Everyone and his dog has theories on how Weiner got the Abedin/Clinton emails and what their significance is. I’m no different. Here’s my speculative take.
What I suspect happened was this. Abedin had a laptop onto which she installed an email program (e.g. MS Outlook) that stored all her emails from all sources (yahoo, clintonemail.com, state.gov etc.). At some point she got a new laptop and she gave this one to her hubby. Unfortunately she failed to clean up her personal files properly when she did so. This is easy to screw up. In many cases simply deleting the files in a user’s “Documents” folder and similar is insufficient as email programs tend to store their files in various application directories and in fact it can be hard to delete these directories since they are hidden to the casual user. Hence I suspect Abedin simply deleted the obvious files, uninstalled office/outlook and let Weiner have the computer. This seems to be consistent with CNN’s account.
However even if she did a clean reinstall, that may not have actually deleted the data but rather just left the mailbox files lying around in “free space” that never got overwritten by whatever Weiner used the computer for. The FBI are of course interested in what Weiner may have been trying to hide so they would of course be looking for deleted files or files that do. It wouldn’t take too long for a search of free space to find a mailbox file.
An alternative explanation is that she borrowed Weiner’s laptop to login to her user/email account(s) and in the process setup a stub user directory on the computer with her credentials. As part of the stub, if she left the mail program running long enough, it is quite likely it would download a cache of her emails. This could explain the “syncing” reports that claim the FBI downloaded Abedin’s emails from “the cloud” sometime in October.
Either way exactly how the emails ended up there is potentially irrelevant. While there are undoubtedly some potential Fourth Ammendment issues, I suspect that the FBI can make a convincing case that they accidentally found some initial evidence and then got a warrant before starting the full investigation. Hence they’ve got this evidence in a clean manner that neatly sidesteps any prior deals with Clinton and her hangers on. So this means they can look at this evidence and determine who may have been improperly handling classified documents.
Almost certainly Huma Abedin herself is toast, unless she gets immunity and shops her boss. Based the way way she appears to be Clinton’s 金魚のうんこ it seems unlikely that she’ll do that and hence I assume she’ll be hoping for an Obama pardon as the only way to avoid conviction. If she doesn’t do time, she will be utterly dependent on the goodness of Clinton and/or other Democrat pols to make any sort of living.
There are likely to be emails to/from other members of the Clinton inner circle (e.g. Cheryl Mills). If these emails show that Mills was conspiring to evade security or records retention laws, which I suspect is highly likely based on the way she negotiated with the FBI in the original probe, then this could well cause her to also have to face the Abedin dilemma of hope for a pardon or do time.
While it probably won’t matter in a Clinton presidency, there’s the possibility that Obama and/or close White House aides provably send classified emails to Clinton and/or Abedin. In a Trump presidency this could lead to all sorts of people facing time.
If some of those emails are from Clinton (or forwarded by her) and contain classified data then that will be clear additional evidence that Clinton did indeed handle such data laxly and that she is unfit for any office that requires her to handle such data. If she’s elected then this is probably moot in terms of actual criminal proceedings, but as additional details emerge – and they will – the ability of Clinton to govern, or even be trusted, is likely to drop to the basement.
If these revelations lead to a Trump presidency then I’m fairly sure that he will actually empower a special prosecutor or similar to charge all those concerned. This will of course cause howls of outrage from all left thinking sources – such as the MSM – who will talk about how this sets a bad precedent for future transitions of power. However one can expect all the right thinking sources to point out that failure to prosecute such egregious law-breaking also sets a bad precedent for the future and is hypocritical to boot.