Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
During the course of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the FBI never requested the computers and smartphones used by the former secretary of state’s top staffers for official government business, Politico reported.
Republican lawmakers are now expressing new concerns about the initial investigation and want to know why FBI officials didn’t demand — or at least ask for — the aides’ electronic devices.
“No one was asked for devices by the FBI,” a “source familiar with the investigation” told Politico.
More from the report:
The decision left the FBI at least partially dependent on the aides' attorneys' decisions about which messages were work-related and therefore might have contained classified information the agents were looking for. Those messages were turned over to State in response to its request last year.
Republicans have argued for months that the FBI, federal prosecutors or both, treated witnesses in the Clinton probe with unusual deference. The GOP appears to have stepped up that argument in recent days.
In a letter Monday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley complained that the FBI appeared to have avoided the use of traditional investigative tools in the Clinton probe.
“If the FBI is denied the ability to gather evidence through compulsory means, Secretary Clinton and her aides have enormous leverage to negotiate extraordinary concessions in exchange for voluntary cooperation,” Grassley wrote. “It is critical for the public to know whether the FBI has requested from the Justice Department vital investigative tools such as grand jury subpoenas and search warrants and whether it has been denied access to them.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told Politico that the more that is learned about the FBI’s initial investigation "the more questions we have about the thoroughness of the investigation and the administration’s conclusion to not prosecute her for mishandling classified information.”
Republicans’ claims of a shallow investigation into Clinton’s private email use were emboldened last week when the FBI announced it was relaunching the probe after thousands of new emails were discovered on a laptop shared by Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.
Abedin swore under oath she turned over all the devices she thought might have State Department emails. However, it seems she was never formally asked to turn over all of her electronic devices by law enforcement officials.