The election countdown clock is running out, and one of Hillary Clinton‘s most trusted operatives is nowhere to be seen — but why?
Huma Abedin has quietly stepped away from the campaign trail in the wake of news that the emails now being scrutinized by the FBI in conjunction with the closed investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server were retrieved from estranged husband Anthony Weiner‘s computer.
Absent since late Friday — the day FBI Director James Comey released news of the bureau’s additional “investigative steps” into Clinton’s controversial emails — Abedin has now been left off trips to Florida, as well as Kent State University and Cincinnati, reported USA Today.
The 40-year-old aide has worked closely with the Democratic nominee for years, first serving under the then-first lady’s Chief of Staff Maggie Williams as a White House intern in 1996. Four years later, Abedin became a backup aide and then advisor to Clinton during her bid for Senate. When Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, Abedin was her deputy chief of staff.
Comey’s Friday letter to Congress said new evidence that emerged from a separate investigation seemed “to be pertinent” in the Clinton email probe. It was soon after revealed that the secondary investigation involved Weiner’s alleged sexting communications with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl.
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In a statement released Monday night, Abedin’s attorney Karen Dunn said that her client was unaware that the emails were on a computer that belonged to disgraced former congressman and New York City mayoral candidate Weiner.
“From the beginning, Ms. Abedin has complied fully and voluntarily with State Department and law enforcement requests, including sitting for hours-long interviews and providing her work-related and potentially work-related documents,” Dunn said. “She only learned for the first time on Friday, from press reports, of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain emails of hers. While the FBI has not contacted us about this, Ms. Abedin will continue to be, as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative.”
Abedin, herself, has not spoken publicly since the revelation. However, law enforcement sources told CNN that FBI officials expect to interview Abedin in conjunction with the new emails. She previously testified in a June 2016 deposition that she turned over all devices she thought contained work related to the State Department, reported Fox News.
Despite Abedin’s noticeable absence from the campaign since last week, Hillary for America Chairman John Podesta told CNN on Sunday that she is still serving in her same position.
Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, for one, is savoring Abedin’s role in the new FBI review. At a Grand Rapids, Michigan, rally this week, Trump said sarcastically, “Thank you, Huma. Good job, Huma.”
He added, “This is the biggest scandal since Watergate.”