The latest development in the Hillary Clinton email scandal has thrown open the issue and brought up several questions regarding it. On Friday, in a letter to the Congress, FBI director James Comey said that federal investigators looking into the lewd messages sent by Anthony Weiner came across thousands of emails on his computer that could be pertinent to the FBI inquiry into Clinton’s private email server. Comey’s letter said that the FBI would review the emails to determine if they improperly contained classified information, which is tightly controlled by the government.
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Earlier in July, FBI had ended their interest in the case but reignited the investigation following the findings. Here is what all you need to know regarding the controversy that has continuously pestered Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:
What is the whole controversy all about?
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It was revealed in March 2015 that during her tenure as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had wrongfully used her family’s private email server for official communications, instead of using official State Department email accounts maintained on federal servers. Several experts contended that this violated State Department protocols and procedures, as well as several federal laws and regulations that governed record-keeping. The official communications contained several thousands of emails that were retroactively marked as classified by the State Department.
Following allegations that some of the emails in question contained classified information, FBI launched an investigation into the origin and handling of classified emails on Clinton’s server. The FBI Report found that some of the mails they were investigating had originated in five other intelligence agencies. In their investigation, FBI found that all classified emails on Clinton’s server were drafted on “unclassified systems”. This meant that Clinton had used unclassified servers to store and send classified emails, which violated the same policies as those on Clinton’s personal server.
The whole controversy came in the backdrop of Hillary Clinton’s presidential election campaign as well as the hearings on the 2012 Benghazi attack.
On July 5, 2016, FBI director James Comey announced that the FBI had concluded its investigation and said that Hillary Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling her email system. But ultimately, the federal agency recommended that no charges be filed against Clinton; following which the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the same.
Why has it been brought up again? Who are Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner?
Huma Abedin and her husband Anthony Weiner are two crucial figures in the scandal. In 2013, news broke that Anthony Weiner, who was running for New York mayor at that time, had continued sending lewd messages to women on the Internet. He had earlier lost his seat in the US Congress for the same and had been using the moniker Carlos Danger online.
Considering her closeness to Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s name was dragged into the controversy amid sleazy details of the messy situation. The whole controversy has now made its way into Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016 as federal investigators looking into Anthony Weiner’s lewd messages to underage girls came across thousands of mails on Weiner’s laptop “pertinent to the FBI inquiry” into Clinton’s private email server. Law enforcement officials have even said that “tens of thousands of emails” belonging to close Clinton aide, Huma Abedin were found on Weiner’s laptop.
Following these updates, many have suggested that Hillary Clinton distance herself from Huma Abedin, who is not only her most trusted ally in her race to the White House but has also been described by Clinton as her surrogate daughter. Clinton has steadily supported Abedin throughout the controversy, as the 40-year-old vice chairwoman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign stood by her husband despite the backlash to his behaviour. Neither Hillary Clinton nor her husband Bill have publicly criticised Anthony Weiner.
Two months ago, though, Huma Abedin announced that she was separating from her husband, after she learned that The New York Post planned to publish a story reporting that Weiner had sent a picture of his crotch to a woman online as he lay next to the couple’s 4-year-old son in bed, the New York Times reported.
How could it affect the US presidential race?
The announcement comes less than two weeks before the election and has left Hillary Clinton’s team furious and asking for explanations. Meanwhile, it could prove to be a bolstering point for Donald Trump’s spirits following the controversies he himself has been involved in.
On the other hand, CNN reports that the FBI stumbled upon “a trove of emails” from one of “Hillary Clinton’s top aides weeks ago” but FBI Director James Comey didn’t disclose the discovery until Friday, which has raised question on the timing of the revelation, just over a week before the US presidential elections.
What are the political reactions to the FBI announcement?
The first response to the latest news in the controversy was that from Hillary Clinton herself, who despite not responding to questions from journalists in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on the issue, said “she is confident any new discoveries will not alter the conclusion the FBI reached in July”.
Her Republican rival Donald Trump, who has continuously brought up the email controversy at rallies and the debates, also responded and said,”Perhaps, finally, justice will be done,” New York Times reported him as saying at a rally in New Hampshire.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” he added. He also commended the work of the FBI and the US Department of Justice, despite deriding the former as ‘inept’ and ‘corrupt’.
“I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the DOJ are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made. This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understand. It is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected,” the New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign has asked FBI director James Comey to provide information additional to what was provided in the letter he sent to the Congress, the New York Times reported.