|Born||July 28, 1976|
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University (BA)|
(m. 2010; separated 2017)
Huma Mahmood Abedin (born July 28, 1976) is an American political staffer who was vice chair of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for President of the United States. Prior to that, Abedin was deputy chief of staff to Clinton, who was U.S. Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. She was also the traveling chief of staff and former assistant for Clinton during Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election.
During Hillary Clinton's tenure at the State Department and her presidential campaign, Abedin became one of Clinton's closest aides. Her high-profile political career has led her personal life to come under public scrutiny over the years, particularly her marriage to former congressman Anthony Weiner.
At the age of two, Abedin moved with her family to Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), where she was raised and lived until returning to the United States for college. Abedin traveled frequently during her childhood and teenage years, and attended a British girls' school.
Both of her parents were educators. Her father, born in New Delhi (India) on April 2, 1928, was an Islamic and Middle Eastern scholar of Indian descent, who received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and then in 1978 founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, an organization devoted to the study of Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies around the world. In 1979, he founded the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, which his wife took over after his death; Huma was listed as an associate editor from 1996 to 2008. Her mother, also born in colonial India (now Pakistan after the 1947 British Partition), also received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently an associate professor of sociology and dean at Dar Al-Hekma College in Jeddah.
At age 18, Abedin entered George Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree as a journalism major with a minor in political science. As a teenager, she aspired to be a journalist like her role model Christiane Amanpour and wanted to work in the White House press office.
While a student at George Washington University, Abedin began working as an intern in the White House in 1996, assigned to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton. From 1996 to 2008, she was an assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs. For several years, she served as the back-up to Clinton's personal aide. She officially took over as Clinton's aide and personal advisor during Clinton's successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign in New York and later worked as traveling chief of staff and "body woman" during Clinton's unsuccessful campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. According to a number of Clinton associates, Abedin is a trusted advisor to Clinton, particularly on the Middle East, and has become known for that expertise.
State Department, Clinton Foundation, Teneo, 2009–2013
In 2009, Abedin was appointed deputy chief of staff to Clinton in the State Department. After returning from maternity leave in June 2012, she left her position as Clinton's deputy chief of staff and became a special Government employee, a consultant role; this status allowed Abedin to work for private clients as a consultant while also serving as an adviser to the Secretary of State. Under this arrangement, she did consultant work for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm whose clients included Coca-Cola and MF Global, and served as a paid consultant to the Clinton Foundation, while continuing her role as body woman to Clinton. The New York Times reported that an associate of Abedin's said the arrangement also allowed her to work from her home in New York City, rather than at the State Department's headquarters in Washington, to be able to spend more time with her child and husband.
After leaving her post at the State Department in 2013, Abedin served as director of the transition team that helped Clinton return to private life, continued her work for the Clinton Foundation, and set up a private consulting firm, Zain Endeavors LLC.
Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign
Starting in 2015, Abedin served as vice chairperson for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for president, while also continuing to serve as personal assistant to Clinton. In her role as the campaign's vice chairperson, she screened and interviewed applicants for key campaign roles, including campaign manager Robby Mook, and was the primary channel for communications to Clinton before the campaign officially began. After Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, she wrote an email to Clinton supporters calling herself "a proud Muslim" and criticized Trump's plan as "literally (writing) racism into our law books".
Accusations by Michele Bachmann
In a letter dated June 13, 2012, to the State Department Inspector General, five Republican members of Congress—Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas J. Rooney of Florida, and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia—claimed that Abedin "has three family members—her late father, her mother and her brother—connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations." The five members of Congress alleged that Abedin had "immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations" which they said were "potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining a security clearance" and questioned why Abedin had not been "disqualified for a security clearance".
