Hillary Clinton‘s new campaign memoir, What Happened, takes readers behind the scenes of the tearful October 2016 moment when she and top aide Huma Abedin first learned that the FBI was continuing its previously closed investigation into the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server.
It was Oct. 28, 2016, just 11 days before the November election, and Clinton and Abedin were on a flight en route to a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, when news broke of then-FBI Director James Comey’s “October surprise” — a letter to eight congressional committees announcing that the FBI had uncovered emails that appeared to be “pertinent” to the Clinton email probe on a laptop belonging to Abedin’s then-estranged husband, disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.
Weiner was at the time embroiled in yet another sexting scandal, and his inappropriate exchanges with a minor were the subject of an FBI investigation. (The former congressman is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor.)
“When we heard this Huma looked stricken,” Clinton wrote in her book, out Tuesday. “Anthony had already caused so much heartache. And now this. ‘This man is going to be the death of me,’ [Huma] said, bursting into tears.”
Clinton now recalls giving the vice chair of her 2016 campaign a hug to comfort her. “After more than 20 years working with Huma, I think the world of her and seeing her in such distress broke my heart,” Clinton said of Abedin, who filed for divorce from Weiner in May.
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Comey’s announcement upended Clinton’s campaign at a crucial time, and prompted speculation that the former secretary of state might cut ties with her longtime right-hand woman after the episode.
But Clinton officially quashed those rumors in her book, writing: “Some people thought I should fire Huma or ‘distance myself.’ Not a chance.”
“She had done nothing wrong and was an invaluable member of my team,” Clinton added. “I stuck by her the same way she has always stuck by me.”
After “nine days of turmoil” for Clinton, and just 36 hours before election day, Comey announced there was nothing new in this batch of emails and that the FBI would not seek charges against the Democratic nominee.
“Well, great. Too little, too late,” Clinton wrote in What Happened. “The rest is history.”