Did FBI Break the Law in Seizing Mr. and Mrs Weiner's Laptop?

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  1. My Esoteric profile image91
    My Esotericposted 23 months ago

    Even though FBI Director Comey released a 3 paragraph note, full of innuendo that may make Republican's mouth water, to Congress that they were going to review the emails Possibly contained Anthony and Huma's Shared laptop to see if they Might be related to the Clinton email server case.

    The FBI confiscated the laptop as part of the investigation into Anthony's sexting with a 15-year old.  I presume the confiscation was legal, but that has not been established yet.  BUT, apparently the FBI cannot search the computer relative to Huma without a search warrant to do so, one they are apparently still trying to obtain.

    My question is - how did Comey obtain the HARD information needed for him to violate Justice Department protocol (think Clinton keeping a private email server which violated State Department protocol) and issue what he HAD to know was a highly prejudicial and inflammatory note to Congress just a mere two weeks before the election?  That, to me, smells like playing favorites if not a crime in and of itself.

    What is Comey up to?

    1. wilderness profile image98
      wildernessposted 23 months agoin reply to this

      Certainly seems odd that it is legal to take the laptop, but not legal to examine it.  Like taking a gun (on a search warrant) but not being able to check for powder residue, fingerprints, bullet markings, etc. 

      Not a lawyer at all, but this seems odd.  Almost as odd as Democratic complaints that his letter to congress was a violation of the hatch act, and could affect the election, because he didn't give Democrats prior notice and give them time to formulate an answer and change their strategy...thus affecting the election.
      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/2 … l=facebook

      I haven't been able to unearth anything about his reasoning in giving out the information to congress in the first place at all, though.  That, too, seems odd.  The whole darn thing is almost as odd as a Secretary of State that didn't understand the most basic of security protocols in dealing with emails.

      1. My Esoteric profile image91
        My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

        It should be odd to you, on the one hand we are talking about a 4th Amendment right to privacy in our personal communications; the same principle why you need a warrant to install a wire tap.  In the gun case, no privacy rights are involved so long as the gun was seized legally; failing that the the law has no right to examine the gun and anything found on it is not admissible.

        As far as I know,, Comey only violated State Department policy.  The Hatch Act gets involved only if their was political motivation on Comey's part.  I can see why it is on the table because his act with NO evidence yet could easily be seen as politically motivated.

        As to your last para, like GA said ... I couldn't agree more.

        1. wilderness profile image98
          wildernessposted 23 months agoin reply to this

          There is absolutely nothing in the constitutional amendment about communication.  Just about search and seizure.

          So I repeat: is it unreasonable to examine a computer vs a gun when both are seized per the law?  It doesn't seem so to me.

          1. My Esoteric profile image91
            My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

            Sighhhh, you are a smart guy, Wilderness, I am very surprised you didn't search for accurate information like https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/1 … 2_8l9c.pdf

            You do believe the Supreme Court, don't you?

            1. wilderness profile image98
              wildernessposted 23 months agoin reply to this

              And in neither case was a search warrant available to take the cell phones.

              In my state, an officer may search during a traffic stop for weapons (the rationale is to protect the cop).  But anything else MUST be ignored and may not even be "reasonable cause" to look for anything else.  If a cell phone is found it must be left right where it is.  It might not be (that search for weapons is often used to find other things) but there is a limited time to file for suppression of evidence and few people recognize that.  This is in line with your link: " Digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used as a weapon to harm an arresting officer or to effectuate the arrestee’s escape.
              Officers may examine the phone’s physical aspects to ensure that it will not be used as a weapon, but the data on the phone can endanger no one. "

              So everything here is centered around a lawful seizure of the phone.  The computer WAS lawfully seized, using a warrant, and thus may be examined.

              1. My Esoteric profile image91
                My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

                But the warrant's scope was limited to Anthony Weiner, not his, now, ex-wife Huma.  That is still protected by the 4th Amendment.  That is why the FBI is attempting to get a search warrant.

                1. wilderness profile image98
                  wildernessposted 23 months agoin reply to this

                  I don't think co-owned materials or things require two warrants.  Or two names on the warrant either - marital property requires only one name as I understand it.  And if the computer went to Weiner rather than Huma it was certainly OK to take it.

                  The real question is the legality of taking the computer, and that does not seem in question.

