November 1, 2016: The FBI never asked Clinton’s aides for all their computers and mobile devices.

Politico reports that the FBI never asked Clinton’s top aides for their computers and mobile devices as part of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. An unnamed source familiar with the investigation says, “No one was asked for devices by the FBI.”

Because the investigation didn’t have subpoena power, it could only ask for people to cooperate, or make immunity deals with them. The FBI did make an effort to get Clinton’s computers and mobile devices, and made immunity deals with Clinton lawyers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson to get their computer laptops, but FBI requests didn’t go much beyond that.

Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Bill O'Leary / Getty Images)

Bob Goodlatte (Credit: Bill O’Leary / Getty Images)

Bob Goodlatte (R), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says, “The more we learn about the FBI’s initial investigation into Secretary Clinton’s unauthorized use of a private email server, the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information.”

Politico suggests that the FBI might not have asked for what Clinton’s aides possessed because of a focus on Clinton and her server and mobile devices. “It’s also possible the FBI or prosecutors elected not to demand all the Clinton aides’ computers and other electronics because doing so might have triggered a legal battle that could have slowed the probe.”

The issue about what Clinton’s aides may have possessed came to the fore after the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation after emails belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin were discovered on a computer owned by her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. In an April 2016 FBI interview and then in a public deposition in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in June 2016, Abedin said she gave her lawyers all devices she thought might contain State Department-related emails. However, it appears no government entity ever asked for any of her devices, so her lawyers never gave them up to anyone.

Abedin was asked for all her work-related emails from her time in the State Department in another FOIA lawsuit, but not the computers or devices the emails were stored on.

The same appears to be true for other top Clinton aides like Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Bryan Pagliano, and others, with the few exceptions noted above.(Politico, 11/1/2016)

November 1, 2016: Obama indirectly criticizes Comey, saying “we don’t operate on innuendo.”

President Obama and new FBI Director James Comey during his installation ceremony in Washington, DC, on October 28, 2013. (Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

President Obama publicly comments for the first time about FBI Director James Comey’s letter on October 28, 2016 that effectively announced the reopening of the Clinton email investigation just 11 days prior to the 2016 US presidential election.

Obama doesn’t directly mention Comey. But he says, “I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo and we don’t operate on incomplete information and we don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

Obama says, “I’ve made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I am meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments.”

But then he makes comments that clearly are supportive of Clinton, by  downplaying the implications of reopening the investigation. “Obviously, it’s become a political controversy. The fact of the matter is that Hillary Clinton, having been in the arena for 30 years, oftentimes gets knocked around and people say crazy stuff about her and when she makes a mistake, an honest mistake, it ends up getting blown up as if it’s some crazy thing. I trust her. I know her.”

Obama also notes, “When this was investigated thoroughly last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.” (CNN, 11/2/2016) (CNN, 11/2/2016)

Contrary to Obama’s claims that he has made an effort not to meddle, in October 2015 he made comments supporting Clinton in her email controversy that were criticized. Then he did so again in April 2016.

November 2, 2016: It is revealed that the FBI and Justice Department agreed not to have grand jury subpoenas for the Clinton email investigation, arguing that would lead to a faster conclusion.

CNN reports, “During the Clinton email server investigation, investigators and prosecutors debated whether to issue subpoenas to Clinton’s aides, officials say. Leaders at the FBI and at the Justice Department thought it would be faster to come to voluntary agreements with aides. Subpoenas could cause delays, particularly if litigation is necessary, officials said. And the FBI and Justice Department wanted to try to complete the probe and get out of the way of the 2016 election.”

Presumably this meant it was agreed not to get Justice Department approval to empanel a grand jury, because an FBI investigation cannot issue subpoenas without the legal authority of a grand jury.  (CNN, 11/2/2016)

Two days earlier, Senator Charles Grassley (R) sent FBI Director James Comey a letter asking for an official answer regarding this issue. Comey hinted in September 2016 that he didn’t seek a grand jury in the interest of quickly concluding the investigation.

November 2, 2016: FBI agents felt “handcuffed” over what they could do in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation.

The Washington Examiner reports claims to have heard from two anonymous FBI agents. “One source with knowledge of the investigation told the Examiner this week that agents felt gratified both by Comey’s public statement on the investigation and their early findings from the new Clinton-related emails. A second source confirmed that agents, at times, felt ‘handcuffed’ during the initial investigation into Clinton’s private server in terms of what investigative steps they could take.”