The claims in the letter were debunked and were flagged as conspiracy theories. The Washington Post editorial board called the allegations "paranoid", a "baseless attack", and a "smear". The letter was also criticized by, among others, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of Minnesota, the first Muslim member of Congress, who called the allegation "reprehensible". Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, also rejected the allegations, saying: "The letter and the report offer not one instance of an action, a decision or a public position that Huma has taken while at the State Department that would lend credence to the charge that she is promoting anti-American activities within our government. [...] These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit." Bachmann's former campaign manager Ed Rollins said the allegations were "extreme and dishonest", and called for Bachmann to apologize to Abedin. The Anti-Defamation League condemned the letter, calling upon the Representatives involved to "stop trafficking in anti-Muslim conspiracy theories".
Outside employment while at State Department
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, raised questions about Abedin's work as a State Department employee, concerning the fact that she held four jobs from June 2012 to February 2013. These included serving as a part-time aide to Clinton at the State Department, while also working as a consultant to private clients for the consulting firm Teneo Holdings, a consulting firm run by Douglas Band, a longtime aide to former president Bill Clinton. At the time, she was also being paid a salary for work at the Clinton Foundation, and working as Hillary Clinton's personal assistant. The State Department and Abedin both responded, with the State Department indicating that it uses special government employees routinely "to provide services and expertise that executive agencies require", and Abedin stating that she did not provide any government information or inside information gained from her State Department job to her private employers. Grassley said he found the letters unresponsive. In July 2015, Grassley released information indicating that the State Department's inspector general had found that Abedin was overpaid by almost $10,000 for unused leave time when she left the government, resulting from violations of the rules governing vacation and sick leave during her tenure on the payroll as a Federal employee in the department. Abedin's attorneys said that she had learned in May that the Department's inspector general had found that she improperly collected $9,857 for periods when she was on vacation or leave, responded with a 12-page letter contesting the findings, and formally requested an administrative review of the investigation's conclusions. Her lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez, told The New York Times that the inspector general's report showed that Abedin worked during her maternity leave and had thus earned that pay.
Employment records and emails
In October 2015, a federal court in Washington, D.C. heard arguments on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by conservative watchdog organization Judicial Watch for records related to Abedin. Judicial Watch asked to make Abedin's emails and employment records public, requesting details of the arrangement under which she was designated a "special government employee", allowing her to also perform outside consulting work while on the federal payroll. On October 6, the State Department said it would be able to hand over 69 pages of emails in response to the FOIA request.
In 2015, emails by Abedin became part of the FBI investigation and the controversy concerning Hillary Clinton's private email account while Secretary of State, resulting in various allegations by Republicans of violations of State Department regulations. Some officials within the intelligence community have stated that potentially classified information was contained in e-mails from Abedin relating to the 2012 Benghazi attack and its aftermath, which had been sent through Clinton's private, non-government server. As of February 2016, 1,818 emails were found containing classified information on the private server; 22 of those were classified as Top Secret. They were not marked classified at the time they were sent, but they did contain classified information when they were originally sent and received. Clinton's aides also sent and received classified information.
House Benghazi Committee testimony
On October 16, 2015, Abedin testified in closed session before the House Select Committee on Benghazi, in a session that was expected to focus on the 2012 Benghazi attack during which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed. The committee had previously heard closed-door testimony from two other Clinton aides, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan, in September 2015, and Clinton appeared before the panel in a public hearing on October 22.
The Republican-led committee's top Democratic representative, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, questioned the panel's decision to hear testimony from Abedin, arguing that her knowledge of details at the time of the attacks was minimal. Republican Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas defended the decision to interview Abedin, saying: "Ms. Abedin was a senior official at the State Department at all of the relevant times. Every witness has a different set of knowledge." Although there were political tensions surrounding Abedin's appearance, the proceedings were friendly, and after her almost eight hours of testimony, Abedin said: "I came here today to be as helpful as I could be to the committee."
2015 State Department subpoena
In February 2016, The Washington Post reported that the United States Department of State had issued a subpoena to the Clinton Foundation in the fall of 2015. According to the report, the subpoena focused on "documents about the charity's projects that may have required approval from federal government during Hillary Clinton's term as secretary of state"; it "also asked for records related to Huma Abedin, longtime Clinton aide who for six months in 2012 was employed simultaneously by the State Department, the foundation, Clinton's personal office, and a private consulting firm with ties to the Clintons".
