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12.21.16 | Blog Posts

How the Clinton Email Warrant May Have Violated DOJ Policy

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Yesterday at noon, a warrant was unsealed in which a United States Magistrate Judge approved the FBI’s application to search a laptop apparently belonging to Anthony Weiner for any potentially classified emails from Hillary Clinton. Commentators have since raised multiple questions about the warrant, including whether it adequately demonstrated probable cause that Mr. Weiner’s laptop contained evidence of a crime. One question that has not received any attention, however, is whether the DOJ violated its own strict and detailed policy that covers, among other things, search warrants on property belonging to "members of the news media"—a category that surely includes Anthony Weiner, who has worked over the years for multiple news outlets. Had the DOJ followed its own policy, the warrant may never have been approved, or at least may have been delayed until after the election. To the extent the DOJ did not follow its policy, this failure could add substantial fuel to the argument by those who claim that the warrant was a “meritless” attempt by the FBI to influence the 2016 presidential election. [...]

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