New Clinton scandal memos confirm FBI stalled a month to search Weiner's laptop

Former FBI agent Peter Strzok prioritized the now largely defunct Trump-Russia investigation over the Clinton email investigation during the final months of the 2016 presidential election

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Former FBI official Peter Strzok
Former FBI official Peter Strzok
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
Last Updated:
March 28, 2020 - 11:26pm

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The FBI waited a month between the time it discovered Hillary Clinton emails on disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop and obtaining a search warrant – as Clinton and Donald Trump were entering the closing weeks of their tight 2016 White House race, according to newly obtained records by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The documents are communications between former FBI official Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, who exchanged emails during the 2016 race that suggested they did not support Trump becoming president.

Weiner, at the time the emails were discovered, was married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The emails were purportedly from when Clinton was Secretary of State. The Justice Department was already investigating Clinton using a private server to send official State Department information. 

"These new records show how Hillary Clinton was protected from investigation over the Weiner laptop by the FBI for a full month during the presidential campaign ... No wonder the FBI is slow rolling the release of these documents," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. 

Judicial Watch obtained the records through a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. 

Concerns about Strzok's bias during this time were also addressed in the June 2018 Justice Department Inspector General report from Michael Horowitz. 

"[W]e 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," read the report. 

"Midyear Exam" was the FBI code name given to the Clinton email investigation.

The newly uncovered documents also confirm that Strzok pushed around several emails to colleagues that were laundered media stories connecting the Trump campaign to efforts by Russia to meddle in the White House race. Among the stories was the widely debunked article that Slate ran alleging that the Trump campaign had set up a system of communication with Russia during the 2016 election cycle using covert servers.