A federal court Tuesday released a partially redacted copy of the search warrant that allowed the FBI to dig through a laptop belonging to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin just days before the November election. The warrant sheds some light on why the FBI resumed the investigation into Clinton’s emails, a move that, along with Bureau director James Comey’s announcement of the resumed investigation, is thought to have hurt Clinton on election day.
So, what did the FBI find that justified the search? Abedin’s laptop contained emails between her and Clinton that were sent around the same time as previously uncovered emails containing classified information. The bureau argued that this constituted probable cause to search the computer, which belonged to Abedin’s sleazy husband, Anthony Weiner, who was under investigation for allegedly sexting with a minor.
The request was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox and unsealed after a lawsuit from a Los Angeles lawyer, who says the request for the search warrant should have never been granted. “I am appalled,” E. Randol Schoenberg told the Washington Post.
He’s not the only one. The Huffington Post spoke with three legal experts who say the warrant should have been denied.
The legal experts’ argument against the validity of the subpoena boils down to this: The FBI had already publicly announced that it could not prove Clinton intended to disclose classified information. Without that intent, and without evidence of gross negligence, there was no case. The warrant offers no suggestion that proving those elements of the crime would be made easier by searching new emails.
The essence of the warrant application is merely that the FBI has discovered new emails sent between Clinton and Abedin.
The unsealing of this warrant and the less-than-convincing case it makes for reigniting the investigation into Clinton’s emails will only further fuel the belief that Comey cost her the election. It’s a theory that the former secretary of State herself buys into and one that got a little support from a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that shows the top reason people voted for Trump was to keep Clinton out of the White House.