                  1. My Esoteric profile image91
                    My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

                    They did have a warrant due to the Weiner sexting investigation.  But if Huma had a password protected section on the computer, then that is off-limits until they get another warrant that names her specially; that is why they are trying to get one.  Without it, anything they find would be considered "fruit of the poisonous tree".

    2. Credence2 profile image80
      Credence2posted 23 months agoin reply to this

      This Comey fellow has a reputation as an independent maverick type. He himself admits that there is no evidence substantiating Clinton wrongdoing. He is just acknowledging the continuation of an investigation that was supposed to have closed last July.

      So, with the attempt to resurrect a dead horse, Trump now praises the agency that he has been saying was hopelessly corrupt and that in the light of this continued FBI inquiry we should now just appoint him President by fiat?

      Clinton has acknowledged her error in judgement and she isn't the first to have made it. For Trump to play 'MONDAY morning quarterback regarding Clinton's association with the couple, Weiner and his Ex, is disingenuous and most typical on his part.

      1. GA Anderson profile image80
        GA Andersonposted 23 months agoin reply to this

        Sorry bud, but there is no way to avoid this lead-in...

        "Really Credence2, Really?"

        Now you say he is an "... independent maverick-type"? I would bet that a past forum search on this topic will probably find you holding opinions similar to Clinton and Sanders back in July 2016. There were several other sources with varying opinions which reflected candidate Clinton's opinion of him:


        But now you say he is a maverick? Are you saying he can't be trusted? Some highly-visible Democrats are already calling for his head.

        In July he is a virtuous hero and in October he is a Republican tool?

        And then as the last nail... "disingenuous!"

        Ha! Double Ha!! 
        "Really Credence2, Really?" Glass houses and all... "Know what I mean Vern?"

        Generally speaking, and with only the information we currently know, I read Comey's latest move without even considering a personal political motive. I see him saying there is something big coming. Too big to gamble on. It could be something that completely exonerates Hillary. Or it could be something that completely sinks her. 

        But at Comey's level of government, you don't risk this kind of announcement at this time of the election on some maybe, or could-be scenario.

        GA

        1. Credence2 profile image80
          Credence2posted 23 months agoin reply to this

          Sakes, I thought that you would be showering me with praise for my clear headed objectivity? Much of that is lacking from the other side, particularely in this case.

          The fact that he is an independent maverick is just an adjective and I do not make light of this in a negative way. I was very careful not to associate any political motive, one way or the other in regards to Comer's actions.

          I didn't say that he could not be trusted. He may just be an overzealous 'Duddly-do-Right'.

          The problem is that without a definitive finding on his part, Comer is just stirring up a cauldron of stew, with no 'beef' to be found. He has got nothing new, so what is the point?

          As far as your last paragraph, that synopsizes my view in its entirety.

          1. GA Anderson profile image80
            GA Andersonposted 23 months agoin reply to this

            Well, I guess you could be innocent in your choice, but... considering the context, it could be easy to feel an inference:
            "... a reputation as an independent maverick type. ... admits that there is no evidence substantiating Clinton wrongdoing.  ... acknowledging the continuation of an investigation ... that was supposed to have closed last July.

            But, no.

            As for our similar view. Consider also that he did it with a Friday news dump. He knows it will blow-up, he knows the only additional info over the weekend will be leaks, ie. the Weiner connection, and he knows he will have to provide some answers Monday or Tuesday. The timing and public demand will force that. So why would a smart man put himself in such a position for anything but the obvious reason; the don't-say-anything-yet, choice is a worse gamble.

            That seems pretty logical to me. And it makes sense from my perspective. We just don't know what he is gambling on... yet.

            GA

            1. My Esoteric profile image91
              My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

              What Comey has done is set himself up for a violation of the Hatch act per President Bush's ethics lawyer who have requested an investigation.  Part of the article referenced below says

              "Of course, only Comey knows what his intent was. But Richard W. Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005-07 (during the George W. Bush Administration), argued in a New York Times op-ed on Sunday that Comey's intent can be inferred from the absence of a good reason for sending the letter.
              Harry Reid: Comey may have violated the Hatch Act
              Harry Reid: Comey may have violated the Hatch Act
              "Absent extraordinary circumstances that might justify it, a public communication about a pending F.B.I. investigation involving a candidate that is made on the eve of an election is . . . very likely to be a violation of the Hatch Act and a misuse of an official position," Painter wrote."

              http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/31/politics/ … index.html

              And then a bunch of ex-federal prosecutors blasted Comey: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/31/politics/ … index.html

              Finally, last night through my own analysis that Clinton has 272 electoral votes from States (and D.C.) where she holds a 5 point or more advantage.  Of those, the only two really at play are Colorado and North Carolina.  In other words, she doesn't need the other battleground states at the moment.

