Scrutiny of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin intensified Monday amid speculation that claims she made in her FBI interview and a separate sworn deposition could come back to haunt her as the bureau gains access to emails on her estranged husband’s computer.
Abedin, one of Clinton’s most trusted advisers, is married to disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner. An unrelated investigation into allegations Weiner sexted with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl purportedly led investigators to a new email cache that have since kicked the Clinton email server probe back to life.
Abedin seemed to be a no-show Monday on the campaign trail. She also did not travel with Clinton over the weekend to the battleground state of Florida. While Abedin has effectively stepped off the campaign trail since the FBI's stunning announcement on Friday, her emails are now at the center of attention.
"Thank you, Huma!" Donald Trump declared at a Michigan rally on Monday afternoon.
FBI Director James Comey stressed in his letter to Congress Friday that investigators don't know how significant the new emails may be. But even if they don't implicate the Democratic presidential nominee, their mere existence could call into question testimony Abedin gave months ago about the email system.
FBI records reflect that she told investigators "that she lost most of her old emails as a result of the transition."
During a June 28, 2016 deposition with the conservative Judicial Watch, Abedin also swore she looked for and turned over all devices she thought contained government work to the State Department.
“I looked for all the devices that may have any of my State Department work on it and returned – returned – gave them to my attorneys for them to review for all relevant documents,” Abedin said. “And gave them devices and paper.”
Abedin claimed she handed over two laptops, a BlackBerry, and other files she found in her apartment. She also said she wasn’t involved in the process of what specific files would be handed over to the State Department.
These statements were made before the FBI initially announced in July that it was not pursuing charges in the investigation. The bureau since 2015 had been looking into Clinton’s personal email system, trying to find every electronic device that Clinton and her aides used.
"From the beginning, Ms. Abedin has complied fully and voluntarily with State Department and law enforcement requests, including sitting for hours-long interviews and providing her work-related and potentially work-related documents," Karen Dunn, counsel to Abedin, said in a statement. "Ms. Abedin's willing cooperation has been praised by Members of Congress and law enforcement officials alike. She only learned for the first time on Friday, from press reports, of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain emails of hers."
Dunn added that the FBI had not contacted them adding Abedin "will continue to be, as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative."
The Republican National Committee sent out an email Saturday saying reports about Abedin’s past statements now raise questions on whether she had “perjured herself.”
Karl Rove, Fox News analyst and former George W. Bush adviser, told Fox News on Friday that the issue may be “a question of her veracity” and whether the emails contradict what Abedin told investigators.
Abedin has not spoken publicly about the newly found emails, though the Clinton campaign is urging Comey to provide more information as soon as possible. Democratic lawmakers have sharply criticized the FBI director's decision to make this announcement so close to the general election.
Meanwhile, the campaign is publicly standing behind Abedin.
Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta said Sunday on CNN that Abedin "absolutely" is still with the campaign and has "played a central and vital role."
Campaign Manager Robby Mook also played down the Abedin connection on "Fox News Sunday."
"There's nothing about Huma Abedin in the letter that was sent out," he said.