House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes charged Monday that Hillary Clinton left sensitive documents while traveling overseas, and demanded an answer to those charges by the middle of this week.
Nunes, R-Calif., also asked FBI Director James Comey to provide details about the new emails discovered on Huma Abedin's laptop, and perhaps other devices in her household, that may have come from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
In a letter to Comey, Nunes raised startling accusations about the poor handling of classified information by Clinton and top staff while traveling in Russia and China.
In one incident uncovered in Freedom of Information Act requests, according to Nunes, 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."
In another case, he said a Clinton aide "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 asked Comey to inform Congress how many incidents the FBI investigated had turned up instances where Clinton or her staff "mishandled" classified documents while overseas, as well as any "damage assessment" performed by the FBI about mishandled secret material.
State Department spokesman John Kirby downplayed the charges Nunes made against Clinton and her aides about the maintenance of classified information in Russia and China.
"In May 2010, Secretary Clinton was on official travel in Beijing, China, accompanied by senior staff. Upon Secretary Clinton's departure, a routine security sweep by Diplomatic Security agents identified classified documents in a staff member's suite," Kirby said. "To be clear – this was not Secretary Clinton's hotel room and no citation whatsoever was given to Secretary Clinton, nor were any reports written about Secretary Clinton's conduct."
Kirby said he could not address the accusation that a Clinton aide mishandled classified information in Russia but suggested there was no real threat.
"The Department operates within concentric rings of security designed to provide overlapping and redundant protections," Kirby said.
Comey sent a letter to Congress on Friday informing lawmakers the FBI had reopened an investigation into Clinton's private server after they discovered tens of thousands of emails on a laptop shared by Abedin and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, who is under federal investigation for allegedly sexting a minor.
Nunes asked Comey to tell him how many of the emails discovered on the Abedin-Weiner laptop, as well as other devices potentially seized by the FBI, "were sent to or from Secretary Clinton's private server," and when the FBI learned the devices contained emails the FBI believed were related to the Clinton investigation.
The FBI, Nunes said, seized "one or more electronic devices" from Weiner, although so far only a laptop appears to be part of the investigation.
Nunes also asked Comey if Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had recused himself from the Clinton investigation in light of donations from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's political donation to McCabe's wife who was running for state senate.