On October 28, 2016, the FBI announced that while investigating allegedly illicit text messages from Anthony Weiner to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, they discovered emails related to Clinton's private server on a laptop computer belonging to Abedin's husband. FBI Director James Comey said the agency would review the e-mails to see if they contained classified material. Clinton called for the FBI to release its findings as soon as possible. CNN reported: "The Justice Department and FBI officials are working to secure approval that would allow the FBI to conduct a full search of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's newly discovered emails." The issue is complex because Abedin shared a computer with Weiner, according to officials, and the case may raise "spousal privilege legal protections" for Abedin since the computer belongs to her husband.
The FBI's New York field office was conducting the Weiner investigation and found the Abedin emails on the computer, which they thought was only Weiner's, the officials said. They then stopped their work and contacted the team of investigators from FBI headquarters who had handled the probe of Clinton's private email server. The investigators saw enough of the emails to decide that they seemed pertinent to the Clinton server investigation and that they might be emails not seen before. Because they felt they needed a warrant specific to Abedin's emails, officials did not examine them further.
Abedin cooperated with the investigation, according to Justice Department and FBI officials. Investigators believed that some emails which were deleted from the Clinton server were possibly among those in question, and that they would need to interview Abedin again after examining the emails on Weiner's computer.
On October 30, 2016, the FBI obtained a search warrant for the Abedin-linked emails found on Weiner's laptop. Abedin used the same laptop to send thousands of emails to Clinton, according to NBC sources. On November 6, in a letter to Congress, the FBI said that, after reviewing all of Clinton's emails from her tenure as Secretary of State, it had not changed its conclusion reached in July exonerating Clinton.
There have also been allegations that Abedin used a personal cell phone to conduct state department business with Clinton.
On July 10, 2010, Abedin married then-U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton officiated the wedding ceremony. In December 2011, Abedin gave birth to a boy. On August 29, 2016, Abedin announced her separation from Weiner after new sexting allegations were made against him. In early 2017, Abedin announced her intent to file for divorce with sole physical custody of their son. On May 19, 2017, after he pled guilty, she filed for divorce. Abedin and Weiner withdrew their divorce case from court in January 2018, stating that they decided to settle the divorce privately in order to spare their six-year-old son further embarrassment.
Hillary Clinton has been described as a mentor and mother figure to Abedin. In 2010, at Abedin's wedding to Weiner, Clinton said: "I have one daughter. But if I had a second daughter, it would [be] Huma." During a trip that Clinton and Abedin made to Saudi Arabia, Abedin's mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, said to Clinton: "Hillary, you have spent more time with my daughter than I have in the past 15 years. I'm jealous of you!"
In popular culture
- "Hillary Clinton's confidante and 'translator'". Fortune. June 10, 2015.
- Yalamanchili, Pavani (August 21, 2007). "Hillary's Handler: Huma Abedin". Nirali Magazine. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
- Trebay, Guy (July 22, 2007). "Campaign Chic: Not Too Cool, Never Ever Hot". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- Spencer Morgan, Hillary's Mystery Woman: Who Is Huma?, Observer (April 2, 2007).
- Katie Glueck (April 12, 2015). "Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign staff: The power players". Politico. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- Burleigh, Nina (April 28, 2016). "How Huma Abedin went from intern to Hillary Clinton's closest confidante". Newsweek. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
- "Anthony Weiner jailed for 21 months for sexting underage girl". BBC News. September 25, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- McDevitt, Caitlin (July 28, 2011). "Happy Birthday, Huma! - CLICK". Politico.Com. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- Jonathan Van Meter, Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin's Post-Scandal Playbook, New York Times Magazine (April 10, 2013).
- Sayyid Muhammed Syeed (December 1993). "In Memorium". MESA Bulletin. Middle East Studies Association: 308. JSTOR 23061423.
- "www.imma.org/uk". Imma.org.uk. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
- "Faculty and Administrators Directory, Official website". Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
- "Huma Abedin". The Washington Post. July 25, 2012. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2013.
