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So, how’d that transparency thing work out for ya, Director Comey?

Oh.  But … wait.  Wait.  You must mean that neither Adedin nor Weiner had any idea that 30,000 of Abedin’s personal emails found their way onto Weiner’s laptop, notwithstanding that Abedin did not use the laptop and for the four years when she and Clinton were at the State Dept. spent most of the time out of the country with Clinton or in her State Dept. office.  Using her own laptop for emails.

So the question remains: How did those emails get onto Weiner’s laptop?  Do tell.

Transparency, you know.

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I RETRACT MY RETRACTION: A cabal of NYC FBI agents (including, or solely, Bret Baier’s false “indictment” leaker), may well have PLANTED those emails on Weiner’s laptop–

possibly at the behest of Rudy Giuliani or James Kallstrom, or both, who ARE part of the cabal’s conspiracy to violate the Hatch Act (to name just one of a slew of federal criminal statutes these folks have violated).*

Did NYC FBI Agents Plant Those Emails on Weiner’s Computer Once They Gained Custody of It?  The Evidence Appears to Suggest … Possibly.

— Me, in a post bearing that as its title, Oct. 30

I retracted that the next day, writing, “As for me, I want to forcefully retract my suggestion in this post yesterday that NYC FBI agents working on the Weiner case may have planted the emails of Weiner’s computer.”

And now I am retracting the retraction.

At 1:03 a.m. on Thursday, the Daily Beast published a detailed investigative report by Wayne Garrett  titled “Meet Donald Trump’s Top FBI Fanboy” and subtitled “Trump supporters with strong ties to the agency kept talking about surprises and leaks to come—and come they did.”

The words “‘Integrity Questioned’” appear above the title in small red lettering.  It is a quote from this paragraph in the article:

Along with Giuliani’s other connections to New York FBI agents, his former law firm, then called Bracewell Giuliani, has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. The group, born in the New York FBI office in the early ’80s, was headed until Monday by Rey Tariche, an agent who just retired from the New York FBI office. In Tariche’s letter to the Association stepping down as president because he’s retiring from the Bureau to take a job “within the Banking Industry,” he wrote that “we find our work—our integrity questioned” because of it, adding “we will not be used for political gains.”

The paragraphs preceding that one read:

Hours after Comey’s letter about the renewed probe was leaked on Friday, Giuliani went on a radio show and attributed the director’s surprise action to “the pressure of a group of FBI agents who don’t look at it politically.”

“The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity,” said Giuliani. “I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”

I follow political news quite closely, yet it wasn’t until late last night that I knew of the Daily Beast article, when I read a comment in the Comments thread to this post of mine, linking to it.

What did get a lot of publicity is Bret Baier’s Wednesday announcements fabricated by what turned out to be the concoction of a single NYC FBI agent.  Roger Stone may have played a role in it, but Kallstrom and Giuliani almost certainly did.  Giuliani knew a couple of days before Baier’s false reports that these would occur.

In addition to conspiracy to violate the Hatch Act, these people have violated a slew of federal criminal statutes including wire fraud, misuse of government property and personnel, and conspiracy to commit those crimes.

So here’s what I would like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to ask millennials when they campaign today, tomorrow and Monday for Clinton AND Senate and House candidates: Why on earth do they think that the sudden discovery of Huma Abedin’s email correspondence with Clinton on Anthony Weiner’s laptop—however it got there—should entitle Donald Trump to control the FBI, the entire Justice Department, the Supreme Court, and the lower federal courts?

As well as painting with a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House?

Weirdly, apparently this isn’t a rhetorical question.  Read the comments of millennials in this article.

They’re just too disgusted with politics, you know, to care who is president and who controls congress, who controls the federal agencies, who controls the Supreme Court, and who controls the entire federal bench, and their own state’s legislatures, see.

Bernie and Elizabeth, please inform them on this.  Loudly.

