Mayor Bill de Blasio still has a high opinion of Huma Abedin, the estranged wife of his 2013 Democratic primary rival Anthony Weiner—saying “I’ve known very well and think the world of” the woman at the center of the renewed scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Speaking on radio station WOR this morning, de Blasio voiced pity for the beleaguered Weiner and Abedin days after word burst across the news media that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents had uncovered a cache of emails “pertinent” to the Clinton probe on a laptop co-owned by the couple.. The mayor once again characterized his former foe as simply a disturbed individual in need of psychiatric assistance.
“The first thought is a very human one. I just feel really sad for this family,” de Blasio said. “And it’s just, Anthony is someone who is obviously, is troubled and needs help and I just h0pe now this finally means he will get it.”
Weiner, a former Brooklyn congressman, faces a probe from the city’s Administration for Children’s services for snapping and sending a lewd photo featuring his five-old-son and federal allegations of sexting with a 15-year-old in North Carolina.
The fallen pol has also potentially upended the presidential race after he surrendered his laptop to the FBI as part of the latter investigation. On Friday, a letter FBI Director James Comey sent to Congress describing the discovery of a cache of emails connected to the private server probe exploded across the news media.
Late yesterday, the department obtained a warrant to dig through the messages. At this time, there is no indication that the correspondence contains anything incriminating, and it may be duplicative of emails already in federal possession.
A protege of Sen. Charles Schumer and friend of the Clintons, Weiner once seemed one of the city’s ascendant stars. But his compulsion to send strangers semi-nude photos of himself over the Internet forced his 2011 resignation from the House of Representatives, wrecked his 2013 campaign for mayor and finally drove away the long-loyal Abedin earlier this year.
De Blasio followed most other Democrats this morning by downplaying the importance of the emails, and predicted a Clinton victory—even though he reiterated earlier warnings against voters growing complacent about the threat of Donald Trump winning the White House.
“I think this is much ado about nothing,” the mayor said. “We’ve learned nothing in this entire email discussion that changes my mind about anything, and I think the vast majority of Americans feel the same way.”
“I think it’s impossible [Trump] could be a good president, I think it’s possible for him to win,” he added.
Updated to reflect that the mayor’s office disputed a segment of a quote as it originally appeared here, which indicated that de Blasio praised Weiner as well as Abedin. In question is a moment where it is unclear whether the mayor spoke of “this family whom I’ve known and think the world of,” or “this family—Huma, I’ve known and think the world of.” De Blasio’s rapid speech and imprecise enunciation make it difficult to be sure which he said. A spokesperson insisted the mayor spoke “specifically” of Abedin.
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.