Dem Senator: Why Yes–If Huma Abedin Forwarded Classified Information, She Committed a Crime

Matt Vespa
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Posted: May 04, 2017 2:00 PM
Dem Senator: Why Yes–If Huma Abedin Forwarded Classified Information, She Committed a Crime

Well, FBI Director James Comey revealed an interesting during his testimony yesterday on the Hill when he said that top Clinton aide Huma Abedin was forwarding emails with classified information to the laptop belonging to her husband, Anthony Weiner. This was detailed in Comey’s answer as to why he decided to inform Congress so close to Election Day that they had found more emails that turned out to be on that laptop that may be pertinent to the Clinton email probe. Weiner and Abedin shared the device as well (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CALIF.): Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Director, I have one question regarding my opening comment and I view it as a most important question and I hope you will answer it. Why was it necessary to announce 11 days before a presidential election that you were opening an investigation on a new computer without any knowledge of what was in that computer?

Why didn't you just do the investigation as you would normally with no public announcement?

COMEY: A great question, senator. Thank you. October 27, the investigative team that had finished the investigation in July focused on Secretary Clinton's emails asked to meet with me.

So I met with them that morning, late morning, in my conference room. And they laid out for me what they could see from the metadata on this fella Anthony Weiner's laptop that had been seized in an unrelated case. What they could see from the metadata was that there were thousands of Secretary Clinton's emails on that device, including what they thought might be the missing emails from her first three months as secretary of state.

We never found any emails from her first three months. She was using a Verizon BlackBerry then and that's obviously very important, because if there was evidence that she was acting with bad intent, that's where it would be in the first three months.

FEINSTEIN: But they weren't there.

COMEY: Look, can I just finish my answer, senator?

FEINSTEIN: Yes.

COMEY: And so they came in and said, we can see thousands of emails from the Clinton email domain, including many, many, many from the Verizon Clinton domain, BlackBerry domain. They said we think we got to get a search warrant to go get these, and the Department of Justice agreed we had to go get a search warrant.

So I agreed, I authorized them to seek a search warrant. And then I faced a choice. And I've lived my entire career by the tradition that if you can possibly avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to an election that might have an impact. Whether it's a dogcatcher election or president of the United States, but I sat there that morning and I could not see a door labeled no action here.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here's how I thought about it, I'm not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there's nothing there, there's no case there, there's no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There's an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad. I've got to tell Congress that we're restarting this, not in some frivolous way, in a hugely significant way.

And the team also told me, we cannot finish this work before the election. And then they worked night after night after night, and they found thousands of new emails, they found classified information on Anthony Weiner. Somehow, her emails are being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information, by her assistant, Huma Abedin. And so they found thousands of new emails and then called me the Saturday night before the election and said thanks to the wizardry of our technology, we've only had to personally read 6,000. We think we can finish tomorrow morning, Sunday.

Comey later expounded on the forwarding of emails with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) [emphasis mine]:

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY, R-LA.: Morning, Mr. Director, I guess afternoon, now. I'll assume for second that I'm not a United States senator and that I don't have a security clearance to look at classified information. If someone sends me classified information, and I know or should know which classified information, and I read it, have I committed a crime?

COMEY: Potentially.

KENNEDY: Has the person who sent me the information committed a crime?

COMEY: Potentially, if they knew you didn't have appropriate clearance and a need to know.

KENNEDY: OK. Was there classified information on -- on former Congressman Weiner's computer?

COMEY: Yes.

KENNEDY: Who sent it to him?

COMEY: His then spouse, Huma Abedin, appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding e-mails to him, for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the Secretary of State.

KENNEDY: Did Congress -- former Congressman Weiner read the classified materials?

COMEY: I don't -- I don't think so. I think it is descriptive -- I don't think we've been able to interview him because he has pending criminal problems of other sorts. But my understanding is that his role would be to print them out as a matter of convenience.

So, isn’t this a crime? Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) seemed to think so when he appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning:

WILLIE GEIST: We heard the soundbite with that question about Huma Abedin passing classified information to Anthony Weiner. Do you believe that is a crime?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CT: If there was classified information and it was improperly passed to a person unauthorized to receive it, yes naturally it’s a crime.

Co-host Joe Scarborough pressed Blumenthal on whether Abedin committed a crime, noting how some in the intelligence community felt that Gen. David Petraeus received lighter treatment for his mishandling of classified information, which may have impacted the Clinton investigation. Scarborough noted that Blumenthal pretty much said, based on testimony yesterday, that Abedin committed a crime. Should it have been prosecuted?

“The question of whether it should have been prosecuted, and it still may be, potentially, it’s not outside the statute of limitations, so far as I know, it’s one that the Department of Justice is going to have to decide,” responded the Connecticut Democrat.

Guy wrote a lengthy post about how Comey used the same standard for both Abedin and Clinton, how not pressing charges was probably a gift to the Clinton campaign, and how it shows how absurd the Democratic bashing of Comey is regarding the whole ‘he cost her the election’ talking point that is saturating the left wing echo chamber. These two slide on rather egregious breaches in document protocol. Moreover, in citing National Review’s David French, we know that Clinton and her team were not politically experienced. They’ve seen such sensitive information. They knew the protocols, which is why Guy noted how the whole notion she didn’t know the classification markers is absurd. The secretary of state is an original classification authority. Still, as French noted, Abedin forwarded such information for printing and Clinton kept those emails with classified information on her homebrew server that wasn’t authorized by the State Department or secure. In the end, as we’ve noted before, the FBI and Comey were a factor in the 2016 election because Hillary made it so:

One could easily argue that someone in Abedin's position had a duty to know that casually forwarding ahead sensitive emails to a non-secure computer for printing was a big no-no, yet she did so anyway, repeatedly, for purposes of convenience. But based on the text of the statute above, even if you could conclusively demonstrate that she didn't know this conduct was illegal, she'd still be on the hook. Writes Allahpundit, "Comey decided last summer that it doesn’t matter what the federal statute actually says; Congress can write whatever laws it wants but when it comes to applying them, prior DOJ practice will guide the FBI in recommending charges, not the text of the law. And DOJ practice requires proof of knowledge or intent, not mere gross negligence, to justify filing charges, never mind that no one as high up as a Secretary of State had ever been credibly accused of violating this particular statute before. If Hillary’s gross negligence wasn’t enough to get her charged, then Huma’s gross negligence isn’t enough either." Bingo. That's exactly the standard Comey applied to both women here.

[…]

Are we also to conclude that Abedin "accidentally" withheld or failed to disclose a device to which she habitually forwarded thousands of emails, including classified ones? I'm not advocating the re-litigation of this whole matter all over again (although the lack of consequences over national security recklessness and dishonesty is troubling), but the fact that Clinton and Abedin were allowed to slide on their egregious misconduct further underscores how ridiculous the Left's scapegoating of Comey really is.

We’ll see how things go with Abedin. She swore, under penalty of perjury, that she turned in all her devices that had State Department documents on them. That turned out to be untrue. Just another Clintonite thinking the rules don’t apply, I guess. Maybe it isn’t perjury since intent is hard to prove, but another episode of negligence nonetheless.