The transformation of the FBI into a government investigative arm and innuendo and false or partial information arm of the Republican Party during elections is a profound matter. And the decision by the FBI director to announce that federal and state law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies should be “transparent” by announcing raw, unformed, and uncertain information about candidates for public office on the eve of elections so that voters will know about it when they vote is serious banana republic stuff.

Comey almost certainly will resign shortly after the election.  Succumbing to extortionate threats of leaks by some of the agency’s agents and making a series of ridiculous claims that the devil, er, the law, made him do it, while also outright stating to the agency’s entire employment roster and therefore to all the world that he acted as he did in part to provide voters with in formation he thought they should have before they voted, would, I assume, sort of make it hard for him to remain in that post.

And maybe these faint-of heart millennials should care whether or not it is Trump or Clinton who names the next FBI director.  And whether its a Democratic-controlled, or instead a Republican-controlled, Senate that holds (or doesn’t) confirmation hearings on this nominee.  And Supreme Court an lower-federal court judicial nominees. 

But if that involves just tooooo complex an analysis for them to engage in, there is that email thing that is a handy excuse.


*Post title edited for clarity. 11/5 at 3:23 p.m.

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The New Transparency in Government Will Make America Great Again. Believe Me. [Links repaired, 11/5 at 11:29 a.m.]

The people familiar with the investigation said that senior officials had been informed weeks earlier that a computer belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, D-New York, contained emails potentially pertinent to the Clinton investigation. Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, shared the computer with her husband, from whom she is now separated.


It is unclear what FBI agents have learned since discovering the emails in early October. But officials say they gained enough information from the email metadata to take the next step, seeking a warrant to review the actual emails. That legal step prompted Comey’s letter to Congress, which has made him a central figure during the stretch run of the presidential campaign.

“He needed to make an informed decision, knowing that once he made that decision, he was taking it to another level,” an official with knowledge of the decision-making process said.

FBI leaders knew about new emails for weeks before Comey letter, Sari Horwitz, Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, Nov. 2 at 7:37 p.m.



When it was revealed last Friday that there had been a Comey recount and Clinton lost, Solomon turned into Torquemada. But, of course, Comey had no choice. How could he have sat on a trove of 650,000 newly discovered emails and kept that knowledge suppressed until after the election?

Final days, awful choice, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, today

The Horwitz and Yakashima article was published online not just by the Washington Post and in its print edition yesterday, but also (apparently) by other newspapers.  The link for it that I’m using is to the Chicago Tribune website.  Presumably, it appeared also in yesterday’s print edition, along with all the good stuff about the Cubs’ 10th inning Series victory.

I pause here to say to the Cubs on behalf of my late, lifelong-Cubs-fan relatives: Thanks.

But along with that big sports story, there was this: The three paragraphs I quote above contain two profound misstatements—the error in the first of those paragraphs the apparent result of a quick, (I believe) verbatim, copy-and-paste by these journalists from the original, breaking story on Comey’s letter to Congress and quickly afterward, his email to FBI employees.

The letter in which Comey actually said he had sent the letter partly because he wanted to influence voters’ vote choices by providing them with the information in the letter—a fact that has received little press attention and none, to my knowledge, from Clinton and down-ballot Democrats.

Information, during early voting in more than 20 states and absentee voting in every state, and 11 days from the election itself, that Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, shared the computer with her husband, from whom she is now separated.

Information that Comey sent the letter to Congress after a search warrant was obtained and agents had had time to learn information about the metadata—inferentially including the approximate number of emails involved.

The first of those representations is almost certainly wrong, the second unequivocally wrong.

And Krauthammer, a nationally syndicated columnist, is unequivocally wrong, about two things: That, of course, Comey had no choice. And that all, or even remotely close to all, of the 650,000 emails on Weiner’s personal computer were emails between Abedin and Clinton.  The claim is logically absurd, and the leaks from the FBI since Friday estimate that about 30,000 of them are to or from Abedin.

The Washington Post’s story on the emails issue today does not repeat those errors.  But neither does it expressly correct its report from the day before, and say that it is a correction.  It should do this, online today and in print in Sunday’s paper.

