Let's take a trip down memory lane and try to figure out the story that was posted on Insider, titled "The untold story of how a lone FBI agent forced the agency to reopen its investigation into Hillary Clinton days before her election loss to Trump."
They start off by giving us three bullet points to keep in mind throughout the story and they are as follows:
When President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he triggered the appointment of Robert Mueller as an independent special counsel and caused the FBI to open a formal investigation into the president. This set in motion a dramatic chain of events, which would put the president on a collision course with the Department of Justice.
This could mean a number of things that Trump has going for or against the Department of Justice. Just recently, Attorney General Bill Barr has faced some scrutiny for making sure that Roger Stone's sentencing wasn't the years upon years the prosecutors wanted (four of them resigned) - and Democrats will tie Trump to this one too.
- In his new book, "Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law," the journalist James B. Stewart draws on scores of interviews with key Justice Department and White House officials and voluminous documents to recount the FBI investigations of both Trump and his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
But does he reveal the name of the "one FBI agent" that everyone wants to know, or will that agent remain unknown and called "sources say" like others who may or may not exist. When you're selling a book, anything to increase sales like suggesting a mysterious FBI agent got Hillary Clinton investigated might work. Heck, we're reading about it now - but some readers want to know if that person really exists and who they are.
In this excerpt, Stewart tells the story of how an investigation into the scandal-racked Anthony Weiner kicked off a chain of events that would upend the Clinton campaign.
Let's take a minute to ponder this. Did a look into Anthony Weiner really upend the Clinton campaign? Does anyone remember the time she called Trump supporters a "basket of Deplorables" suggesting that people who had different political opinions were basically less than human? If I can recall correctly, I do remember that particular one-liner setting off a tripwire of people teetering on the edge of moderates sliding over to the right after she belittled an entire half of the country by calling them "deplorables."
So here's what's going on in a nutshell.
The article on Insider dives into the problems with Anthony Weiner and his inappropriate relationship with a teen girl.
Seems like Daily Mail exposed the scandal and that triggered the investigation based on New York Penal Law 235. This basically crushed Weiner's hopes of running for Congress and Huma Abedin left him.
Got it. We all remember that.
Now, Huma Abedin was connected to the hip of Hillary Clinton at the time as her top aide. Clinton called Huma her "second daughter" and Billy Clinton, that guy who was once president and used an intern as a humidor, was also the officiant of Huma and Anthony's wedding. Wow, they are like BFF's, right?
Eh, not so much when Weiner's story came out and Hillary may have thought it was a good idea to get a little distance
As The New York Times noted, Weiner's behavior "threatens to remind voters about the troubles in the Clintons' own marriage over the decades, including Mrs. Clinton's much-debated decision to remain with then-President Bill Clinton after revelations of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Ms. Abedin's choice to separate from her husband evokes the debates that erupted over Mrs. Clinton's handling of the Lewinsky affair, a scandal her campaign wants left in the past."
In what would prove to be a spectacular miscalculation, The Times reported that Clinton's advisers "were confident Mr. Weiner's actions would not hurt Mrs. Clinton."
Now we get into the good stuff with the FBI, warrants, investigations, and all the ways that Weiner's issued were tied to Hillary Clinton. Whether it was meant to be or not, it happened and they were connected, likely through Huma... or maybe not.
Following the Daily Mail article, the New York field office and the Manhattan US attorney, Preet Bharara, took the lead in the Weiner investigation. On September 26, the government asked for and was granted a search warrant and seized Weiner's iPhone, iPad, and laptop computer the same day. One of the FBI's digital extraction technicians noticed within hours that there were about 340,000 emails on the laptop. Among the domain addresses were Yahoo.com, State.gov, Clintonfoundation.org, Clintonemail.com, and Hillaryclinton.com. "Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" the technician wondered.
At this point what could the technician be thinking? Since Huma Abedin was Hillary's top aide, it wasn't a shock to see Clinton related emails on Weiner's laptop. If Huma was using his laptop wile they were at home, then seeing Hillary's related email addresses on there aren't anything out of the ordinary. Or, was Abedin not supposed to be checking those emails on any device but her own? That part I am not sure about. However, they reported it "up the chain" of command to keep their bases covered and, well, maybe to start some drama because it involved a presidential candidate. And of course, it certainly did.
At the technician's request, the computer was looked at by another agent, who described it as an "oh sh-t" moment and agreed they needed to report the discovery "up the chain" immediately. They also drafted an email that began, "Just putting this on the record because of the optics of the case."
This is where the chain of command ran rampant. Names like Andrew McCabe, James Comey, Bill Sweeney, Peter Strzok, and others all get involved or are mentioned in one way or another.
They believe it's a significant discovery that Hillary Clinton related email addresses are on Anthony Weiner's laptop while he's being investigated for that lewd relationship he was having.
Ordinarily, then-FBI Director James Comey would have been presiding, but he was testifying that afternoon on Capitol Hill, so Andrew McCabe, Comey's deputy, handled it. One participant said that Sweeney's revelation was like "dropping a bomb in the middle of the meeting" and stated that "everybody realized the significance of this, like, potential trove of information." He said Sweeney "very much emphasized the significance of what he thought they had there."
But McCabe later had only a hazy memory of Sweeney's remarks. Later that day, he told Comey, in passing, "Hey, Boss, I just want you to know that the criminal squad in New York has got Anthony Weiner's laptop and I think it may have some connect to Midyear"
Who or what was Midyear?