              1. GA Anderson profile image80
                GA Andersonposted 23 months agoin reply to this

                My Esoteric, It almost sounds like you are looped into the talking points circuit.

                Just looking at the basics; You spoke of your research on Comey, does his history make you think he is dumb? Even my quick look told me he isn't. The other choice is that you think he is a partisan operator. I didn't see that either. And back in July neither did you.

                I bet he knew of the Hatch Act too. Do you think Reed is anything more than the party attack dog? Do you rank Reed's integrity and character above Comey's?

                Yet, even considering that, you now present points and perspectives that attribute one, or both of the above failings to him. Hmm... ...shoot the messenger?

                GA

                ps. I hope your Comey analysis was different than you electoral vote analysis.

            2. Credence2 profile image80
              Credence2posted 23 months agoin reply to this

              More information seems to have revealed a dangerous rightwing tendency found in Mr. Comer. I find it hard to believe that Obama could have missed bringing in a Trojan horse among those of his most trusted circle.

              If I were Comer, I would consider it my obligation to follow the evidence regardless of where it led. But he could have been damned either way, if he did find something in the conversations and e-mail texts and did not report it he could have been accused of covering it up for political purposes. As there is now another vein of inquiry not considered last July, he has to pursue the course and if there were a bombshell everybody would know in advance that the matter was still under investigation.

              He was alarmist for making continued investigation appear that Clinton must be guilty of something. He should not be making hay until he had proof. I could be wrong about Comer, he could, in fact, have an agenda for all this. I was giving him the benefit of the doubt believing that Obama would not have someone in his inner circle who was hostile toward him in this way.

              You once asked me the same question about Trump, how could a man with so much financial acumen, be so stupid and ham handed in the way he campaigns? I answer that there are many kinds and sorts of 'smarts'. It is rare for any of us to have the market cornered on all of them. For every strength, there is usually a corresponding weakness.

        2. My Esoteric profile image91
          My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

          Actually GA, is history within the Justice Department as a straight-shooting maverick is one reason why Obama appointed him.

          Since no search warrant has been obtained yet, and certainly not before he informed Congress of his intentions, to read ANY of the content that is on the laptop relating to Huma (which another story I read implied she is telling the FBI to search all they want) then there is nothing BIG that he could find which would warrant his actions.  THAT is what makes what he did so Damn suspicious.

          There is no believable reason that he had cause to reveal to the general public something that should have been kept internal to the FBI until they actually knew something.  I have been a Strong supporter of Comey, but this breach of both Justice Dept and FBI policy now I need to reevaluate it.

          1. GA Anderson profile image80
            GA Andersonposted 23 months agoin reply to this

            Hello My Esoteric, I only did a quick Google search, so your information must have gone deeper than mine because I did not find any Comey as a maverick descriptions. Credence2's use, (and now talking points?), was the first time I heard it applied to Comey.


            To your "search warrants" and "Huma" points. Isn't that just speculation at this time?

            But there is a bright side. I can wholeheartedly disagree with you about there being "no believable reason" for his actions. I can see at least two. And they are both big, and believable. I don'ty think we will have to wait long to find out which of us is right.

            GA

            1. My Esoteric profile image91
              My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

              Here is the gist of it http://theweek.com/articles/463795/jame … fbi-chief, but I read that said essentially the same as this, but did more characterization of Comey as a maverick.

              I don't deny something could blow in Clinton's face, but what have you seen other than the innuendo in his note to Congress.  Why are the Clintons AND Huma pushing for Comey to release what he knows rather than stir the political pot.  That is why I am so suspicious of Comey's motivations.

              What he did smacks of the worst of Trump.  Once we find out more, then I can decide if Comey has lost my respect for him; much of it based on the articles like the one I offered.

