comey, however, was unequivocal in maintaining that the conclusion of investigators was not a close call.

“There is no way anybody would bring a case against John Doe or Hillary Clinton for the second time in 100 years based on those facts,” he told the House panel on July 7.

 Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said in a statement that "without knowing how many emails are involved, who wrote them, when they were written or their subject matter, it’s impossible to make any informed judgment on this development."

She added: " The FBI has a history of extreme caution near Election Day so as not to influence the results. Today’s break from that tradition is appalling.”

The uncertainty of what the new review will yield, and when it will be completed, leaves open the question of how much of an impact it will have on the presidential campaign, as Trump looks to mount what would be a historic comeback, as polls show him trailing nationally and in key battleground states.

"Unless the FBI closes this new investigation one way or the other next week, the likely impact will be to cut into Clinton’s margin, with the bigger effect being on down-ballot races than on the outcome of the presidential election," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, in an emailed statement.

Whatever the long-term impact, the short-term jolt to Trump and his supporters, at least, seemed clear.

In his New Hampshire speech, the GOP nominee suggested the rest of his message for the day would no longer matter as much, given the FBI announcement.

"The rest of my speech is going to be so boring," he joked.

Contributing: David Jackson in Manchester, N.H.

In Politico:
"I got a lot of respect for Jim Comey, but I don't understand this idea of dropping this bombshell which could be a big dud," said former federal prosector Peter Zeidenberg, a veteran of politically sensitive investigations. "Doing it in the last week or 10 days of a presidential election without more information, I don't think that he should because how does it inform a voter? It just invites speculation ... I would question the timing of it. It’s not going to get done in a week."
In defending the statement he made today, Comey might assert that he was attempting to clarify his prior Congressional testimony. But that elaboration on his testimony could legitimately have waited until the FBI completed its analysis of the new emails. He has been around long enough to understand that any new FBI statements regarding the email scandal during the final 11 days of the campaign had a high probability of improperly placing the Bureau into the political process.
Trashing the Justice and FBI rule books in the interest of "openness" is likely to put the FBI front and center in one of the most contentious presidential races in recent US history. J. Edgar Hoover loved to influence elections, but he had the good sense to keep quiet about it.

 I should also add no national security violated? No crime (but damaged would have been done)

In conclusion: The FBI Director has decided to throw a monkey wrench into the election by releasing some emails and some not. The ones that he released, no one knows what they say;
Particularly from the person of Anthony Weiner. The director was not required to advice Congress about this emails he accidentally found on Weiner’s computer.  One would think the FBI would check those emails for classified materials and then if there was nothing that would be the end of it. If they found something then ring the bell that they found something bad and what it is; But to leave things hanging in the wind can easily affect this election which is almost here.
[The only connection Anthony Weiner had to the Clinton camp was his wife which was a top aide when she was Secretary of State. The Weiners have since separated but she still works for Clinton’s campaign] 

What people are wondering is why would this FBI Director hang this unopened garbage bag at the wind just before the election and then say they wont be able to get to them, to examine them.
 To leave them hanging before the election sounds very unfair.  Some believe the pressure will mount for Comey to release everything and make a statement of what he has found so far…before the election.

Mrs. Clinton asked for more emails to be released and more information, not to leave things like this.

Trump on the other side seemed up and full of energy all of a sudden. He said to his crowd  “the election might no be rigged after all!” He was delighted calling the unknown emails worse than Watergate.

After weeks for many Republicans sulking because of Trump’s statements and the numbers going down for him, today they were jubilant like if lady luck was shinning on them again.

For people that were tired of these email controversy something smelled rotten coming from under the seat of the Director of the FBI.

Dealing with Clinton he has thrown to the wind all the protocols that his agency has always followed since Edgar Hoover;  By not announcing what the bureau is investigating and definably not interjecting the agency into a Presidential election. People will start wondering if Director Comey might even be a Republican; Wait he is!
Adam Gonzalez

August 29, 2016

AP Batched the Clinton New Emails Coverage

Hillary Clinton is surrounded by suggestions of controversy. Terms like “Clinton Foundation,” “email server,” and “Benghazi” hover around her like a faint smoke that hints at the existence of fire.

But finding the fire — the lie, the misdeed, the unethical act — is proving to be rather difficult, as evidenced this week by an inaccurate tweet and arguably misleading story from the Associated Press that were quickly rebutted by the Clinton campaign and dismissed by many media outlets.

Three days later, the Associated Press is still standing by its story and has yet to correct its tweet, despite near unanimous agreement among other journalists that the tweet, at least, was false.

“The AP’s social-media take on the story was seriously flawed,” David Boardman, the Dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University and former editor of the Seattle Times, told CNNMoney. “It’s sloppy, click-grabbing shorthand that is a disservice to the reporting to which it refers.”

On Tuesday, the AP sent out a breaking news alert: “BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.”

Not true: As the article stated, what the AP found was that “more than half the people outside the government” who met with Clinton while she was secretary of state “gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation.”

This “extraordinary” finding, as the AP put it, was deemed less extraordinary by other journalists and pundits who noted that Clinton had held thousands of meetings with government employees, foreign representatives, civil leaders, journalists and others while Secretary of State that were not accounted for in the AP’s report.

Moreover, the AP only analyzed 154 meetings, based on what has been made available by the State Department, and thus its review only accounts for a fraction of Clinton’s meeting schedule during her tenure as secretary of state. (The AP’s defenders correctly note that the wire service was only able to examine a limited dataset because of the State Department’s intransigence regarding the release of further records, which the AP has been fighting hard to secure.)

Nevertheless, the AP’s tweet allowed Donald Trump to stand on stage at a campaign rally and declare that “fifty percent of people who saw [Clinton] had to make a contribution to the Clinton Foundation.”

Clinton campaign spokesperson Brian Fallon accused the AP of cherrypicking “a limited subset” of data to give “a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.” On Twitter, he hit the AP for failing to correct its breaking news alert, which he called “100 percent factually inaccurate.”

In a statement, AP spokesperson Paul Colford said his organization had been “transparent in how it has reported this story,” and that it would continue to examine Clinton’s schedules as they became available.

“The Associated Press’ reporting relied on publicly available data provided by the State Department about Hillary Clinton’s meetings, phone calls and emails, cross-referenced against donor information provided by the Clinton Foundation and its related charities on its websites,” Colford wrote.

Meanwhile, other news organizations pilloried the AP’s report.

The Washington Post Fact-Checker wrote that there were “many more nuanced and important details in the story that are being misrepresented — by the AP’s own promotional tweet, and by Trump.”

Vox’s Matthew Yglesias was more direct: “The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess,” his headline read.

Boardman argued that the story itself “was not nearly so flawed as Yglesias and others have charged.”

“The AP reporters made clear they found no smoking-gun quid pro quo. And Clinton defenders’ claim that ‘there is no story’ is absurd; of course it is worth investigating and explaining the relationship between Secretary Clinton and the Foundation, and how that relationship worked while she was at State,” he said.

“If anything,” Boardman continued, “the AP story could have used far more exploration of the inherent ethical issues here, and of the notion that whether or not Clinton gave extraordinary help to Foundation donors, the potential for accusations of that was probably reason enough to avoid such meetings altogether.”

If you would like to know more about how the AP article should have been written I would recommend you stop by the Huffington Post. They wrote a similar story but in a way that it shows the facts more clearly. It’s evident that AP did a rush job on this story and by doing it so it presented the story in a confusing not truthful way and it put their name in a bad light as messy, rush delivery of a story probably because they wanted the lead. No sense being first if it makes look ugly. 

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