Following the news that Hillary Clinton believes Russian hacks and FBI director James B. Comey’s letter about emails led to her loss in the presidential election, the FBI has released an affidavit that gives some insight into why they decided to reopen the infamous case only a couple of weeks ahead of election day. The affidavit was filed in order to request the search of a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, a disgraced former politician, and his wife Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s close aides. The New York Times reports that because Abedin talked to Clinton daily over email, the FBI thought there might be emails containing classified information on the laptop. It was as simple as that.
Abedin’s emails emerged through an entirely different case investigating the possibility of her husband Anthony Weiner sending inappropriate texts to a minor. The couple shared the computer that Weiner used for these messages, so investigators figured that relevant messages from Clinton would also be on the same laptop. Emails being on the computer would have been prohibited because, as the affidavit points out, it “was never authorized for the storage or transmission of classified…information.”
For many Clinton supporters, this news still isn’t enough to justify Comey’s explosive letter to Congress on Oct. 28, which many people think stopped Clinton from building the momentum necessary to win the election. The FBI didn’t announce that Clinton had been cleared a second time until Nov. 6, only two days before the election. Her lawyer, David E. Kendall, remarked, “As the sole basis for this warrant, the FBI put forward the same evidence the bureau concluded in July was not sufficient to bring a case—the affidavit offered no additional evidence to support any different conclusion.”
The affidavit reveals that a thorough investigation of the laptop is permitted, including keyword searches that would reveal if anything on the computer’s storage is related to the investigation. Officials even have the permission to recover “’deleted,’ ‘hidden,’ or encrypted data.” Now that the affidavit has been released, there just seem to be more questions than ever about how much this investigation impacted the election and how necessary it was. This probably won’t be the last we’ll be hearing about these emails.