The Examiner notes that this is part of a trend of “more than a dozen current and former agents [who] have spoken anonymously to multiple media outlets over the past week, including to the Examiner. Agents are frequently complaining about how FBI Director James Comey handled the FBI Clinton email investigation, as well as facing obstruction from the Justice Department. (The Washington Examiner, 11/2/2016)

November 2, 2016: Fox News claims the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation is “a very high priority,” and it is “likely” it could eventually lead to an indictment.

Bret Baier appears on Brit Hume's show to clarify his statement about a possible Clinton indictment. (Credit: Fox News)

Bret Baier appears on Brit Hume’s show to clarify his statement about a possible Clinton indictment. (Credit: Fox News)

Fox News reports that the FBI’s Clinton Foundation has now taken a “very high priority.” This is according to unnamed “separate sources with intimate knowledge of the probe.”

The FBI had already collected a great deal of evidence and interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people. But in recent weeks, emails released on a daily basis by WikiLeaks, plus occasional Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) email releases, have provided many more leads. One source says, “There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day.”

FBI agents are “actively and aggressively pursuing this case.” Due to all the new information, agents will be re-interviewing many people again, some for the third time. Agents are also double checking the FBI interview summaries (known as “302’s”) of Clinton and her top aides, to make sure their answers jibe with all the new information.

The FBI’s White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation. (Fox News, 11/2/2016)

Fox News journalist Bret Baier claims that he spoke to the sources, and they told him that it is “likely” the investigation will eventually result in an indictment or indictments, “barring some obstruction in some way” from the Justice Department. (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)

The next day, Baier modifies his claim about an indictment being likely. “I want to be clear about this, and this came from a Q and A that I did with Brit Hume after my show and after we went through everything. He asked me if, after the election, if Hillary Clinton wins, will this investigation continue, and I said, ‘yes absolutely.’ I pressed the sources again and again what would happen. I got to the end of that and said, ‘they have a lot of evidence that would, likely lead to an indictment.’ But that’s not, that’s inartfully answered. That’s not the process. That’s not how you do it. You have to have a prosecutor. If they don’t move forward with a prosecutor with the [Justice Department], there would be, I’m told, a very public call for an independent prosecutor to move forward. There is confidence in the evidence, but for me to phrase it like I did, of course that got picked up everywhere, but the process is different than that.” (Fox News, 11/3/2016)

November 2, 2016: The FBI allegedly has not destroyed the laptops of two Clinton aides, and their immunity deals may have been voided.

In October 2016, it was reported that Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson got immunity deals in return for their cooperation in the FBI’s Clinton email investigation, and in return for turning over their computer laptops, the FBI promised to destroy those laptops after analyzing the data on them.

However, on this day, Fox News reporter Bret Baier claims, “As a result of the limited immunity deals to top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Justice Department had tentatively agreed that the FBI would destroy those laptops after a narrow review. We are told definitively that has not happened. Those devices are currently in the FBI field office here in Washington, DC, and are being exploited. The source points out that any immunity deal is null and void if any subject lied at any point in the investigation.” (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)

November 2, 2016: It is alleged there is 99% certainty that Clinton’s private server was hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies.

Bret Baier (Credit: public domain)

Bret Baier (Credit: public domain)

During a story about new developments in the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, Fox News journalist Bret Baier claims that his sources also say the FBI has a greater than 99 percent confidence that Clinton’s private email server was hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies. Also, information had been successfully taken from the server.

However, further details, such as which five countries these are, what information was taken, or how the FBI has learned this, are not mentioned. (Real Clear Politics, 11/2/2016)

On July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey said there was no “direct evidence” Clinton’s email account had been successfully hacked. But the next day, the New York Times reported that “both private experts and federal investigators immediately understood his meaning: It very likely had been breached, but the intruders were far too skilled to leave evidence of their work.”

November 2, 2016: Suspicions of partisan political decisions has been causing increasing conflict within both the FBI and Justice Department, as well as between them.

CNN publishes a front-page article with the title “Turmoil in the FBI,” which is based on interviews with more than a dozen anonymous government officials close to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. It states that since the investigation began in July 2015, “infighting among some agents and officials has exposed some parts of the storied [FBI] to be buffeted by some of the same bitter [political] divisions as the rest of American society.”

