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Hillary Clinton Weiner Email Scandal Update: 5 Things You Need to Know

Hillary Clinton Weiner Email Scandal Update: 5 Things You Need to Know

Barack Obama, James Comey(Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria)U.S. President Barack Obama attends a meeting with FBI Director James Comey (R) along with DHS Secretary Charles Johnson (not pictured), NCTC Director Nicholas Rasmussen (not pictured), and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (not pictured) at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2016.

As federal investigators were able to obtain the warrant needed to review new messages found on a laptop used by Hilary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband, Anthony Weiner, that could be relevant to the completed investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of private server, there are five things readers need to know.

ABC News reported Sunday that the FBI has acquired a warrant to investigate the emails that were found on devices belonging to Abedin and her estranged husband, former congressman Weiner, while investigating a case about him sending sexually explicit emails to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.


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On Sunday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump accused his Democratic rival Clinton of "willful and deliberate criminal conduct" at a campaign stop in Greeley, Colorado.

"In the diamond business, in the coal business … they go, 'This could be the mother lode!" Trump said. "This could be the 33,000 that are missing. This could be the 20,000 that are missing … I would think they have some real bad ones, but we're gonna find out ... Maybe not," he said, according to The Washington Post.

On Friday, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress, saying that the agency will review the emails to find out if they contained any classified information. In July, the agency had concluded there was no reason for a criminal case against Clinton. While in office as Secretary of State, Clinton used her "" address and didn't even activate her email account with the government's servers.

The FBI has not commented on the content of the new messages, or on how long it will take to complete the re-investigation.

"The FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant," Comey wrote in the letter. "I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work."

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Why is the re-investigation being done close to the election?

A law enforcement source familiar with the issue told ABC News that federal authorities investigating the Weiner case discovered Clinton's emails weeks ago, after which a complicated process followed with lots of back and forth over how to handle the situation and whether the FBI needed to get a warrant in order to review the newly discovered emails.

When the FBI began investigating Clinton's personal email account in 2015, it tried to find every electronic device — phones, tablets, computers — that she and her aides used, but agents could not find many of them, including several of her cellphones and two iPads, according to The New York Times. However, the agents knew that those devices, and others they were not aware of, might someday surface. But they still chose to complete the Clinton case as they found no evidence at the time that anyone had intentionally broken the law.

2. What did the Justice Department tell Comey about his letter to Congress?

Hours before Comey disclosed that the FBI was hoping to review the emails, Justice Department officials emphasized while speaking to FBI officials that the department does not take such investigative actions close to an election if those actions could potentially influence the outcome of an election, sources told ABC News.

Justice Department officials were reportedly also concerned about the disclosure because the FBI had yet to review the newly discovered emails. But Comey "decided to move forward anyway," a source was quoted as saying.

3. Why did James Comey send the letter to Congress?

Notifying Congress is unorthodox. Normally the FBI would notify the Justice Department of its findings after conducting an investigation. After sending the letter to Congress, Comey explained that he thought he must disclose it because he had earlier promised lawmakers and the public that the FBI investigation was "completed."

4. What will the FBI do next?

Now that the FBI has acquired a warrant to review the emails, the same agents who were involved in the earlier investigation will read the thousands of emails to find out if they carry any classified information and if anyone broke federal laws.

The reinvestigation is not likely to end before the Election Day. It may take several weeks.

5. How is Clinton's campaign responding to it?

The Clinton campaign released an open letter, signed by nearly 100 former federal prosecutors including Eric Holder, late Sunday.

"To maintain fairness and neutrality, federal law enforcement officials must exercise discipline whenever they make public statements in connection with an ongoing investigation," the letter reads. "Often, evidence uncovered during the course of an investigative inquiry is incomplete, misleading or even incorrect, and releasing such information before all of the facts are known and tested in a court of law can unfairly prejudice individuals and undermine the public's faith in the integrity of our legal process."

Senate minority leader Harry Reid told Comey he may have broken the law.

"Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be clear intent to aid one political party over another," the letter says. "I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act."

When asked about Reid's response, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., joked that Reid might be under the influence of drugs.

"Thank God he's leaving, is my initial reaction. My second reaction is: I did not know Mormons used drugs. And anyone who is capable of sending out that press release has to be under the influence of something," he said on Fox News' "Special Report."

"The person responsible for this fact pattern is Secretary Clinton," Gowdy continued. "Jim Comey did not tell her to use her private server. He did not say to mislead the public about whether or not you turned over all of your work emails. And he certainly didn't say, Secretary Clinton, why don't you say you neither sent nor received classified information. So, look, Senator Reid is a political hack and Jim Comey is a law enforcement officer."


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