FBI agents interviewed Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin in December 2016, more than a month after the official close of the Clinton email probe and much more recently than previously believed.
The Washington Post reports that agents were interested in how Abedin and Clinton emails wound up on a laptop used by Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner.
The FBI discovered Abedin and Clinton emails on the laptop while conducting an investigation into Weiner’s contact with an underaged girl in September 2016. The Clinton email probe, which had been closed in July 2016, was reopened on Oct. 28. It was closed again on Nov. 6, two days before the election, after FBI officials determined that none of the emails on the laptop would warrant criminal charges.
Agents considered their investigation complete but they wanted to find out whether Abedin should have disclosed the laptop emails sooner, according to The Post. She was considered a witness in the initial investigation, rather than a target. That didn’t change after the interview, which was conducted around Christmas 2016, as investigators found no reason to charge the longtime Clinton aide.
An interview with Abedin was hinted at in text messages exchanged between former FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
As The Daily Caller News Foundation first reported in February, Strzok told Page on Dec. 13, 2016 about a conversation he had with the Department of Justice about an interview with Abedin.
“Told them we had to interview, no immunity,” he wrote.
“They said they thought that would get counsel to the point of saying she’s either taking the 5th in the [grand jury] or you need to give her immunity. I said that’s fine, please have discussions to get the decision to that point and I would run it up the chain.”
The Post confirmed that an interview did occur but that no immunity was granted.
“There was never any suggestion by the government that Huma had done anything wrong,” Karen Dunn, Abedin’s lawyer, told The Post.
“To the contrary, she was told that her full and voluntary cooperation as a witness in their investigation was appreciated. Having done her part to assist the government, Huma is a private citizen now and should be left to live her life in peace.”
Abedin was first interviewed as part of the Clinton email investigation in April 2016. As one of the top FBI investigators on the probe, Strzok conducted the interview along with Justice Department lawyer David Laufman.
In the interview, Abedin may have given misleading statements about when she first learned about Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state. Emails showed that Abedin was aware of Clinton’s server use, yet she said in the FBI interview that she did not learn that Clinton used a private server until after they left the State Department.
Cheryl Mills, another Clinton aide, also denied knowing about the server while at the State Department. But Mills was also included on email exchanges where the server was discussed. Mills, unlike Abedin, received partial immunity from the Justice Department. She also served as Clinton’s attorney.