- Nathan Heller, Annie Leibovitz (August 17, 2016). "Huma Abedin on Her Job, Family, and the Campaign of a Lifetime". Vogue. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
- Cohan, William D. (February 2016). "Is Huma Abedin Hillary Clinton's Secret Weapon or her next big problem?". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- Engel, Pamela (August 22, 2016). "Clinton campaign denies top aide's involvement in Muslim magazine". Business Insider. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
- "Clintonites jostle for jobs at State". Politico. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
- Hernandez, Raymond (May 16, 2013). "Weiner's Wife Didn't Disclose Consulting Work She Did While Serving in State Dept". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
- Chris Frates, "New company established 11 days before Huma Abedin left State Department, CNN (August 19, 2015).
- Huma Abedin: Trump plan would ‘write racism into our law books'. Frumin, Aliyah. MSNBC, 8 December 2015
- Editorial, "Michele Bachmann's baseless attack on Huma Abedin", The Washington Post (July 19, 2012).
- Bachmann: "Letter to the Deputy Inspector General", June 13, 2012, accessed August 1, 2013
- Cordes, Nancy (July 19, 2012). "Michele Bachmann refuses to back down on claims about Huma Abedin". CBS This Morning. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
- "Oy! Latest Conspiracy Theory on Huma Abedin". Strauss, Elissa. The Forward, July 30, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2015
- Terkel, Amanda (July 18, 2012). "John McCain Slams Michele Bachmann's 'Unfounded' Attacks on Huma Abedin, Muslim-Americans". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
- Rollins, Edward (July 24, 2012). "Bachmann's former campaign chief – shame on you, Michele". Fox News Channel. Retrieved July 24, 2012.
- "ADL Responds to Conspiratorial Letter From 5 Members of Congress; Urges Bachmann, Others to Stop 'Trafficking in Anti-Muslim Conspiracy Theories'" Archived December 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine (press release), Anti-Defamation League (July 20, 2012).
- Hernandez, Raymond (August 18, 2013). "Questions on the Dual Role of a Clinton Aide Persist". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
- Condon, Stephanie (July 26, 2013). "Weiner's wife Huma Abedin under scrutiny over two jobs". CBS News. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- "Letters, Senator Charles Grassley's Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 7, 2013. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- McKelway, Doug (July 16, 2013). "Huma Abedin faces questions about dual jobs". Fox News Channel. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
- Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman & Carol D. Leonnig, Top Clinton aide accused of receiving overpayments at State Department, The Washington Post (July 31, 2015).
- Devlin Barrett & Peter Nicholas – "Close Clinton Aide Huma Abedin in Overpayment Dispute", The Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2015.. Retrieved August 1, 2015
- "Huma Abedin, a Clinton Aide, Is Back in Spotlight as Republicans Seize on Emails". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
- "Court hearing Thursday will focus on key Clinton aide". MSNBC. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
- "New front opened in battle over Clinton email server". thehill.com. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
- Evan Perez – "Hillary Clinton aides' emails on Benghazi sparked intelligence concerns", CNN, August 20, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015
- Rachael Bade – "Hillary email probe turns to Huma", Politico, August 13, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015
- Shah, Raj. "The Top 5 Rules Clinton Broke Using a Secret Email Server". .gop.com. Republican National Committee. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
- Carol D. Leonnig, Rosalind S. Helderman & Tom Hamburger, FBI Looking into the Security of Hillary Clinton's Private e-mail Setup, The Washington Post (August 4, 2015).
- Schmidt, Michael S. (March 2, 2015). "Hillary Clinton's Use of Private Email at State Department Raises Flags". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Anita Kumar – "At least 1,818 Clinton emails contain classified material", McClatchyDC, February 26, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016
- "Hillary Clinton's Top Aide Huma Abedin Questioned About Benghazi Attacks". ABC News. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- Matthew Daly, Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Testifies Before Benghazi Committee, Associated Press (October 16, 2015).
