FBI Director James Comey’s decision to revisit the Hillary Clinton email-private server case was triggered by the discovery of Clinton-related emails in a separate sexting investigation involving ex-New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, a government source told Fox News on Sunday.
The source said an analysis of the metadata on Weiner’s computer has turned up “positive hits for state.gov and HRC emails,” which led Comey to revisit the FBI investigation into Clinton using a private email server system while secretary of state. A second law enforcement source confirmed the account.
Weiner is the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. He resigned from Congress in 2011, after a sexting scandal.
That Clinton-related emails were on Weiner’s computer, which he purportedly shared with Abedin, was reported first by The Wall Street Journal.
The Clinton campaign since the announcement Friday of the new emails has argued that Comey has not said whose names are on the documents or emails, reportedly in the thousands to hundreds-of-thousands.
Investigators did not need to physically read the emails because the metadata identified the state.gov and Clinton accounts on the laptop device.
Comey restarted the case after being briefed by agents. He subsequently told Congress, and Capitol Hill Republicans promptly boasted that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Clinton using a private Internet server system while secretary of state.
Multiple sources now suggest that Comey knew about the existence of the Weiner laptop and the emails prior to last week.
In July, Comey wrapped up the one-year FBI investigation into Clinton using the private server, saying she was “extremely careless” and that some of the emails off the server included classified information.
However, he said investigators had not found enough evidence that Clinton had mishandled classified information to recommend criminal charges.
Fox News was also told Sunday that a subpoena for Weiner’s computer was issued in late September and that the device was made available about a week later. On Sunday, the FBI obtained a warrant to begin reviewing new emails potentially tied to the Clinton case.
Weiner purportedly is cooperating in the case that allegedly involves an underage female and has given investigators the laptop device.
The FBI NY team working on the Weiner case has a sophisticated system to detect emails because it was their focus was child pornography and issues related to the sexting case, one of the sources told Fox News.
However, the team was not authorized at the time of discovery to expand the search. Fox was also told the FBI obtained a warrant to collect evidence, as part of standard procedure.
A law enforcement source told Fox News earlier Sunday that the New York team told agents involved in the investigation into Clinton using a private server system while secretary of state: “We think we've come across some documents pertinent to your investigation."
Weiner is still married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and a laptop connected to the sexting case was purportedly shared by the couple.
Comey was further compelled to review the documents based on two factors: the volume of documents and his commitment under oath to Congress to review “any new and substantial information,” the source also said.
The new probe comes 9 days before Election Day in a closely contested White House race between Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Republican nominee Donald Trump.
Clinton has been the frontrunner for the entire campaign. But the FBI investigation and others, including several in the GOP-controlled Congress, have contributed to Americans’ eroding trust in her.
Several sources told Fox News this weekend that “thousands” to “tens-of-thousands” of new documents emerged in the sexting case.
However, it remains unclear whether any of them belong to either Clinton or Abedin, as the Clinton campaign has argued over the past few days.
“Everyone wants to have answers,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told “Fox News Sunday.” “Comey should put out answers. … This letter is innuendo.”
Anonymous sources report that there is no evidence that the newly discovered emails on the computer involve Clinton.
However, if the sexting case involves a laptop used by Abedin and the new-found documents include Abedin emails related to her time at the State Department with Clinton, she faces serious consequences.
In June, Abedin said under oath in a Judicial Watch deposition that she searched through all her devices for government emails so they could be turned over to the State Department.
Abedin could be charged with perjury if she lied under oath and as a result would face up to five years in prison.
She also signed a State Department document stating that she no longer maintained classified information, as part of her official exit from the agency.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”