Also widely reported over a period of several days, by many, many news organizations, was that Abedin had received a subpoena for all electronic devices she had used to send or receive emails about State Dept. matters, or to or from Clinton.  Yesterday, it was reported that that, too, is false.

The news outlets that reported the misinformation should prominently correct it.

But my immediate point is this: Every one of these errors by the journalists who made them—with the exception of Krauthammer’s—was absolutely understandable as inference from Comey’s two public messages on Friday.

But the larger point is that Comey told all the world that law enforcement prosecutorial powers of raw information- and evidence-gathering via the various means available only to law enforcement—including search warrants, grand jury testimony, informants, and plea bargaining deals—are now available to the public if a law enforcement officials or rank-and-file employees opt for transparencyAt least if a partisan legislative body has subpoenaed a law enforcement investigative-agency official about an ongoing or closed investigation, and in answering a query during his or her testimony, promises real-time release of any further information or evidence, even before it is known what, if anything at all, the information means that is relevant.

Presumably, this applies in investigations of pretty much anyone or anything. Irrespective of its political potential.  But a rule of thumb is that, the closer to an election, and the less known about what the information actually is and whether it is relevant to anything other than political smear, and the higher the office of the candidate at issue, the freer law enforcement officials and rank-and-file employees are to make it known to the public.

As Krauthammer and Comey both say: Of course.

Hope y’all  agree.  Cuz this is a genie that may be impossible to put back in the bottle.

But I do wonder about this: Isn’t it conservatives—Republicans—who are always raising shouting, “Separation of Powers!  Separation of Powers!”

Guess that, too, is no longer true.  Right?

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How Do You Use a Laptop Long-Distance?

On Tuesday, FBI investigators were continuing to examine the newly discovered emails and trying to discern how they ended up on a computer owned by Weiner. As of Tuesday morning, an official said, investigators had found no sign that the computer contained “new and bigger” evidence about Clinton. But the official said the FBI was deploying “all computers, all hands on deck” to sort through the high volume of emails and that “no one knows” what the emails contain.

After another release of documents, FBI finds itself caught in a partisan fray, Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Sari Horwitz, Washington Post, tonight

Yesterday in this post, in (again) pointing out the unlikelihood that Huma Abedin would have put tens of thousands of her personal emails onto her husband’s laptops hard drive, I mentioned that Weiner used that laptop for his own (very) personal things, of the sort that he probably wasn’t hoping his wife would see.

But tonight, after recovering from the shock (literally) of reading in that article that the FBI, too, recognizes the improbability that Abedin would have put tens of thousands of her personal emails onto her husband’s laptop, or that she would have used his laptop regularly for anything, much less for corresponding with Clinton–and that he would have let her use it regularly (all things considered)–something else occurred to me: Abedin was rarely at home during her years as Clinton’s aide at the State Dept. or, for that matter, afterward.

Clinton traveled very extensively as secretary of state, and Abedin was virtually always with her.  When not traveling, she was at work at the State Dept. most of the time.  Weiner himself was in New York most of the time after (I think) early 2011, when he resigned as a House member.

Which raises the question: How do you use a laptop long-distance?

There are, of course, other questions, too, like: Why would you want to use a laptop long-distance, even if you could?  But I think the first question suffices to make the point.

So I’m guessing here that the FBI will start matching up the dates of those emails with Abedin’s schedule.  For starters.

Doesn’t sound to me like the Russian cyberhacking corps is likely to have thought about this beforehand.  Big mistake.


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Do be sure to watch this video news clip on CNBC, folks

The first part of the video news clip (h/t Paul Waldman), by CNBC correspondent Eamon Javers, is smoking-gun stunning.  And sickening.  Just watch the video or read the accompanying article.

The second part of it, which is a clip of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, sure seems to me that for all his hesitation and careful wording, Earnest hints that Obama will fire Comey right after the election.

As for me, I want to forcefully retract my suggestion in this post yesterday that NYC FBI agents working on the Weiner case may have planted the emails of Weiner’s computer.

