NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former U.S. congressman, has emerged as an unexpected figure in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's inquiry into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified government information on a private email server she used while secretary of state.
The FBI said on Friday it is examining newly discovered emails related to the server investigation, giving new life to a scandal less than two weeks before Clinton stands as the Democratic candidate in the U.S. presidential election.
The FBI called Clinton's handling of government secrets "extremely careless" in July after a year-long investigation, but recommended against criminal charges. FBI agents have now found emails on devices belonging to Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's closest aides, and Weiner, Abedin's estranged husband, according to unnamed law enforcement officials.
A Brooklyn native, Weiner, 52, represented parts of New York City in the U.S. House of Representatives for more than a decade, and his marriage to Abedin was officiated by Bill Clinton, the former U.S. president and Hillary Clinton's husband. Weiner was best known for his fiery speeches and acerbic, combative wit until 2011, when he was forced to step down after he posted a photograph of his crotch on Twitter. He admitted the picture was a private communication made public by mistake, and that he had been exchanging sexually charged pictures and messages with multiple women.
After atoning in press interviews for the strain he placed on his marriage with Abedin, Weiner re-entered public life in 2013 as a candidate for mayor of New York City. The city's voters for a while embraced his comeback, and he was atop the public polls when revelations broke he had never shaken his sexting habit. He admitted he had continued to swap messages and pictures with women using the alias Carlos Danger.
Abedin, who has worked for Clinton since she was 19, decided against joining her husband at the polling booth on the day of Weiner's loss in the mayoral race, but remained married to him as they raised their young son together.
While a diminished Weiner worked as a television commentator, Abedin, who had left the State Department with Clinton in 2013, focused on Clinton's forthcoming presidential campaign, for which she was appointed vice chairwoman. Clinton rarely appears in public without Abedin somewhere nearby. Multilingual, intensely private and with a glamour validated by Vogue magazine photo shoots, Abedin became a star in her own right as Clinton campaigned across the country, obliging countless requests by Clinton supporters to pose for their smartphone cameras.
No, and this year it reached a breaking point. In August, Abedin announced she was separating from Weiner after a newspaper published a picture Weiner sent to a woman of him lounging on his bed in his underwear; Weiner's and Abedin's four-year-old son could be seen at his side.
The FBI began investigating after it emerged that one of his sexting partners was 15 years old, a legal minor. The agency seized devices used by both Weiner and Abedin, finding the new email cache soon after. Investigators are looking to see if yet more classified information appears in the new cache.
Yes. Clinton's Republican rival for the presidency has devoted his last few rallies to reveling in the news, a diversion from accusations by multiple women that Trump groped them. Clinton, who remains ahead in public polls, argued on Friday that most voters may have already decided whether or not Clinton's mishandling of classified information in her emails is disqualifying.
Clinton has called Abedin, 40, a surrogate daughter, and the aide was at Clinton's side even after the news broke on Friday. Her loyalty to Clinton is unmistakable in the hundreds of emails of hers that have already been made public. Abedin has spent more than two decades accruing knowledge of Clinton's habits, preferences, scheduling and alliances, and may be viewed as irreplaceable.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Leslie Adler and Mary Milliken