WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has obtained a warrant that will allow it to begin searching the computer that is believed to contain thousands of newly-discovered emails of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, two law enforcement sources said.
The computer in question is considered to belong to Abedin’s estranged husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, and was seized as part of a separate investigation regarding allegations of him sexting with an underage girl.
Investigators from the FBI’s New York field office who are conducting the Weiner investigation stumbled on the Abedin emails while they were reviewing emails and other communications on the computer that was considered to belong to him.
Authorities believed they needed this new search warrant because the existing authorization, covered by an initial warrant, related only to that initial investigation.
The Justice Department and the FBI are in discussions with lawyers for Abedin to secure approval that would allow the FBI to conduct a full search of her newly discovered emails.
Investigators from the FBI’s New York field office who are conducting the Weiner investigation stumbled on the Abedin emails while they were reviewing emails and other communications on the computer, which was considered to belong to Weiner, the officials said.
They stopped their work and called in the team of investigators from FBI headquarters who conducted the probe of Clinton’s private email server.
Just 11 days before the election, FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers the bureau would continue investigating issues involving Clinton’s personal email server. Law enforcement sources said the newly discovered emails are not related to WikiLeaks or the Clinton Foundation.
Abedin’s lawyers didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The investigators saw enough of the emails to determine that they appeared pertinent to the previously completed investigation and that they may be emails not previously reviewed.
Because they don’t have a warrant specific to Abedin’s emails, officials have not been able to further examine them. Justice Department and FBI officials view Abedin as cooperative with the investigation.
FBI officials yet don’t know how many of the emails are duplicates of emails they already have reviewed as part of the Clinton email server investigation and whether any of them may contain classified information.
Investigators believe it’s likely the newly recovered trove will include emails that were deleted from the Clinton server before the FBI took possession of it as part of that earlier investigation.