The FBI‘s warrant to search Anthony Weiner‘s laptop for emails connected to Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private server while Secretary of State was made public on December 20, a day after a federal judge in New York ordered the bureau to do so. The warrant shows that the only “probably cause” the FBI found on the laptop that drove their request to go through emails on the laptop they believed were linked to Clinton was the email subject lines and the fact that Clinton’s top aide was Weiner’s estranged wife. Beyond that, there was little evidence to support their request for the warrant.
The warrant was issued on October 30, two days after FBI director James Comey sent a letter to Congress, telling Washington politicians that “the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation” in an “unrelated case.” According to NBC New York, the FBI asked for the warrant on October 20. USA Today shared a link to the warrant, which can be read in full below.
It later emerged that the unrelated case Comey was referring to was an investigation into Weiner’s alleged sexting with a 15-year-old girl. That investigation is still ongoing.
Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, which is why the FBI believed that emails linked to Clinton would have been sent using the laptop. The FBI wanted to determine if Abedin and Clinton shared classified information on Clinton’s private server.
During that investigation of Weiner, the FBI “observed non-content header information indicating that thousands of emails of [Redacted] resided on the Subject laptop,” according to the warrant. The public version of the warrant has Abedin’s name redacted.
The FBI also believed that there was “probable cause to believe that the Subject Laptop contains evidence, contraband, fruits, and/or other items illegally possessed.”
In this excerpt, the FBI explains what that probable cause was. “Because it has been determined by relevant original classification authorities that many emails were exchanged between” Abedin and Clinton that “contain classified information, there is also probably cause to believe that the correspondence between them located on the Subject Laptop contains classified information which was produced by and is owned by the U.S. Government.” The FBI notes that Weiner’s laptop was never cleared to be used to transmit classified information.
At the end of the warrant, the FBI requests that it be kept confidential because “the full scope of which is not known to [Redacted] or the public.” That didn’t stop Comey himself from issuing a letter that was made public.
Two days before the election on November 8, Comey issued another letter, stating that the FBI is not changing its conclusion that Clinton shouldn’t be charged with a crime for using a private email server. However, the second letter earned little attention and Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump.
Here is the complete warrant.
“James Comey cost her the election,” Bill Clinton told the Bedford Pound Ridge Record Review. He said he felt that Hillary Clinton was on her way to winning the White House and was up in several key polls before Comey’s October 28 letter changed the trajectory of the election.
Brian Fallon, who worked for the Clinton campaign, tweeted that the warrant proves that “Comey’s intrusion on the election was as utterly unjustified as we suspected at time.”