Loretta Lynch (Credit: ABC News)

Loretta Lynch (Credit: ABC News)

CNN alleges, “Some of the sharpest divides have emerged between some agents in the FBI’s New York field office, the bureau’s largest and highest-profile, and officials at FBI headquarters in Washington and at the Justice Department. Some rank-and-file agents interpreted cautious steps taken by the Justice Department and FBI headquarters as being done for political reasons or to protect a powerful political figure [Clinton]. At headquarters, some have viewed the actions and complaints of some agents in the field as driven by the common desire of investigators to get a big case or, perhaps worst, because of partisan views.”

The tensions are said to have “multiplied” since FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 that he would not recommend indicting Clinton. In addition to increasing conflicts within the FBI, his announcement “also opened up sharp divides between Justice [Department] and FBI officials, and even within the Justice Department itself, where some officials have pushed for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to more forcefully assert her power over the FBI.”

The tensions in the Clinton email investigation have been duplicated by the Clinton Foundation investigation, with some FBI agents again frustrated at what they consider political obstructionism from FBI leaders and the Justice Department to protect Clinton. That has also led to friction between FBI headquarters and the New York field office.

Since then, conflicts have increased still more due to the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016. Potentially relevant evidence was discovered on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, shortly after October 3, 2016. “The longer it took for officials at FBI headquarters and at the Justice Department to decide how to proceed with the matter, the more conspiracies spread among some agents that perhaps senior FBI officials were trying to cover up the matter.”

Rick DesLauriers (Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)

Rick DesLauriers (Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)

One unnamed “senior law enforcement official” says, “It’s the times we are living in. No one has emerged from this election unscathed.”

Rick DesLauriers, who was head of the FBI’s Boston field office until he retired three years ago, says, “Politics is running rampant. Passions are high.” He adds that “[Comey] made a decision that angered Republicans in July [2016] and one that angered Democrats in October [2016]. That’s a pretty good indication he’s nonpartisan.”

CNN also notes that “Some of the tensions are built-in because of the FBI’s unique position as part of the Justice Department but also projecting a large measure of independence. The FBI director’s job has a 10-year tenure, spanning presidential administrations, while his bosses at the Justice Department are politically appointed and they leave when the administration ends.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)

November 3, 2016: Previously unknown Huma Abedin emails relevant to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation have been found on her husband’s computer.

Paula Reid (Credit: CBS News)

Paula Reid (Credit: CBS News)

CBS News reporter Paula Reid posts a Tweet regarding the FBI’s recently started analysis of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails found on her husband Anthony Weiner’s computer: “@CBSNews confirms FBI found emails on #AnthonyWeiner computer, related to Hillary Clinton server, that are ‘new’ & not previously reviewed.” (Twitter, 11/3/2016)

In a follow-up Tweet, she explains what she means by “related to Hillary Clinton server:” “An email sent to or from an email address connected to the private Clinton sever. Doesn’t mean it’s HRC’s [Clinton’s] email.” (Twitter, 11/3/2016)

Later in the day, CBS News reports, “The FBI has found emails related to Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the laptop belonging to the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, according to a US official. These emails… are not duplicates of emails found on Secretary Clinton’s private server. At this point, however, it remains to be seen whether these emails are significant to the FBI’s investigation into Clinton. It is also not known how many relevant emails there are.” (CBS News, 11/3/2016)

November 3, 2016: It is alleged leakers inside the FBI are upset at Clinton, James Comey, and/or the Justice Department.

Photo captured from NBC News report about FBI Director James Comey re-opening the Clinton email investigation. (Credit: NBC Nightly News)

Photo captured from NBC News report about FBI Director James Comey reopening the Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016. (Credit: NBC Nightly News)

The Guardian reports that “Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI,” according to multiple FBI sources, “spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.” Both current and former anonymous FBI officials “have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over [FBI Director] James Comey’s July [2016] decision” not to recommend indictment.

One current agent says, “The FBI is Trumpland,” referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”

However, “other sources dispute the depth of support for Trump within the [FBI], though they uniformly stated that Clinton is viewed highly unfavorably.”

A former FBI official says, “There are lots of people who don’t think Trump is qualified, but also believe Clinton is corrupt. What you hear a lot is that it’s a bad choice, between an incompetent and a corrupt politician. … Many FBI agents were upset at the director, not because he didn’t [recommend to] indict, but they believe he threw the FBI under the bus by taking the heat away from [the Justice Department].”

