The Slatest

A Day After Explosive Letter, FBI Still Didn’t Have Warrant to Read “New” Clinton Emails

Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twenty-four hours after FBI Director James Comey shook up the presidential race with a letter to lawmakers revealing it had discovered emails that could be related to its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, investigators still hadn’t been able to read any of the material. As of Saturday night, the FBI and the Justice Department were still in discussions about obtaining a warrant to let agency officials read the emails that were found on the laptop of disgraced former lawmaker Anthony Weiner, according to Yahoo News reporter Michael Isikoff.

“We do not have a warrant,” a senior law enforcement official said. “Discussions are under way [between the FBI and the Justice Department] as to the best way to move forward.” Isikoff’s reporting echoes stories published by both Bloomberg and CBS News that said the FBI had still not been able to secure a warrant to examine the emails by Saturday afternoon.

Although Donald Trump and some of his supporters have suggested that Comey wouldn’t have sent the letter if he didn’t at least have a hint that the information was significant, the truth is he has no clue. When he wrote the letter, “he had no idea what was in the content of the emails,” an official tells Isikoff.

Clinton doubled down on her aggressive response to Comey on Saturday night, calling the FBI director’s behavior “deeply troubling” as she continued to demand he release more information about the potentially incriminating material. “It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” Clinton said. “It’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented and it’s deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts.”

Other Democrats also joined in on the demands for more information, with four U.S. senators calling on Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Comey to provide more details by Monday to minimize any impact on the presidential campaign. The Congressional Black Caucus also demanded more information at a press conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.