- Fahrenthold, David A.; Viebeck, Elise (October 22, 2015). "GOP lands no solid punches while sparring with Clinton over Benghazi". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Benjamin Siegal, Hillary Clinton's Top Aide Huma Abedin Questioned About Benghazi Attacks, ABC News (October 16, 2015).
- Hamburger, Tom. Helderman, Rosalind S. 2016. "Clinton Campaign received subpoena from State Department investigators". The Washington Post. February 11, 2016.
- Goldman, Adam; Rappeport, Alan (October 29, 2016). "Emails in Anthony Weiner Inquiry Jolt Hillary Clinton's Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
- "Justice Department Obtains Warrant for FBI Search of Huma Abedein's Newly Discovered Emails". October 30, 2016.
- Evan Perez; Pamela Brown. "FBI discovered Clinton-related emails weeks ago". CNN.
- "Exclusive: FBI still does not have warrant to review new Abedin emails linked to Clinton probe".
- "FBI obtains warrant for newly discovered emails in Clinton probe".
- "New Huma Abedin E-mail Address Discovered ahead of Benghazi Committee Appearance". National Review. October 15, 2015. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
- "FBI finds no criminality in review of newly discovered Clinton emails". Retrieved November 6, 2016.
- "Emails Warrant No New Action Against Hillary Clinton, F.B.I. Director Says". The New York Times. November 6, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
- "No criminality in Clinton emails – FBI". BBC. November 6, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
- "Hillary Clinton must testify in email case, judge rules". www.wpsdlocal6.com. Archived from the original on June 5, 2020.
- "Hillary's Secret Weapon; Huma Abedin oversees every minute of Senator Clinton's day". Archived from the original on July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013. Vogue, August 2007, U.S. edition, photo spread and interview conducted by Rebecca Johnson. Quote: "Fluent in Arabic and a practicing Muslim born in . . ."
- Uddin, Asma. "Is Huma Abedin's Muslim faith her fatal flaw with Anthony Weiner? That's not the Islam I know". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved July 30, 2013. By Asma Uddin, Published: July 30, 2013.
- Nia-Malika Henderson, Huma Abedin, Weiner's unflappable wife, is Hillary Clinton's right-hand woman, The Washington Post (June 7, 2011).
- Sandip Roy, There's Something About Huma, Huffington Post (July 28, 2013).
- Susan Donaldson James, Anthony Weiner Says Wife Huma Abedin Will Stay, But Will She?, ABC News (June 7, 2011).
- Ashley Parker (June 6, 2011). "Opposites in Many Ways, but Seemingly Melded Well". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
- "Rep. Anthony Weiner engaged to Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin". Daily News. New York. July 11, 2009. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
- Catalina Camia, It's a boy for ex-congressman Weiner and his wife, USA Today (December 22, 2011).
- ABC News, , "ABC News" (August 29, 2016).
- Little, Katie (August 29, 2016). "Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin separate in wake of latest sexting scandal". CNBC. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- "Clinton aide Abedin dumps Weiner after more lewd texts". Politico. August 29, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- Campbell, Andy; Grenoble, Ryan (September 13, 2017). "Anthony Weiner And Huma Abedin Appear In Divorce Court". Huffington Post.
- CBS2 Sources: Huma Abedin Attorneys Filing Her Divorce Papers After Anthony Weiner Guilty Plea". WCBS-TV. May 19, 2017.
- Heil, Emily (January 10, 2018). "Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner to settle divorce out of court". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2018.
- The Reliable Source (July 1, 2010). "Clintons celebrate wedding of Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner". The Washington Post Company. Washington Post. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
But if I had a second daughter, it would [be] Huma
- "Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin's Post-Scandal Playbook", The New York Times, New York, retrieved October 24, 2015
- Huma Abedin dines with Clinton spokesman, Washington D.C.: CNN, retrieved October 24, 2015
- Anthony Weiner & Huma Abedin -- What's 'normal' about this relationship?, New York: Fox News Channel, retrieved October 26, 2015
- Cohan, William (January 19, 2016). "What Weiner Reveals About Huma Abedin". Vanity Fair. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Huma Abedin.|