While FBI agents are upset at Comey and his handling of the investigation, agents are also upset with what is seen as obstructionism from the Justice Department. The Guardian comments, “Some feel Comey needs to address the criticism and provide reassurance that the [FBI], with its wide-ranging investigative and surveillance powers, will comport itself in an apolitical manner.” But since October 28, 2016, when Comey announced the reopening of the investigation, he has stayed silent. (The Guardian, 11/3/2016)

November 3, 2016: It is alleged Comey told Congress about reopening the FBI’s Clinton investigation at least partially due to fears of leaks from the FBI’s New York office.

Reuters reports that FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress on October 28, 2016, revealing that the Clinton email investigation was being reopened, at least partially due to fear of leaks from within the FBI.

A look inside the New York field agents office located in the Federal Plaza in NYNY. (Credit: public domain)

A look inside the FBI New York field office at the Federal Plaza in New York City. (Credit: public domain)

The investigation is being reopened due to new evidence discovered in an unrelated FBI investigation into sexual texts Anthony Weiner allegedly sent to a minor. Weiner is a former New York Congressperson and the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

It is believed that the Weiner investigation is being conducted with the help of the FBI’s New York field office, which initially discovered the emails. Two unnamed law enforcement officials say that a faction of FBI agents in the New York office are believed to be hostile to Hillary Clinton, and have been known to leak information to the press.

These sources also say that the examination of new evidence – believed to be thousands of Abedin’s emails found on Weiner’s computer – is being conducted under very tight security at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. (Reuters, 11/3/2016)

 

November 3, 2016: The FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation is still facing an impasse between FBI investigators and top officials.

Since October 30, 2016, there have been a number of news reports that the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation exists, but also that it has been hobbled by disagreements between FBI agents, who believe the evidence against the foundation is strong, and high-ranking FBI officials and Justice Department officials who believe the evidence is weak. Major decisions have been postponed until after the November 8, 2016 US presidential election.

ABC News reports that “Investigators and higher-ups have continued to discuss the matter, but there has been no change in posture, sources said. Authorities still believe there is no evidence of wrongdoing, and they do not believe there is a sufficient reason to pursue charges…” (ABC News, 11/3/2016)

November 4, 2016: A majority of voters think Clinton acted illegally.

A photo capture from the poll indicates Clinton’s unfavorable ratings are unchanged from September to November, 2016. (Credit: McClatchy-Marist Poll)

Four days before the 2016 US presidential election, a majority of voters believe Clinton has done something illegal with her email controversy and/or Clinton Foundation, according to a McClatchy-Marist Poll. Eighty-three percent of likely voters believe she did something wrong, with 51 percent saying she did something illegal and 32 percent saying she something unethical but not illegal. Only 14 percent say she’s done nothing wrong.

Her main opponent, Republican nominee Donald Trump, has also been beset by scandals and controversies. Seventy-nine percent think Trump did something wrong. Just 26 percent think he’s done something illegal, while 53 percent think he’s done something unethical but not illegal. Only 17 percent think he’s done nothing wrong.

McClatchy Newpapers comments, “The deep suspicion of Clinton is likely a top reason she’s lost much of her lead and the race for the White House has tightened in the race’s closing days.” According to the poll, Clinton is only ahead by one point, 44 percent to 43 percent.

Both candidates are widely disliked. Clinton has an unfavorable rating of 57 percent and Trump has an unfavorable-favorable rating of 61 percent. Both numbers are unprecedented in the history of presidential polling this close to Election Day. (McClatchy Newspapers, 11/4/2016)

November 4, 2016: Many political insiders, especially Republicans, say Comey’s letter changed the trajectory of the 2016 presidential race.

Politico asks “a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states” their opinions on the evolving 2016 presidential election campaign. In their latest query, nearly two-thirds of Republicans say that FBI Director James Comey’s October 28, 2016 letter announcing the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation “fundamentally altered the trajectory of the race.”

One unnamed Republican insider states, “There are a handful of words that can fundamentally alter the trajectory of a race. These include words and phrases like ‘indictment,’ ‘FBI investigation’ and ‘grand jury.’ These are popping with just barely enough time to make a difference in the race, even enough time for ad-makers to change out closing commercials.”

Another unnamed Republican insider says, “That is not how to end a campaign. [Clinton] wins when Trump is the issue. She loses when she is the issue.”

However, only 20 percent of Democratic insiders say the Comey letter changed the trajectory of the race.

One unnamed Democratic insider says, “It changed the race by bringing the map back to normal [meaning a non-landslide win for Clinton]. Pre-FBI, she was going to reach for 400 [electoral votes].” (Politico, 11/4/2016)