Clinton Left Classified Documents in China Hotel Room, Lawmaker Charges

Hillary Clinton
AP

Hillary Clinton left behind classified documents in a hotel room in China during her tenure as secretary of state, a leading U.S. lawmaker wrote in a letter to FBI Director James Comey this week seeking more information about the bureau's ongoing probe into Clinton's private email use.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, wrote in a letter sent Monday that he learned that "Clinton left classified documents in her hotel room in China and that U.S. Marine Corps security officials filed a report related to the possible compromise of the documents."

Nunes did not offer more details about the revelation. A congressional aide told the Washington Free Beacon that the committee is making additional inquiries about the allegation.

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Nunes, who also cited publicly-released documents indicating that Clinton aides left classified documents in Russia and India, asked the FBI director to disclose how many incidents the bureau uncovered during which Clinton or her aides "mishandled hard-copy classified documents while overseas" and how those revelations affected the decision not to recommend charges in the case.

"According to an interview summary released in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, an aide to former Secretary Clinton was counseled by Diplomatic Security officers because she brought Clinton's classified briefing book into a hotel room in Russia and a classified document from the briefing book was left in the hotel room after her departure," Nunes wrote.

"Additionally, an email released in response to a FOIA request describes Huma Abedin asking another staffer to remove ‘burn stuff,' that Abedin had left in a car during a trip to India," he wrote.

Nunes wants to know whether any classified documents mishandled by Clinton or aides overseas included information from elements of the U.S. intelligence community, and, if so, what their classification levels were. The lawmaker also asked the FBI to provide any "damage assessments" that the FBI or any of the 17 federal intelligence agencies performed as a result of the incidents.

Comey said in July that, while the investigation found Clinton and her aides to have been "extremely careless" in their handling of classified information, he would not recommend charges be pursued by the Justice Department.

However, Comey notified Congress on Friday that the bureau was revisiting its investigation into Clinton's email after discovering new emails "pertinent" to the case. News later broke that the emails were discovered in connection with federal and local officials' investigation into allegations that Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, was sending sexually explicit text messages to a 15-year-old girl.

Nunes, who demanded a response from the FBI by Wednesday, is seeking more information about the ongoing probe, citing reports that the bureau has seized one or more devices from Weiner that contain 650,000 emails, including messages sent or received by Abedin. He asked how many of the messages "contain metadata showing they were sent to or from former Secretary Clinton's private server."

He also asked Comey to confirm the date that Weiner's devices were seized by FBI agents and when he, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch learned of the existence of the new emails relevant to the investigation.

Nunes wrote that he was told agents investigating Weiner took the devices sometime in mid-September, weeks before Comey was reportedly briefed of the relevance of the newly-uncovered emails.

Nunes also sought more information about the involvement of McCabe, the FBI deputy director, in the investigation. McCabe, who helped oversee the Clinton email investigation, came under fire after the Wall Street Journal reported last month that a political group linked to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally, donated nearly half a million dollars to the 2015 election campaign of McAbe's wife. The Journal report was published at a time when the Clinton investigation was thought to be completed, and was met with questions about why McCabe chose not to recuse himself from the email probe.

Nunes asked Comey whether McCabe has now recused himself from the investigation into Clinton's email practices, demanding an explanation if he has not.

The Clinton campaign, which did not respond to a request for comment, has criticized Comey for notifying Congress of the development in the investigation so close to the presidential election. The campaign has demanded that the FBI release more details about the newly-discovered emails.

Recent polls have showed the race tightening between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, as the former secretary of state has endured scrutiny as a result of the FBI probe and revelations from emails released by WikiLeaks from campaign chair John Podesta.