Court Releases Warrant FBI Used To Search Laptop For Clinton Emails

Evan Vucci/AP

A federal court on Tuesday released a search warrant application the FBI used to search the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the estranged husband of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, for emails it posited may have been related to an investigation of Clinton’s private email server.

An affidavit from an FBI agent who sought the search warrant claimed that, during a separate investigation in involving Weiner’s laptop, “the FBI observed non-content header information indicating that thousands of emails” from a redacted sender “resided on the Subject laptop.”

The agent later asserted that given the nature of email exchanges found on the laptop between Clinton and a redacted sender, “there is probable cause to believe that the correspondence between them located on the Subject Laptop contains classified information.”

The search warrant was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Fox at 12:32 p.m. ET on Oct. 30. The next day, Abedin’s lawyer told NBC News that the FBI had not contacted her about the laptop, and that she had learned that it might be subject to a search from the news on Oct. 28.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel ordered that the warrant and supporting documents be made public.

E. Randol Schoenberg, a lawyer and Clinton supporter, sued the Justice Department, and the FBI specifically, in early December to make the warrant for Weiner’s computer public. In his claim, he wrote: “Countless American citizens, including Secretary Clinton, believe that Comey’s announcement and the re-opening of the investigation might have single-handedly swayed the election.”

FBI Director James Comey took the extreme step of announcing to Congress on Oct. 28, just 11 days before the election, that new emails he said “appear to be pertinent” to the investigation of Clinton’s private email server had appeared in an “unrelated case.” That ultimately turned out to be the bureau’s investigation of Weiner for allegedly sexting with a minor.

Comey then notified Congress two days before the election that none of the emails found on Weiner’s laptop changed the FBI’s conclusion, months earlier, that Clinton should not be prosecuted for her use of the private server.

Read the search warrant and supporting documents here:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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