We already know that the events that led up to FBI director James Comey’s infamous letter to Congress were tinged with gross incompetence at best. After all, the agents who got their hands on the emails that supposedly triggered that letter knew about them in early October, and yet waited 24 days to tell Comey they needed a warrant.
But a former public defender and HuffPo columnist thinks it was far more than incompetence. Based on the timeline, he suspects that an anti-Hillary element in the FBI engaged in a criminal conspiracy to wreck Hillary’s campaign in the final weeks of the election.
Seth Abramson, an English professor at the University of New Hampshire, is also a practicing attorney—he was a public defender in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts before going into academia. So naturally, he got suspicious when he learned about the 24-day delay between the time the agents learned about the emails and when they alerted Comey.
The only explanation ever given for the delay—a legally incoherent one—was that the Weiner investigators needed three weeks to review the “meta-data” from the Abedin emails (per an article in The Guardian, the material to be reviewed was simply the “to” and “from” fields in the Abedin emails). This despite the fact that the moment the agents on the Weiner case saw even one email from Abedin to anyone else involved in the Clinton investigation, they’d have known they needed Comey to get a search warrant.
Indeed, they merely needed to find one email from Abedin to anyone, as Abedin had been required during the Clinton investigation to divulge the identities of and produce all computers with any emails of hers on them—and therefore the discovery of any Abedin email on any Abedin-accessed/Abedin-accessible computer not presently held by the FBI was an immediate indication that Abedin had withheld evidence from the Clinton-case investigators.
Therefore, the Weiner investigators had all the information they needed to send urgent word to Director Comey on October 3rd—the day they received Weiner’s computer and found their first Abedin email to someone other than Weiner.
But then Abramson reviewed press reports about the FBI’s actions before the letter went out, and discovered anecdotes that potentially take this well beyond mere incompetence. For one thing, the agents on the Weiner case somehow found the time to notify the investigators on the Hillary email server case—who, by all accounts, were steaming mad that Hillary hadn’t been indicted in July. As we now know, the Hilary server agents illegally leaked this information to Rudy Giuliani.
Abramson also noticed that as late as October 29, no one from the FBI bothered to talk to Abedin—even though the FBI has insisted that she has cooperated with the investigation. She would have had no reason to sit on emails that, as it turned out, had no evidentiary value whatsoever.
Sitting on those emails for 24 days, when the agents almost certainly knew they needed a warrant to read them, is at the very least a firing offense considering the stakes. Letting other agents know about them before telling the only person who could get a warrant is grossly unprofessional at best. Combine that with someone OUTSIDE the FBI with close ties to Trump finding out about the emails before Comey did, and this is firmly in “what did they know and when did they know it” territory.
It may not be long before we know just how deep the rot runs here. Remember how E. Randol Schoenberg sued the FBI to force the release of the warrant for those emails? Well, the judge gave some pretty strong hints that he intends to release that warrant before the Electoral College meets. If there’s anything fishy in the warrant or the redactions, Abramson thinks it could confirm there was “political collusion” at the FBI. And it could potentially cause enough electors to defect that it would throw the presidential election to the House.
Sounds like a lot of people at the FBI better have lawyers on speed dial.