Huma Abedin placed the blame for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss on James Comey, claiming the fired FBI director’s “decision to play God” is why former President Donald Trump won.
FBI agent John Robertson, who worked in the bureau's child sex crimes unit in New York, unearthed tens of thousands of Clinton emails in late September 2016 on the laptop belonging to Abedin’s husband, disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner.
But for weeks after being alerted, top FBI leaders, including then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe , then FBI agent Peter Strzok , and former FBI counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap , took little to no action to investigate. The trio is not mentioned in Abedin's new book, Both/And.
A letter from Comey to Congress in late October 2016 about the email discovery, shortly after he was finally briefed on it, disrupted the election.
Abedin wrote in her book that “most of all, the totally gratuitous reopening of the FBI email investigation, had tilted the election” in Trump’s favor.
“For a long time, Comey was a daily nightmare for me, and even now the thought of what he did sometimes creeps in to torture me,” she wrote. “But I have slowly come to accept that I am not the sole cause of the 2016 election loss. One man’s decision to play God forever changed the course of history. It should not be my burden to carry the rest of my life. It should be his.”
She ignored revelations about the timing that have since come to light.
Robertson implored Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Kramer of the Southern District of New York during an Oct. 19, 2016, meeting to push FBI leadership to look at the thousands of emails he had unearthed.
DOJ Inspector General Horowitz’s 2018 report on the Clinton email investigation noted a search warrant was obtained on Sept. 26, 2016, for Weiner’s devices and that the “Weiner case agent” (Robertson) noticed “within hours” that there were “over 300,000 emails on the laptop,” including between Clinton and Abedin. The FBI New York Field Office’s William Sweeney was alerted two days later, and key FBI executives such as McCabe were quickly informed by Sweeney.
Horowitz’s report concluded that “by no later than September 29, 2016, FBI executives and the FBI Midyear team had learned virtually every fact that was cited by the FBI in late October as justification for obtaining the search warrant for the Weiner laptop.”
Yet Horowitz wrote: “After October 4, we found no evidence that anyone associated with the Midyear investigation, including the entire leadership team at FBI Headquarters, took any action on the Weiner laptop issue until the week of October 24, and then did so only after the Weiner case agent expressed concerns to SDNY, prompting SDNY to contact the Office of the Deputy Attorney General on October 21.”
Strzok exchanged anti-Trump texts with former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair. Horowitz wrote, “We did not have confidence that Strzok’s decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the Midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop was free from bias.”
Abedin repeatedly claimed neither she nor Weiner knew how her emails came to be on Weiner’s laptop.
Abedin said she learned the Clinton email investigation was being reopened in late October 2016 when Clinton campaign communications director Jen Palmieri told her and that “the instant she said ‘Anthony,’ my heart stopped.”
Abedin wrote, “This man was going to ruin me, and now he was going to jeopardize HRC’s chances of winning the presidency.”
She continued, “It turned out that the Southern District, which was prosecuting Anthony’s case involving the teenager, had found emails of mine on his laptop and to this day I do not know where or how because I never knew they were there. … I watched HRC’s face as she processed it. The moment she made eye contact with me, I just broke down.”
Abedin says she spoke with Weiner that night, with Weiner asking from a rehab facility, “How could your emails be on my laptop?”
She wrote, “It was the question the entire world was asking, a question neither of us can answer to this day.”
Abedin says that Weiner told her, “I am sure it’s a mistake and they will figure it out.”
She replied, “Anthony, if she loses this election, it will be because of you and me.”
When Clinton foreign policy adviser and current Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan told her the Sunday before the election that the FBI investigation had closed again, Abedin wrote, “I felt an equal measure of relief and of rage. Why did they have to ‘reopen’ the investigation and announce it in the first place? And then close it with a similar dramatic flourish?”
Abedin married Weiner in 2010, and they have one son together. Weiner infamously tweeted a lewd photo of himself in 2011, then lied about being hacked before resigning. Abedin filed for divorce in 2017 from Weiner after he pleaded guilty to sexting a minor.
When it finally became clear late on election night that Trump had won, Abedin says that she, Clinton’s family, and other campaign team members were sitting in silence at the news when someone said, “Comey.”
She wrote, “We all nodded slowly because what the heck else were we to do.”
Abedin listed out potential reasons Clinton lost, but wrote, “And Comey. Always and ever it came back to Comey.”
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