WASHINGTON (AP) — A top aide to Hillary Clinton did not forward “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop as FBI Director James Comey recently testified to Congress, and never sent anything that was marked classified, according to a person familiar with the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Comey, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, provided new details about the email server investigation and his reason for alerting Congress just before Election Day to the new discovery of emails on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner. The congressman, whose laptop was searched by the FBI as part of a sexting investigation, separated last year from Huma Abedin, the Clinton aide.
The apparent misstatements come on the heels of criticism Comey faced last year for public comments during the election season, including his assertion during a July news conference at FBI headquarters that Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information.
At an oversight hearing last week, he was also challenged on statements made to Congress in the final days before the election when he alerted lawmakers to the discovery of new emails that he said were potentially connected to the Clinton email case and would need to be reviewed. The FBI contacted Congress on the Sunday before Election Day and said its email review had turned up nothing to change its original recommendation against prosecution.
In explaining those decisions, Comey told Congress that the FBI was interested in Weiner’s laptop because agents could see that there thousands of emails on the device, including what they thought might be “the missing e-mails from her first three months of Secretary of State.”
He said Abedin had a “regular practice” of forwarding emails to the laptop to be printed out for Clinton, saying at one point that “hundreds and thousands” had been forwarded, including some containing classified information.
“My understanding is that his role would be to print them out as a matter of convenience,” Comey said.
But a person familiar with the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to discuss the testimony publicly, said that that was not Abedin’s regular practice and that none of the emails that she did forward to Weiner’s laptop were classified at the time.
Comey said the FBI had concluded that neither Weiner nor Abedin had committed a crime in their handling of email.
With respect to Abedin, he said, “we didn’t have any indication that she had a sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. Couldn’t prove any sort of criminal intent.”
The FBI had no immediate comment Tuesday.
The committee said it had not been contacted by the FBI about whether it intended to correct the record.
“If any clarifications need to be made, we would expect Director Comey to follow his previous practice of publicly updating the Committee with new information or clarifications to ensure that his testimony made under oath is accurate,” Taylor Foy, a spokesman for Rep. Chuck Grassley, the committee chairman, said in a statement.
“Regardless, Director Comey promised briefings for Committee members on matters that he was not able to discuss in a public forum, and Chairman Grassley is eager for the FBI to provide that information.