×

Election decided by an FBI leak would be devastating to democracy: Robert Johnson

Media mogul and Hillary Clinton supporter Robert Johnson told CNBC on Wednesday the revelation about the FBI's renewed interest in her emails threatens to set a dangerous precedent.

"You can't have a democracy determined by a leak. You just can't," the founder of BET said on "Squawk Box." "If you do that, ... you're setting up ... a process of leaks get[ting] reward due to partisan politics."

The "leak" Johnson is referring to was a tweet on Friday by House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah.

Chaffetz quoted from a letter he and other committee heads received from FBI Director James Comey: "The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the [Clinton email] investigation."

It was later learned the FBI obtained a warrant to search emails related to the investigation of Clinton's private server that were discovered on disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop, Weiner is the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Abedin has told the FBI she was unaware that any of her emails were on the laptop authorities seized as part of their investigation into Weiner's latest sextexting scandal, this time allegedly with a 15-year-old girl.

In July, Comey, a registered Republican, had recommended against bringing charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information, a recommendation the Justice Department later followed.

Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, still predicts Clinton will win next week's election over Donald Trump, but said she needs to move to the center because he sees the GOP keeping the House and the Senate.

"That's the only way she'll be able to find sympathetic Republicans, like [House Speaker] Paul Ryan and some of the others in the Senate who will say, 'Hillary let's sit down and cut a deal as to how to deal with some of the issues facing the country," said Johnson, a Clinton friend for 30 years.

Johnson also reflected on his support of Clinton over then-Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries. "The campaign ... was tough. For an African-American to be on Hillary's side at a time when most African-Americans were enamored with President Obama ... that was a big point."


Morning Squawk: CNBC's before the bell news roundup

Sign up to get Morning Squawk each weekday

Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and service. Privacy Policy.
Please enter a valid email address