Federal District Judge Kevin Castel, sitting in Manhattan, ordered the search warrant and supporting documents released today (Dec. 2) in response to federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Los Angeles lawyer Randy Schoenberg, who made the request, said he was “appalled” by the search warrant and the FBI’s actions.
“I see nothing at all in the search warrant application that would give rise to probable cause, nothing that would make anyone suspect that there was anything on the laptop beyond what the FBI had already searched and determined not to be evidence of a crime,” he said in a statement.
Clinton lawyer David Kendall said the documents showed “extraordinary impropriety” by Comey. His letter was “legally unauthorized and factually unnecessary,” he added.
Money & Power reported in-depth on the FBI’s dirty election tricks on Dec. 16.
The FBI’s New York field office and the NYPD appear to have colluded to prevent Clinton’s election. The missing link tying the two together is Trump campaign adviser and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The emails surfaced on a computer shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. At the time, Weiner was under investigation by the FBI’s New York Office for sexting with a 15-year-old girl.
Schoenberg said he saw nothing in the documents “to suggest that there would be anything other than routine correspondence between” between Clinton and Abedin.
He said there is no evidence as to “why they thought they might find evidence of a crime, why they felt it necessary to inform Congress, and why they even sought this search warrant.”
The finding suggests Comey had no grounds to inform Congress by letter just 11 days before the election that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
The letter had a devastating effect on Clinton’s campaign. Clinton and others say it marked a turning point that saw her pre-election lead in the polls melt away. She lost the election in a shocking upset to Donald Trump.
Trump cited the letter relentlessly on the campaign trail, claiming falsely that it proved Clinton’s use of the server violated the law.
He called the case “bigger than Watergate” and predicted Clinton would be indicted, a themed picked up by Fox News, other right-wing media and echoed by cries at his rallies of “Lock her up!”
Comey had cleared Clinton of wrong-doing the previous July. Then, two days before the election, Comey issued another letter clearing her for a second time. But by then, the damage had already been done.
Comey was widely criticized for politicizing the nation’s top law enforcement agency, and the released documents are a damning indictment of his actions.
Schoenberg told USAToday in an email:
“The FBI agent’s name has not been disclosed, but I think that it may be appropriate to find out his/her name and determine what the motivations were, since it must have been obvious to the FBI that there was no real probable cause to believe they would find evidence of a crime. It was very wrong for Director Comey to give that impression.”
In fact, the search warrant was issued on Oct. 30, two days after Comey wrote his letter on Oct. 28. The FBI’s New York office had been in possession of the emails for weeks before telling Comey about them, according to previous reports.
In an affidavit supporting the request for the warrant, an FBI agent said “probable cause” existed to believe “evidence, contraband, fruits and/or items illegally possessed” were contained on the computer.
But the affidavit failed to disclose any evidence to that effect in violation of legal requirements, which are set fourth in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Lawyers for Abedin said neither she nor Weiner were ever served with the warrant as required by law and only learned about the new investigation after Comey’s letter was widely publicized.
“Comey had a large, measurable impact on the race,” said pollster Nate Silver, who tracks elections. Clinton would almost certainly have won the election if it had been held before release of the letter.
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