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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Reprinted with permission by AlterNet.

So, whatever happened with that FBI investigation of the hacks of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, as well as the email account of John Podesta, chairman of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign? That’s what Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wants to know. Reid claims the bureau is sitting on “explosive information” linking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to the Russian government, which is implicated in those email hacks.

On Friday, FBI director James Comey threw the 2016 presidential race into turmoil with a vague letter sent to the chairmen of eight congressional committees informing them that his agency had located additional emails that may be pertinent to the ongoing investigation of the Democratic presidential nominee’s use of a private email server for conducting government business during her tenure as secretary of state. At the time the letter was delivered, Comey had not yet examined the emails, and he admitted that they might amount to a whole lot of nothin’. (The FBI has since obtained a warrant to seize the newly discovered cache.)

According to Reid, in a letter to Comey on Sunday, the FBI director “possess[es] explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government—a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity.”

Reid continued: “I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public…and yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.”

The latest episode in the Clinton email saga involves the FBI’s investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner of New York for allegedly sexting a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. (Because the alleged crime took place across state lines, it is in the purview of the FBI.) During the course of that investigation, the FBI discovered emails from Clinton aide Huma Abedin on Weiner’s computer. Abedin is married to Weiner, but the two separated after Weiner’s last reported transgression in August, when he texted a woman a photograph of his bulging crotch as his four-year-old son napped in bed next to him.

Yet in a news conference, after news broke of one of the DNC email hacks and alleged Russian involvement in the breach, Trump invited Russia to have at Clinton’s private email server, despite whatever consequences that might portend for U.S. foreign policy. And Trump’s own involvement with Russian interests is well-documented.

In his letter to Comey, Reid also suggests that the nation’s top cop may have violated the Hatch Act, a law that forbids actions by members of the executive branch—including all employees of the federal government—from taking actions that could sway an election.

If legal action is taken against Comey charging a Hatch Act violation, it will create an interesting test of the law, which is more often applied to such situations as federal employees using their work emails for political purposes, or wearing campaign gear to work.

Read more from AlterNet on Donald Trump’s links to Russian figures.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet’s senior Washington editor, and a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

IMAGE: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump points at the gathered media during his walk through at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, U.S., July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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