An FBI agent investigating child pornography on former Rep. Anthony Weiner's computer first stumbled on hundreds of thousands of emails, many of which were to and from Hillary Clinton, ahead of the 2016 election, a new book reveals.
The Washington Post's Devlin Barrett wrote "October Surprise: How the FBI Tried to Save Itself and Crashed an Election," in which he provides an inside look at what happened in the weeks before the 2016 election — and how the discovery of the Clinton emails threw a wrench into the electoral process.
Special Agent John Robertson was investigating allegations that Weiner sent sexually explicit material to a 15-year-old girl when he stumbled on 600,000 emails from an account belonging to Weiner's then-wife Huma Abedin, Clinton's top aide, sitting on Weiner's laptop. Many of the emails were either to or from the private email address of Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Robertson said he raised the issue with his supervisor but nothing was done within the FBI to look at the emails. He also spoke with the Weiner case prosecutors about the matter, and was told that he needed to keep quiet about his discovery or risk being prosecuted.
The agent later wrote himself an email with his thoughts on what had transpired. Eventually, near the end of October and just days ahead of the election, then-FBI Director James Comey met with some of the bureau's top officials over two days and ultimately decided to look at the content of the emails to see if any of their findings from the Clinton email investigation, which had been closed months earlier, should change based on Robertson's discovery.
"Someone in the chain of command had the sense to inform the director and I am elated to have learned that he did the right thing," Robertson wrote in another memo to himself after he learned of Comey's decision. "I suppose I should have had greater faith in the FBI, but this is a different matter."
Barrett's book will be released on Sept. 22.
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