Hillary Clinton‘s private email server is under the microscope again and Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman and estranged husband of Clinton adviser Huma Abedin, might be involved. FBI Director James Comey wrote to Congress on Friday that the bureau is looking at the emails on the server “in connection with an unrelated case.”
That was as specific as Comey was, but federal law enforcement officials told the New York Times that the new emails were discovered after the FBI seized devices owned by Abedin and Weiner in their investigation into Weiner’s alleged sexting with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. MSNBC reports that the emails in question were not sent by Clinton.
During a press conference in Des Moines, Clinton urged the FBI to release all of the information it has and stressed that Comey himself said that he “doesn’t know whether the emails referenced in his letter are significant or not. I’m confident whatever they are will not change the conclusion reached in July.” When asked if she could confirm if the latest emails were linked to Weiner and Abudin, she said that her team has heard these rumors. “We don’t know what to believe,” she said.
Abedin’s lawyer, Karen Dunn, has said that Abedin wasn’t aware of how Clinton-related emails ended up on Weiner’s computer. “From the beginning, Ms. Abedin has complied fully and voluntarily with State Department and law enforcement requests, including sitting for hours-long interviews and providing her work-related and potentially work-related documents,” Dunn said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz tweeted on November 6 that Comey notified Congress that the FBI has “not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to” Clinton, meaning that Clinton still won’t be charged with a crime for her use of a private email server after the investigation of Weiner’s laptop. The complete letter can be read here.
The 52-year-old Weiner represented New York’s 9th Congressional District from 1999 to 2011, when he resigned because of his first sexting scandal. In 2013, he tried to revive his career with a bid for New York Mayor, but that was also derailed by a sexting scandal. He was caught sexting again in August 2016, which led to the end of his marriage. In September 2016, it was reported that he was sexting a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina.
Here’s a look at Weiner’s connection to Clinton and what the FBI is investigating Weiner about.
1. A 15-Year-Old Girl Claimed to the Daily Mail That Weiner Sent Her Suggestive Photos & Texts
On September 21, 2016, an unidentified 15-year-old girl came forward to the Daily Mail with evidence she said showed Weiner sending her suggestive photos and texts. Weiner told the Daily Mail that he knew the girl was underage, but remained in contact with her.
“I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgement about the people I have communicated with online and the things I have sent. I am filled with regret and heartbroken for those I have hurt,” Weiner told the Daily Mail.
Weeks before the Mail’s report, Abedin announced that she was separating from Weiner following The New York Post’s report that Weiner sent sexts to a young brunette while their son was in bed with him.
“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband. Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy,” Abedin said in a statement on August 29.
On September 22, The Washington Post reported that the New York Police Department and a U.S. attorney began an investigation into Weiner’s behavior.
On October 30, CNN reported that the Justice Department and the FBI are hoping to talk with Abedin’s lawyers for a full search of her newly discovered emails on a computer belonging to Weiner. Officials told CNN that they only found Abedin’s emails when New York FBI investigators were searching Weiner’s laptop in the investigation into his alleged communication with the North Carolina girl.
Abedin shared the laptop with Weiner and it could be difficult to gain full access to these emails due to spousal privilege for Abedin. However, investigators have already seen enough of the emails to suggest that they be investigated in connection with the other investigation into Clinton’s private email server use.
2. Donald Trump Said Clinton’s Association With Weiner Is Another Example of ‘Bad Judgement’
In August, after Abedin announced that she was leaving Weiner, the Donald Trump Campaign issued a statement praising Abedin, but criticizing Clinton for having a connection to Weiner. The full statement read:
“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him. I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”
Clinton strategist Joel Benenson then went on CNN and called Trump’s comments “outlandish.” Benenson said:
You know, here we’ve got what is a painful private situation for Huma Abedin and her son. And anybody who’s been through any marital separation knows that that is a difficult process in a divorce. Here they’ve got to do it in public and we should leave it private for these folks.
In July, Trump told the media that he was worried Abedin would tell Weiner government secrets, notes Politico. Trump called Weiner “a sleazeball and pervert.”
3. Weiner Sent an Odd Message to a Clinton Aide in 2011, Saying ‘She Never Lost’
Weiner comes up several times in the emails that WikiLeaks obtained, mostly in discussions between Clinton aides. However, there is one strange message from Weiner himself. On November 2, 2011, Weiner sent a message to Clinton, with “she never lost…” in the subject line. The only text in the body of the email is “love, anthony.”
The email exchange doesn’t show a response from Clinton. Instead, she forwarded it to someone in the State Department, writing, “Pls print and respond.”
When Weiner appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert during the Democratic National Convention, he admitted to crying after President Barack Obama beat Clinton in 2008. He said:
I cried when Hillary Clinton lost to Barack Obama. I was like the Chinese guy in front of the tanks. I was the last person to endorse Barack Obama.
Other instances of Weiner in the emails are links to stories those close to Clinton want her to see.
4. Weiner Confirmed That Abedin Would Play a Key Role in the Clinton Campaign in 2013
In 2013, Weiner was making another ill-fated attempt at politics and hoping to be elected Mayor of New York City. However, another sexting scandal brought him down and his poll numbers tanked. During that race, he told BuzzFeed in August 2013 that Abedin would play a key role in Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Clinton didn’t officially announce her plans to run until April 2015.
In that same interview with BuzzFeed, Weiner admitted that his scandals hurt Abedin’s career. “I feel that what I have done has hurt her. Hurt her professionally, hurt her personally. She’s gotten roughed up,” he said.
Weiner also confirmed that Bill and Hillary Clinton were not playing a role in his mayoral campaign. He said that he hadn’t talked to the Clintons in “months” before that interview.
5. A New York Post Report Claimed Clinton Had a ‘Secret Deal’ With Abedin to Keep Weiner Out of the Media
In June 2014, Weiner was getting attention just by favoriting a tweet about Tinder. Shortly after that, the New York Post’s Page Six claimed that Clinton has a “secret deal” with Abedin to keep Weiner out of the media and public life for two years so he can “avoid causing any further embarrassment to Huma or Clinton.”
Although Weiner was not at public events with Abedin at that time, a Clinton spokesman told the Post that their report was “1,000 percent absurd.”
Sources told the Hollywood Reporter that early cuts of the documentary Weiner, in which directors Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman followed Weiner’s mayoral campaign, included footage of Clinton aides pressuring Abedin to split from her husband.
However, the directors insisted that nothing was cut from the film that made the Clinton team look bad. Indeed, THR notes that there is an “implication” in the film that Abedin was advised not to be with Weiner on election day by Clinton aide Philippe Reines.
In 2011, Politico reported that Weiner called Bill Clinton during his first sexting scandal. Bill Clinton officiated Weiner’s wedding to Abedin.