Friday, January 29, 2016

Anthony Weiner claimed his wife, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, didn't turn over any emails last September

Many media outlets reported that the vice chair for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign turned over approximately 23,000 emails in September of 2015, belatedly, after a federal judge demanded it.

"Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s close personal aide, has turned over 6,714 emails, and 2,533 pages of documents in printed and electronic form, the Obama administration said in a court filing late Friday," Stephen Dinan reported for The Washington Times on September 11, 2015. And on September 19, Dinan reported, "Huma Abedin turned over an estimated 23,000 pages of emails, Philippe Reines gave back 70,000 pages of messages and Cheryl Mills returned somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,870 pages, the Obama administration told Judge Rudolph Contreras in a court filing."

However, according to Anthony Weiner - the Democratic Congressman who infamously resigned from Congress in 2011 after lying about being hacked to cover-up his sexting with multiple women - his wife, former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin didn't turn over any emails last September. Weiner said the emails that all media outlets reported were released by Abedin's lawyer actually came from the State Department, and were part of the original batch of 30,000 pages that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned over in December of 2014. Weiner told me this during a contentious interview I had with him in a hotel bar last October. The 2013 NYC mayoral candidate lost that race after another woman revealed that he had recently sexted her, and he got into a nasty argument with an angry voter in a video that went viral.

In response to Weiner's claims, Michael Bekesha, the Senior Attorney at Judicial Watch, a conservative-leaning "public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption", and has filed over 20 Freedom of Information Act requests related to the Clinton Emails scandal told me in October, "The emails we got are from the government, not directly from the Abedin Camp. We're supposed to get those emails soon, but didn't get any yet."

When asked about metadata which might specifically show where the emails came from, Judicial Watch's Director of Public Affairs Jill Farrell said that "the paper is insufficient." She added that it's "a mystery" where the emails are coming from, since the State Department and the Clinton campaign often give conflicting responses. Whomever is turning over these emails is acting in a "halfway clever" manner, Farrell charged, and - for all everyone actually knows - they "could be coming from Santa Claus."

Weiner - who requested to be anonymous, but lied to my face about other issues, which broke a confidentiality agreement that he had agreed upon - said that it was impossible for Huma Abedin to turn over emails in September, since she no longer had access to the Clinton email server.

As I reported last October I warned Weiner on September 24, 2015, that "unlike other journos....I know that everyone lies and I trust my head and research more than sources..and if I'm lied to or someone leaks something i say or screws me over publicly, the confidentiality is off...but ill give you a chance to respond." On September 28, Weiner said, "[w]e have agreed on rules."

"I made a mistake," Weiner complained in a Direct Message he sent to me after the October 2nd, 2015 hotel bar interview. "I treated you like a reporter who wanted to ask a source questions while respecting a common agreement on what was on the record. In both instances I was wrong and I regret my error."

The relationship between President Barack Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - and their respective camps - has been a curious one, since they hit each other pretty harshly during the 2008 Democratic primary race bidding for the presidential nomination. On September 27, 2015, Hillary Clinton complained to CNN about the "drip-drip-drip" of the release of her emails by the State Department, and many journalists - on the left and right - theorized that the White House was exploiting the scandal so that Vice President Joe Biden could enter the race, if the leading Democratic candidate faltered. Biden decided not to run last October, but Bernie Sanders has been catching up in recent polls, and the email controversy hasn't gone away, and the State Department didn't release all of Clinton's emails that it had agreed to by the end of this month.

In addition, the media rarely reports that the majority of Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton emails were cc'd or sent to government addresses, and, yet, the State Department failed to send those to journalists, media outlets and watchdog groups that have filed FOIA requests since 2013. And many emails that weren't released to Republican committees probing Benghazi and Huma Abedin's controversial special Government employee (SGE) appointment until 2015 also should have been released by the State Department earlier. Huma Abedin also often cc'd her government address on her emails sent from the private Clinton server, as well.

In a phone interview last October, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, in response to all of the above, that the State Department was being "cagey about where these records" were coming from, and that it was a "mystery."

"They haven't said jack about it," Fitton added, but it's "just slick enough for them to try."

A spokesperson for Citizens United, another conservative organization that has sued the State Department over unfulfilled FOIA requests for emails from Hillary Clinton and some of her former staff members, also told me last fall that Weiner might have been telling the truth, based on what I relayed to him.

However, Huma Abedin's lawyer told the court last year that the emails came directly from his client. Miguel Rodriguez ignored an email I sent him on November 15, 2015, asking, among many other questions, "Also, did you specifically turn over Huma Abedin's emails to State Dept. from Huma Abedin as it was reported in September or did those emails come from Clinton?"

Last August, I reported that Rodriguez - who was former Chief Counsel for former New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton from 2005 to 2009 and her Legislative Director from 2008 until 2009 - "communicated directly with [her] during her tenure as secretary of state using her personal email address." State Department sources claimed Miguel "Rodriguez emerged as a behind-the-scenes point person" on the Benghazi scandal when classified hearings were held, and in 2015 was added to 'Super PAC' "seeking eight-figure checks" for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, which most media outlets haven't reported since he took on Huma Abedin as a client. Rodriguez also ducked questions on when Abedin hired him, and who was paying for her legal support. "Did you share anything you learned at classified hearings on Benghazi with anyone else?" I asked Rodrigues in another email he ignored last August.

Weiner became extremely angry when I doubted what he told me, yet it seemed possible - at the time - that Abedin couldn't have directly handed over the emails, since she didn't appear to be using that private account anymore. But he also may have been misinformed or out-of-the-loop.

During our interview on October 2nd, 2015, conducted in a hotel bar a few blocks from Union Square in Manhattan, not far from his apartment, Weiner repeatedly screamed at me, ducked questions by asking me multiple questions instead, said I wasn't a journalist because I asked him questions that nearly every US media outlet had reported as facts but he claimed weren't true (such as his requirement to release his personal financial data when he ran for mayor in 2013 and when his wife requested in 2012 to work part-time at the State Department so that she could stay close to home to take care of their new-born child), and jabbed his finger in my face to prevent me from taking notes. Staff members at the bar felt bad about the way that I was treated by the former Congressman, and one told me that "bad things happen to good people." But the bartender Mr. Weiner knew by name and was very friendly with denied hearing or seeing anything and refused comment.

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