With Election Day one week away, Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, is responding for the first time to the FBI search for emails that may have gone through Clinton’s private servers. The emails were found on a laptop used by Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
Abedin’s attorney said in a statement: “[Abedin] only learned for the first time on Friday, from press reports, of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain emails of hers. While the FBI has not contacted us about this, Ms. Abedin will continue to be, as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative.”
The White House is not criticizing FBI director James Comey for telling Congress about the review this close to the election.
“I’ll neither defend nor criticize what Director Comey has decided to communicate to the public about this investigation,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
On Monday, the White House struck down claims that Comey’s actions were political.
“The president doesn’t believe that Director Comey is intentionally trying to influence the outcome of an election,” Earnest said. “The president doesn’t believe that he’s secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party. He’s in a tough spot.”
Comey is facing criticism for notifying Congress about launching the review less than two weeks before the election.
“Getting involved this close to the election is just wrong,” Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen said.
“You don’t get to be a smearer at large with derogatory information,” Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.
The FBI has built a software program that is scouring through hundreds of thousands of emails found on the laptop. Investigators have already seen the subject, date and time of the emails and are continuing to look for classified material or anything that might be tied to Clinton, zeroing-in on emails belonging to Abedin.
Comey’s decision to tell Congress defied a recommendation from Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
In response to calls from Congress to disclose more information about the review, the Department of Justice said they’re dedicating “all necessary resources” and taking “appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible.”
“As much information, as much clarity about the nature of the investigation as can be made available should be made available,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said.
Goodlatte, a Republican, spoke to the FBI chief over the weekend.
“It was important for the director to make it clear that when substantial new evidence became available, they reopened the case,” Goodlatte said.
Once investigators have a better idea of how many documents need to be searched, they plan to assign a large amount of people to the investigation. At that point they will have a clearer idea how long the review could take, though it’s unlikely it will be completed before Election Day.