When I wrote that post, the reporting was that the emails at issue numbered about 1,000.  Today it is reported that they number in the tens of thousands—a number almost certainly not within the capacity of investigative FBI agents who are not computer forensics experts to gain access to and put onto a hard drive without it being obvious that that is what happened.  And it’s also now been reported that the agents knew of the emails on the laptop shortly after they took custody of it; the emails were on the hard drive shortly after the FBI took custody of it.

I wrote that post in reaction to the report early yesterday that Abedin has told friends and colleagues that she does not know how the emails came to be on Weiner’s personal computer–something that rings awfully likely to be true, given the enormous number of her personal emails that are now on Weiner’s personal computer.

I wrote here today that in light of today’s information, it appears far more likely that it was Russia that pulled this off than that it was an FBI-agent job.

The Oct. 7 report issued jointly by the NSA and Homeland Security Department stating their conclusion that Russia is responsible for the massive hacks of emails of the Democratic Nationals Committee, Clinton campaign officials and other organizations connected to Clinton or the Democratic Party, and was done with the intent to disrupt the national election—which is the focus of the CNBC report and is quoted in the video—has received almost no attention from the press.

That, I trust, will change now.  Oh, the irony.

Although, of course, you never know.

So Clinton and the Democrats should run ads showing that CNBC clip.  Big ad buys for it on the internet and TV would be good.

And BTW, the CNBC little bombshell nails it that Harry Reid was right about Comey and the Hatch Act, in my opinion.

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Did NYC FBI Agents Plant Those Emails on Weiner’s Computer Once They Gained Custody of It? The Evidence Appears to Suggest … Possibly.

Top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin has told people she is unsure how her emails could have ended up on a device she viewed as her husband’s computer, the seizure of which has reignited the Clinton email investigation, according to a person familiar with the investigation and civil litigation over the matter.

The person, who would not discuss the case unless granted anonymity, said Abedin was not a regular user of the computer, and even when she agreed to turn over emails to the State Department for federal records purposes, her lawyers did not search it for materials, not believing any of her messages to be there.

That could be a significant oversight if Abedin’s work messages were indeed on the computer of her estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is under investigation for allegedly exchanging lewd messages with a 15-year-old girl. So far, it is unclear what — if any — new, work-related messages were found by authorities. The person said the FBI had not contacted Abedin about its latest discovery, and she was unsure what the bureau had discovered.

According to federal law enforcement officials, investigators found thousands of messages on Weiner’s computer that they believe to be potentially relevant to the separate, Clinton email investigation. How they are relevant — or if they are significant in any respect — remains unknown.

Clinton aide Huma Abedin has told people she doesn’t know how her emails wound up on her husband’s computer, Matt Zapotosky, Tom Hamburger and Karen Tumulty, Washington Post, Oct. 29 at 7:29 p.m.

On Friday afternoon Yahoo News reported that Abedin stated when she was interviewed by an FBI agent last April that she had used four different devices and accounts to email Clinton, and that one of the devices was the one now at issue.  That report appears to be incorrect.

Here’s what the transcript says:

Q Okay. And what devices did you return for your attorneys to look through with respect to federal records you may have had in your possession to be returned to the State Department?

MS. WOLVERTON: Objection. Beyond the scope.

A My — if my memory serves me correctly, it was two laptops, a BlackBerry, and some files that I found in my apartment.

Apparently neither of those laptops was Weiner’s and therefore the device now at issue.

Also in the transcript of that FBI interview, Abedin told the FBI agent, in answer to a question about whether she deleted her emails from Clinton, that she never deletes emails from anyone, and that she presumed that all her emails dating back many years were still in existence.

Two news reports make it clear that as of late yesterday, the FBI did not yet have the prerequisite court order to read those emails, which appear on a computer taken under a search warrant in an unrelated case concerning an unrelated subject—thus the need for a separate search warrant authorizing access to and review of those emails.

One, on Yahoo News, by Michael Isikoff, titled “Exclusive: FBI still does not have warrant to review new Abedin emails linked to Clinton probe,” says:

As of Saturday night, the FBI was still in talks with the Justice Department about obtaining a warrant that would allow agency officials to read any of the newly discovered Abedin emails, and therefore was still in the dark about whether they include any classified material that the bureau has not already seen.

