As federal agents prepare to scour roughly 650,000 emails to see how many relate to a prior probe of Hillary Clinton’s email use, the surprise disclosure that investigators were pursuing the potential new evidence lays bare building tensions inside the bureau and the Justice Department over how to investigate the Democratic presidential nominee.
Metadata found on the laptop used by former Rep. Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin, a close Clinton aide, suggests there may be thousands of emails sent to or from the private server that Mrs. Clinton used while she was secretary of state, according to people familiar with the matter. It will take weeks, at a minimum, to determine whether those messages are work-related from the time Ms. Abedin served with Mrs. Clinton at the State Department; how many are duplicates of emails already reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and whether they include either classified information or important new evidence in the Clinton email probe.
The FBI has had to await a court order to begin reviewing the emails, because they were uncovered in an unrelated probe of Mr. Weiner.
The new investigative effort, disclosed by FBI Director James Comey on Friday, shows a bureau at times in sharp internal disagreement over matters related to the Clintons, and how to handle those matters fairly and carefully in the middle of a national election campaign. Even as the previous probe of Mrs. Clinton’s email use wound down in July, internal disagreements within the bureau and the Justice Department surrounding the Clintons’ family philanthropy heated up, according to people familiar with the matter.