Legal experts were left in disbelief on Tuesday after the pre-election warrant that damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign was unsealed, showing that there was no justification for steps taken by the FBI just days before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
According to reporting by USA TODAY, the lawyer who requested that the document be released –Randy Schoenberg – says there is “nothing at all” to justify the bureau’s pre-election behavior.
More from the report:
“I see nothing at all in the search warrant application that would give rise to probable cause, nothing that would make anyone suspect that there was anything on the laptop beyond what the FBI had already searched and determined not to be evidence of a crime, nothing to suggest that there would be anything other than routine correspondence between” Clinton and Abedin, Schoenberg said in an email to USA TODAY. It remains unknown “why they thought they might find evidence of a crime, why they felt it necessary to inform Congress, and why they even sought this search warrant,” he said. “I am appalled.”
Not only were the FBI’s pre-election actions unprecedented in that the bureau was publicly discussing an ongoing investigation, but it turns out the investigation itself was bogus and there really was no probable cause to begin with.
What’s worse, as USA TODAY noted, is that while the FBI, led by James Comey, was inexplicably blowing smoke about Clinton’s emails while Americans were deciding who to cast their vote for, Comey was aware of evidence that Russia was engaging in cyber attacks against the Democratic Party, which ultimately hurt Clinton and helped Donald Trump eek out a victory.
Former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon quickly responded to the news via Twitter:
The unsealed filings regarding Huma’s emails reveals Comey’s intrusion on the election was as utterly unjustified as we suspected at time
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) December 20, 2016
While it’s always been disturbing that Russia – a foreign power – interfered with our electoral process in a meaningful way, it’s particularly troubling that our own institutions were also taking steps that directly impacted the outcome of a presidential election.
It remains to be seen whether the actions by the FBI were the result of incompetence or if they were an effort by the bureau to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.