“We do not have a warrant,” a senior law enforcement official said. “Discussions are under way [between the FBI and the Justice Department] as to the best way to move forward.”

That Comey and other senior FBI officials were not aware of what was in the emails — and whether they contained any material the FBI had not already obtained — is important because Donald Trump’s campaign and Republicans in Congress have suggested that the FBI director would not have written his letter unless he had been made aware of significant new emails that might justify reopening the investigation into the Clinton server.

The other, by four New York Times reporters, titled “Justice Dept. Strongly Discouraged Comey on Move in Clinton Email Case,” reports:

Justice Department officials were particularly puzzled about why Mr. Comey had alerted Congress — and by extension, the public — before agents even began reading the newly discovered emails to determine whether they contained classified information or added new facts to the case.

Law enforcement officials have begun the process to get court authority to read the emails, officials said. How soon they will get that is unclear, but there is no chance that the review will be completed before Election Day, several law enforcement officials said. Many of the emails are most likely copies of messages that the F.B.I. has already read, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.

But Comey himself answered that when he admitted that his motives were political—he wanted the public to know, before election day and as soon before that as possible in states where voting already was underway, that Huma Abedin had provided her husband access to thousands of her email correspondence with Clinton by providing access to them on a computer that Weiner used.  In other words, he wanted the public to know, before they voted, that Donald Trump’s allegation that Anthony Weiner had access to State Department-related emails turns out to be true.

Or, apparently more accurately, the FBI agents who told him they had found those emails on Weiner’s computer wanted the public to know this, badly enough to threaten to leak the information before the election if Comey himself did not make it public.

Comey, in other words, appears to have acceded to an extortionate threat to misuse information gained through the FBI’s prosecutorial powers by himself misusing information gained through the FBI’s prosecutorial powers.  And this spade is actually being called the spade that it is.

So there are three steps that Huma Abedin should take, immediately. First, she should have her lawyers file an emergency court petition tomorrow requesting the immediate sealing and impoundment of Weiner’s laptop and of all other electronic devices taken through the search warrant concerning Weiner’s online sexual activities.

The petition also should request that she be allowed to have Weiner’s computer examined by an independent, non-government computer forensics experts, in the company of FBI computer forensics experts who are from an office far, far away from NYC and Washington, DC, and who have never worked at either of those offices.

And the petition should request disclosure to her of the identities of the FBI agents who, by Comey’s apparent acknowledgement, threatened him with leaks of what they claim are on Weiner’s computer.

Second, she or her lawyers should file a formal complaint with the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, requesting investigation into who was threatening Comey with leaks and damage to Comey’s reputation if Comey himself did not make public the existence of State Department-related emails on Weiner’s computer.

The complaint also should request inquiry into Comey’s decision to make public raw information gained by dint of the FBI’s police powers and the Justice Department’s prosecutorial powers, for what he himself has stated was for the purpose of affecting votes for national elective office.

Third, she should ask that her lawyers, immediately after those are filed, hold a press conference detailing what is in the emergency petition and the complaint to the Inspector General’s Office.

Also immensely important: that the fact that that information did end up on Weiner’s personal computer—one that given what he did use it for, was not one that he likely would have invited Abedin to use—has not an iota to do with the facts that Clinton used a private email account and a private server.  Presumably, all sorts of other high-level government employees, some in sensitive positions, probably access their government email accounts from home and also probably do work from home.

And then, of course, there is this: the fact that the FBI has, since late Friday or early yesterday, pushed the claim that Abedin herself had provided that computer to the FBI last spring—after Comey said that Abedin had NOT produced it during the investigation of the email matter, and that that is why he felt compelled to “update” the public–er, the Congress–does speak quite loudly, doesn’t it?

In any event, I will say this: Trump may well prove right after all in his claim that this is bigger than Watergate.

Okay, well, as big, anyway.

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