FBI Director James Comey made it known on Friday that his bureau will be renewing its investigation of Hillary Clinton in light of new information, but there have been so many email-related stories surrounding the Clinton campaign it’s hard to keep it all straight.
Comey sent a letter to the Senate stating that an “unrelated case” turned up new emails that are not related to the ongoing WikiLeaks situation or Clinton’s private server. He said the FBI will take “appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to determine whether they contain classified information.”
In October 2015 Bernie Sanders famously said to Clinton during a Democratic debate, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” Over a year later, Americans can’t get enough. News of Comey’s letter has dominated the news cycle and will probably consumer headlines until Election Day … or at least until the next time Donald Trump does something controversial.
Private server vs. WikiLeaks
Until now, these have been the two primary categories of Clinton email scandal. The FBI’s inquiry into the candidate’s use of personal email while Secretary of State has nothing to do with WikiLeaks’ release of stolen emails belonging to Clinton campaign president John Podesta. They are two separate, unrelated controversies that just happen to both involve the word “email.”
In layman’s terms, the private server stuff pertains to Clinton’s use of a non-secure email server that she may or may not have used to send classified documents while secretary of state; the WikiLeaks emails derive from a coordinated attempt to steal the login information for more than 100 addresses associated with the Clinton campaign, yielding damaging messages that the organization has been time-releasing since early October.
One of the confusing aspects that voters need to be aware of is that WikiLeaks also has an archive of Clinton’s private server emails that essentially merges both scandals.
So, what is the FBI investigating now?
FBI boss Comey informed lawmakers that he will investigate newly discovered emails to see if they contained classified information. These emails were not reviewed during previous investigations and were found while looking into an unrelated case.
That case appears to be the inquiry into Anthony Weiner’s alleged sexting relationship with a 15-year-old girl. The new emails were found on a computer belonging to the former New York congressman and his wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, according to the Washington Post.
This is technically a third email controversy, but it still has to do with Clinton’s handling of classified information, rather than its content the way it does with the Podesta/WikiLeaks missives.
Didn’t the FBI already clear Clinton when it comes to the private server
Sort of. Back in July, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she would follow Comey’s recommendation not to pursue charges regarding Clinton’s private e-mail server. At the time, the FBI director said that 110 e-mails sent to or from the server contained classified information but “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges in this scenario.
The new emails may not have come from the infamous server, but they do align with accusations that Clinton casually sent and received classified information. Comey’s letter on Friday stated that he would like to “supplement” his previous testimony.
Will this impact the election?
Hard to say. It obviously doesn’t help Clinton, but the FBI doesn’t exactly move at breakneck speed when investigating matters of this magnitude. It won’t be wrapped up by Election Day, but any damaging information will surely be leaked to the media if history repeats itself.
For what it’s worth, bookmaker William Hill cut the odds for Trump winning the election from 7/2 to 10/3 when the news broke, meaning gamblers think the GOP nominee has a better chance of winning the election since the latest email drama surfaced.
So what’s up with WikiLeaks?
A new batch of leaked Podesta emails seems to hit WikiLeaks everyday. The stolen messages are often discredited by Democrats because they may have been stolen by Russia. The information in Podesta’s leaked emails would be a deal breaker in most elections — but this isn’t most elections.
There are thousands of documents and WikiLeaks allows readers to search Podesta’s emails by key term, file name or even user email address. Everything from Clinton aides mocking Catholics to proof of media bias has been uncovered, but mainstream media hasn’t made much fuss over any of it. Conservative news organizations are running wild with reports, while The Atlantic published a story that essentially says the emails simply show a politician acting political.
Wasn’t there another email scandal?
Yes. Back in July, the Democratic National Committee was hacked and Wikileaks published thousands of damaging emails that exposed the committee’s bias toward Clinton over rival Bernie Sanders. The leaked emails led to the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was accused of conspiring with party officials to thwart Sanders’ campaign.
In August, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seemed to suggest during a TV appearance that a 27-year-old DNC staffer who was recently murdered in Washington, D.C. was the source of the email leak.