Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin reportedly has said she does not know how tens of thousands of emails related to the FBI investigation of her boss’ personal server were found on a laptop she shared with her now-estranged husband, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.
The Washington Post reported that Abedin was not a regular user of the laptop in question. The paper also reported that Abedin’s lawyers did not bother to search the device for work-related emails after she agreed to turn over such messages to the State Department.
On Saturday, a senior law enforcement official told Fox News that the laptop contained “five digits,” or at least 10,000, emails of interest to investigators.
The source also told Fox News that law enforcement officials think it’s highly unlikely that all of the newfound emails are duplicates, as the Clinton campaign has suggested. The Post reported, citing former FBI officials, that investigators would likely use a computer program to weed out duplicate emails before examining the remaining messages for possible criminality.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that several Clinton allies have suggested the Democratic nominee distance herself from Abedin, who has had a professional relationship with Clinton for two decades. In that capacity, Clinton’s team defended an unusual employment arrangement in which Abedin was paid by the Clinton Foundation, a consulting firm called Teneo and the State Department all at once.
Clinton also stood by Abedin when Weiner’s first online sex scandal cost him his seat in Congress, and when his second imploded his bid for New York mayor. When Abedin announced her separation from Weiner earlier this year, it was Clinton’s campaign that sent her statement to reporters.
Others suggested to the Times that the latest twist in the email investigation would make it impossible for Clinton to make Abedin part of her White House team if she is elected president next month. The paper also reported that Abedin did not travel with Clinton on a swing through Florida Saturday, instead working out of the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters.
“We of course stand behind her,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told reporters, adding Abedin has “completely and voluntarily complied with and cooperated with the investigation.”
The Post reported that Abedin gave a sworn deposition this past June, saying that she had “looked for all the devices that may have any of my State Department work on it and … gave them to my attorneys for them to review for all relevant documents.”
Two months earlier, Abedin told the FBI that her attorneys had asked the State Department about how to conduct a review of work messages from her personal laptop and Blackberry, but received no response.
The FBI announced Friday that it had restarted an investigation into emails Clinton sent on a private server system while secretary of state, as a result of a probe into Weiner’s, “sexting,” or sending sexually-suggestive electronic messages, to a teenage girl.
The FBI conducted a roughly two-year investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server system, finding several emails marked as classified and concluding that she had been “extremely careless.” However, the agency did not find evidence that Clinton had been criminally negligent and did not recommend criminal charges to the Justice Department.