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FBI Reviews Newly Discovered Emails For Connection To Clinton Probe

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Just days before the presidential election, the FBI is rushing to review thousands of emails that could relate to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private server. Authorities are trying to determine if they contain classified information. FBI Director James Comey is facing criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike for his brief letter to Congress that publicly announced the newly discovered emails.

In a moment we're going to hear from one of those critics. First let's get some facts from NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Hi, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What's the timetable for getting through these messages?

JOHNSON: Well, FBI agents as we speak are using electronic tools - essentially software - to help them find material that could be classified government secrets in this huge tranche of thousands and thousands of messages. They're trying to figure out if these messages are duplicates of ones they reviewed already during the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server. That investigation ended in July with no criminal charges.

If authorities find lots of copies in this bunch of messages, the work could go pretty quickly. If there's a lot of new material that seems like it's secret, it could take a lot longer - post-election even.

SHAPIRO: As you said just three months ago, on the recommendation of FBI Director James Comey, The Justice Department decided not to prosecute anyone for mishandling government secrets on the Clinton server. So what are the odds that that could change now?

JOHNSON: Based on what we know now, long odds. The FBI director said back then no reasonable prosecutor would bring the case without evidence of an effort to betray the country, to withhold information, bad intent. It would need to be a huge deal to change the dial here and...

SHAPIRO: OK.

JOHNSON: ...Decide to prosecute.

SHAPIRO: Carrie, stay with us. We're going to hear more from you in just a moment. But first let's hear from one of the former government officials criticizing Comey. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.