On 1 November 2016, multiple clickbait web sites shared stories with headlines that seemed to be purposely misleading, outright claiming that the New York Police Department had raided Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s property.
In the text of the stories, however, they admit that the “property” was e-mail on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, a former congressman and intractable lewd picture taker:
To their complete shock, the NYPD ended up finding and raiding HILLARY’S property on those devices in the form of 650k emails connected to her personal email server…Now her private property is in the hands of the NYPD and FBI!
The articles offer no details on where or when the alleged raid took place, and all use an image from a story about a completely separate incident involving the NYPD, which was stolen from the New York Daily News:
The above image, minus the overlay of Hillary Clinton’s picture, was taken by photographer Sam Costanza and published in the Daily News on 22 November 2015, illustrating a story about a grisly stabbing murder of a pregnant woman. Though that story is unrelated to Clinton and her ongoing e-mail controversy, the disreputable web sites used the picture to create false optics that the NYPD had indeed raided Clinton’s property and taken away evidence.
Weiner was married to Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, but the two have since separated. He is accused of sending lewd photographs to a 15-year-old girl, and material found on his computer became a point of political controversy in the final days leading up to the contentious 2016 presidential election:
Clinton, who has referred to Abedin as a “second daughter,” lashed out Saturday at the FBI’s handling of a new email review that arrived as unexpectedly as did the revelation that Weiner was involved.
The development led to a chorus of Democratic leaders decrying the bureau’s actions, which came with a little less than two weeks remaining before Election Day. Clinton called it “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling,” and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, said there was “no indication this is even about Hillary.”
The NYPD has not yet responded to our queries about whether they were involved in executing a search warrant on property belonging to Weiner and Abedin. A 28 October 2016 letter from FBI director James Comey to Congress notes that the Bureau has yet to assess to contents of the e-mails found and whether they are significant to the Clinton e-mail case, which has since been closed.