Source: USA Today
WASHINGTON — In a stunning last-minute announcement, FBI director James Comey said Sunday the agency is still not recommending charges against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after reviewing newly discovered emails.
In a letter to lawmakers, Comey said the FBI is standing by its original findings, made in July, that Clinton should not be prosecuted for her handling of classified information over email as secretary of State.
“The FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation,” Comey said in the letter. “During that process we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of State,” Comey wrote. “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”
Comey had rocked the presidential race with his announcement Oct. 28 that the FBI had uncovered a new trove of emails that might be relevant to the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server. The emails were discovered on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The announcement, as voters prepare to head to the polls Tuesday, added more drama to an already turbulent campaign season.
Clinton was en route to Cleveland on Sunday when Comey issued his letter.
Aboard her plane, aides were seen sharing the letter on their wireless devices. Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri came to the back of the plane where the press sits to discuss the letter.
“We are glad to see that he has found — and we were confident that he would — that he has confirmed the conclusion he reached in July; and we’re glad that this matter is resolved,” she told reporters.
The campaign appeared to signify it would not gloat over the announcement; Palmieri declined to answer questions as she customarily does.
In a speech later Sunday at the Cleveland Public Auditorium, Clinton made no mention of the FBI announcement or – notably – Trump. Her remarks were far more positive than the stump speech she’s been delivering in recent days.
“I know there’s a lot of frustration, even anger, in this election season,” said Clinton, but anger is not a plan.
Clinton’s commanding 11-point lead after the final debate with Republican Donald Trump in Las Vegas has narrowed to four to five points nationally in the aftermath of Comey’s late October announcement. She’s seen Trump close in on her in states like New Hampshire and Michigan, where she’d once enjoyed a comfortable lead.