            2. MizBejabbers profile image91
              MizBejabbersposted 23 months agoin reply to this

              GA and ME, I did find a description that, while it didn't call him a maverick, it came close. It was in an excerpt from Sunday's edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
              George Terwilliger III, a deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush made a statement which ended in "Those guidelines exist for a reason ...There's a difference between being independent and flying solo."

              I might add that this newspaper leans Republican and many times we joke that it is the Arkansas "Republican" Gazette, so I was surprised to see some unbiased reporting because this story was a compilation of wire stories and staff.

              Carry on, my friends, I have no other comments at this point.

              1. My Esoteric profile image91
                My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

                Interesting find, MizB.  What I find is this has now gone beyond the Ds being pissed at Comey.  Many Republicans are as well, especially those ex-officials in the Justice Department, including the ethics lawyer for President George Bush who has just filed a request for an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel, who has responsibility for Hatch Act violations, and the Office of Governmental Ethics.

    3. FitnezzJim profile image82
      FitnezzJimposted 23 months agoin reply to this

      This whole thing is confusing, and it appears that hypothetical sleuthing based on using bad assumptions as a starting point has led the various discussions in the wrong direction.  The two triggers to this whole discussion contain no mention of Anthony Wiener or his laptop, and no mention of Ms. Abedin.  The references are:
      http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/28/politics/ … committee/

      and

      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016 … etter.html

      The references to a Wiener laptop and what might be found there come from other sources conjecturing a possible link, as reported by the New York Times, the Associated Press, and Yahoo News.  Is there any reference where either the FBI, DoJ, or other law enforcement agency has indicated that the ‘emails that have been recently been found in an unrelated case’ are in fact related to the sexting investigation?

      Lacking that, it appears that the connection offered by groups seeks solely to increase their readership, and has no factual basis.

      Can we wait until we know what this other source is before declaring "bad FBI, no donuts for you?"

      1. My Esoteric profile image91
        My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

        That is not the point.  Given the massive equivocation Comey put in his note to Congress that Says He Knows Nothing Yet" warrants him to sending the note in the first place; this is unique in FBI history.

  2. Live to Learn profile image79
    Live to Learnposted 23 months ago

    When it first came out I raised an eyebrow since it appeared to be conveniently problematic for Clinton. But, I think Comey was in a damned if you do, dammed if you don't position. If it came out after the election it would look worse. Like a cover up.

    Fear not. It will have no effect on the elections. Even if declared guilty of murder she wouldn't lose but a vote or two.

    1. My Esoteric profile image91
      My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

      Comey volunteered for that position by being what I believe to be either Hubris or paranoia and probably partisan.  He SHOULD NOT have said anything until he knew some real facts ... which he does not right now by his own admission.

      No, you are paraphrasing one of Trump's lines about himself.

      1. Live to Learn profile image79
        Live to Learnposted 23 months agoin reply to this

        Since I haven't bothered to follow much on trump you'll have to tell me which I am paraphrasing.

        And, I disagree. I might have agreed had the Justice Department not previously given such an appearance of bias. Were I in Comey's shoes I might have done the same. The entire thing previously reeked of suspicious favoritism I wouldn't have wanted to appear tainted by it anymore than I already had been, either.

        No, his best and most honest move was the one he took.

        1. My Esoteric profile image91
          My Esotericposted 23 months agoin reply to this

          That would be ... http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2016 … ng-sot.cnn

          His "most honest move" has a high potential for making him a laughing stock given Clinton, Huma (who , Podesta, the rest of the Clinton campaign have said ""The American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately. It's imperative that the bureau explain this issue in question, whatever it is, without any delay..."  And both Democrats AND Republicans are pressing for the same thing. 

          Why is Comey so silent after stupidly stirring the pot.  If there was something, why is the Clinton campaign asking for full transparency from Comey, something he has willing supplied before, but not now?

          1. Live to Learn profile image79
            Live to Learnposted 23 months agoin reply to this

            I didn't watch your link. Sorry. Since I haven't watched or read anything on Trump as far as this goes if I've paraphrased it is nothing more than a coincidence.

            I would think we would get the facts as soon as they are available. Of course everyone wants that to happen. Before the election, preferably.

  3. Andi Ka Setyawan profile image60
    Andi Ka Setyawanposted 23 months ago

    Yes, i aggree your speak

 
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