A quick search leads to Digital Commons page on UNL.edu and says:
The FBI opened an investigation, known as “Midyear Exam” (MYE or Midyear), into the storage and transmission of classified information on Clinton’s unclassified private servers in July 2015. Over the course of the next year, FBI agents and analysts and Department prosecutors conducted the investigation. Their activities included obtaining and analyzing servers and devices used by Clinton, contents of private email accounts for certain senior aides, and computers and email accounts used to back up, process, or transfer Clinton’s emails.
Now we're on to something.
We've got Hillary Clinton emails being investigated. Hillary Clinton emails appearing on Anthony Weiner's laptop as he's being investigated. How does it all make sense?
Apparently James Comey didn't realize, or so they say, that Human Abedin was married to Anthony Weiner and that's how he was connected to Hillary Clinton - through her top aide who's married to the guy allegedly hooking up with a teenager.
And have you met our friends Peter Strzok and Lisa Page? Oh, what a story they have. Now they get involved and this rabbit hole just does not end.
Peter Strzok, the FBI agent in charge of the Clinton email investigation, texted Lisa Page, a bureau attorney, that evening: "Got called up to Andy's earlier ... hundreds of thousands of emails turned over by Weiner's atty to sdny, includes a ton of material from spouse. Sending team up tomorrow to review ... this will never end." Strzok even considered going himself: "So I kinda want to go up to NY tomorrow, coordinate this."
Coordinate this? After what we learned about him and Page, I can see exactly how he wanted to coordinate things.
So they're doing whatever they do and here's the kicker from Insider. They absolutely nailed this point home like a Babe Ruth grand slam:
Any sense of urgency drained away. While sporadic discussions of the Weiner laptop continued within lower ranks at FBI headquarters, it wasn't even on Comey's radar. Strzok got back to the all-consuming task of the Russia investigation.
Wow. I wonder why the urgency went away. Was it because it was connected to their preferred presidential candidate Hillary Clinton? Was it because their Russia investigation was against Donald Trump?
Is the so-called Deep State starting to ring a bell? If not, then we'll just say that some people were clearly biased towards one candidate or another when we believe our agencies like the FBI should try their best to remain neutral as a whole and vote independently. You know, do your job faithfully to your country, but don't bring the politics to work sorta thing.
McCabe alerted the Justice Department about the Weiner laptop the first week in October and told a Justice Department lawyer he was sending an agent to review the emails. But both thought they would mostly be duplicates of what they'd already seen, given how thorough the investigation had been.
Oh how nice. Don't even look at it?
Here's one point to keep in mind.
The search warrant used to investigate Anthony Weiner only included the inappropriate content he was looking at or had on the device. It did NOT include any Hillary Clinton related emails, so technically they were not supposed to do anything with whatever they found.
The article on Insider goes on to say that the FBI did not identify the agent who discovered Clinton's emails on Weiner's laptop.
As the sole proprietor of what he now knew to be hundreds of thousands of emails with Clinton's name on them, and the election just a month away, he was, as he later put it, "a little scared." Even though "I'm not political" and "I don't care who wins this election," he feared the revelation that the bureau sat on such a trove "is going to make us look really, really horrible."
As he put it, "Something was going to come crashing down." Even though "I didn't work the Hillary Clinton matter. My understanding at the time was I am telling you people I have private Hillary Clinton emails, number one, and BlackBerry messages, number two. I'm telling you that we have potentially ten times the volume that Director Comey said we had on the record. Why isn't anybody here?" He also worried that Comey hadn't been informed. "As a big admirer of the guy, and I think he's a straight shooter, I felt like he needed to know that we got this. And I didn't know if he did."
Insider then talks of dealings with John Podesta, Terry McAuliffe, Rudy Giuliani, donations here and there, a little bit of drama and some other info - all things you could pinpoint on a timeline. Then they finally get to the good stuff, but at this point the public may have been hoodwinked. They claim to have examined over 1.3 million items on the laptop, hundreds of thousands of emails, and said "all were duplicates of emails that had already been examined."
Now we're stuck asking how they were able to read that many items and how they managed to identify them as duplicates. Surely some computer program could do this, but at some point someone had to read them and mark them as "read" so that the software, if it exists, could match the new material with the old and label it accordingly as well. A simple search/find sort of program could probably solve that, but I'm no computer whiz, not even close.
The FBI obtained a search warrant for Weiner's laptop on October 30, and the computer was physically transferred from New York to the bureau's operational technology division in Quantico, Virginia. The laptop contained 1,355,980 items and approximately 650,000 emails. While that seemed a daunting and time-consuming task, technicians were able to narrow the Clinton-related emails to under 50,000. The FBI reviewed 6,827 emails that were either to or from Clinton and deemed 3,077 of those emails "potentially work-related." Strzok led the team that pored over each of these, working near 24-hour days. They found 13 email chains containing confidential information, though none were marked as classified. All were duplicates of emails that had already been examined.
At the end of the day, we still don't know who the agent was who originally discovered the Clinton emails on Weiner's laptop. Does it matter who found them? Or does it matter more that nothing was really done about it?
That's the real question.
Despite everything that everyone knows, or thinks they know, what was the ultimate outcome?
That answer is... well... nothing.