WASHINGTON – Federal law enforcement officials said Friday that the new emails uncovered in the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server were discovered after the FBI seized electronic devices belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton, and her husband, Anthony Weiner.
The FBI is investigating illicit text messages that Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. The bureau told Congress on Friday that it had uncovered new emails related to the Clinton case – one federal official said they numbered in the thousands – potentially reigniting an issue that has weighed on the presidential campaign and offering a lifeline to Donald Trump less than two weeks before the election.
In a letter to Congress, FBI Director James B. Comey said that emails had surfaced in an unrelated case, and that they “appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
Comey said the FBI was taking steps to “determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” He said he did not know how long it would take to review the emails, or whether the new information was significant.
Trump seized on the FBI action Friday at a rally in New Hampshire: “Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” he said.
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to the development. As Clinton arrived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she waved at members of the media gathered on the tarmac but ignored shouted questions.
The Republican National Committee also cheered the new attention on Clinton’s emails as a potential turning point in the race.
“The FBI’s decision to reopen their criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret email server just 11 days before the election shows how serious this discovery must be,” Reince Priebus, chairman of the RNC, said in a statement. “This stunning development raises serious questions about what records may not have been turned over and why, and whether they show intent to violate the law.”
In September, Comey announced that the FBI had closed the investigation after determining that no one should face criminal charges. But Comey did criticize Clinton and her aides for what he termed the “extremely careless” handling of sensitive information.