The letter by FBI Director James Comey last Friday to Congress about additional evidence potentially related to the Clinton email investigation ignited the predictable firestorm of criticism from all sides. Even media and press other than FOX News were obliged to carry the story which is still in its early stages. Almost all of Comey's critics are agreed that the investigation of the matter was unorthodox in virtually every respect and that Comey's recent actions are inconsistent with long-standing Justice Department policy.
From what is known, it is fairly clear that Comey was in a most difficult position, facing a mutiny by FBI agents involved with the case who were ready to go public with the fact of this new trove of Clinton-related emails and pressure from "senior Justice Department officials" who wanted him to simply remain silent in the matter, just days before the Presidential election. Author Edward Klein makes a compelling case that in this matter there was a "fix" directed by Valerie Jarett at the White House and her close friend Attorney General Loretta Lynch to keep the case away from prosecution. Others are willing to accept Comey's July statement that there was insufficient evidence to support a criminal indictment at the time. How history ultimately reconciles this conflict remains to be seen.
A major question now is what is the nature of this mass of emails discovered by the FBI's New York Field Office on a computer belonging to Anthony Wiener and his estranged wife Huma Abedin - Hillary Clinton's closest advisor. At this point, there is very little that is known, and almost anything said is largely speculation. That said, however, there are a few points where reasonable speculation can begin.
Various leaks and reports from those involved in the investigation indicate that the sheer number of emails on the computer taken from Weiner and Huma Abedin is huge, with most recent reports indicating that upwards of 600,000 emails are there, based on the preliminary examination of the meta-data (headers) on the emails. This would be an order-of-magnitude greater than the set of emails already turned over by Clinton and her aides to the State Department and the FBI, as well as some 33,000 destroyed by her team and presumed lost forever.
It is most likely the case that many of the emails in this "mother lode" as some describe it are in fact duplicates of those already in the FBI's possession. There is no dispute over this. It is also likely the case that among this astronomic number of emails -- there are many that have not already been seen by the FBI, the State Department, or the Intelligence Community -- which do contain classified information.
What is also known, from both the prior emails released by the State Department as well as the ongoing flow from WikiLeaks, is that Huma Abedin was copied on virtually every email involving Hillary Clinton; the Clinton Foundation and other elements of Clinton, Inc. Huma herself has already stated that she regularly forwarded many emails from a State Department account to her personal Yahoo account as it was easier to print them for Hillary from that account. She has also stated that she rarely deleted any emails, a practice that may yet serve to be her own undoing, if not Hillary's as well.
Until now there has been little more to add to the sad tale of Hillary's private server; unauthorized and illegal handling of classified data; and the related efforts by her aides, lawyers, and contractors to destroy a large volume of her e-mails as well as some 13 devices she used while Secretary of State. Huma Abedin's computer may well turn out to be the "A Bomb" in the ongoing Clinton email scandal. Now in the hands of the FBI and away from Clinton Inc., one can only hope that it won't be wiped, bleached, or destroyed before an honest evaluation of these emails is undertaken.
The reaction of Hillary and her surrogates to the Comey letter was to demand that the FBI release all of this new information immediately, knowing full well that as part of an ongoing investigation the FBI couldn't legally do that. Calls of Abedin to release these emails are simply absurd since her computer is now in the hands of the FBI. In reality, this is the last thing in the world that the Clinton Campaign would ever want. This would be WikiLeaks on steroids. It is most certainly the case based on prior Clinton emails that many of the emails on this computer contain classified data, as well as other unclassified data about Hillary and Clinton Foundation operations that would be damaging to their case, to say the least. In the best of all possible worlds, for Hillary, none of the emails on Huma's computer will be made public until after the election is over.
Huma Abedin herself is not in an enviable position. It is already evident that she has testified falsely, under oath, about the Clinton emails and devices in her possession. In the non-Clinton world she would be facing charges of obstruction of justice as well as charges for classified material in her possession. Whether the Clinton rules of justice apply here, and Huma is granted immunity or simply let off the hook remains to be seen. Whatever happens to her now will not escape media attention. Before last week Huma saw herself on the yellow brick road to the White House with her best friend Hillary. This no longer seems so certain.
What happens now with Hillary remains a most serious question. Several experts from both parties view the situation as a constitutional crisis and all agree this is uncharted territory. The U.S. has never had a Presidential candidate under criminal investigation by the FBI before. It is almost certain that this continued or reopened investigation will not be concluded prior to the election. If Hillary Clinton is elected it may be the case that the President-elect could be indicted on criminal charges, or subsequent to the inauguration as the sitting President, a situation that has never occurred in the history of the nation.
It is also the case that no matter who wins the Presidential election the matter will not go away, apart from any further action which the FBI and Justice Department may take. At least two Congressional committees - House Oversight and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, will continue to investigate possible violations of mishandling of classified materials by Hillary and her aides for many months to come. At a minimum, Hillary would enter office with the email cloud still hanging over her head.
For decades the Clintons have operated in a world where the rules, regulations and laws that apply to all other Americans didn't apply to them and have been able to get away with it. They managed to dodge or rise above every scandal as if it didn't exist. They were simply invented by Republicans or hostile press to annoy them unfairly. When Hillary Clinton's email scandal erupted in March 2015 it appeared this would simply be business as usual and it would all go away in short order. Over time her various explanations and excuses for use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State were shown to be false and misleading. At best she took refuge in claims that she just couldn't remember.
On balance, it didn't seem to matter, other than to some Republican legislators and Fox News. Claims by some reporters and Donald Trump that there was a high-level "fix" in the case fell on mostly deaf ears and largely disregarded by the mainstream media. After the Comey briefing to the nation in July, which scolded Hillary but closed the criminal case the Clintons, the Justice Department and the White House breathed a welcome sigh of relief. Another scandal for Clinton Inc. had been averted.
Now it just may be the case that the case may not remain fixed. If Director Comey's letter of last Friday was a "bombshell" as reported, it may be nothing compared to the A-Bomb that may yet come from Huma Abedin's computer. For now, Hillary is playing the victim card and blaming any possible wrong on Director Comey. She is wrong. This is a problem of Hillary's own making. If, for once, the Clinton magic fails and it rains on her parade, she has no one else to blame but herself.