FBI has found no criminal wrongdoing in new Clinton emails, says Comey
The FBI has determined that a new batch of emails linked to Hillary Clinton’s private email server “have not changed our conclusion” that she committed no criminal wrongdoing, FBI director James Comey told congressional leaders in a letter on Sunday.As campaigning continued ahead of Tuesday’s presidential election, a Clinton spokeswoman said the candidate was “glad this matter is resolved”.
The Democratic nominee’s opponent, Donald Trump, reacted with anger at the news, and cast doubt on whether the FBI had even carried out its work. “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days,” Donald Trump told a campaign rally in Sterling Heights, Michigan, on Sunday evening.
On 28 October, only 11 days before the presidential election, Comey sent congressional leaders a letter informing them that agents had discovered emails “that appear pertinent” to a prior investigation, into Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state. It was later reported that as many as 650,000 such emails were in question.
The move, so close to an election, proved tremendously controversial. In July, Comey had announced that Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” but that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against them.
“Since my letter, 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 wrote to Congress on Sunday.
“During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” he concluded. “I am grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.”
Clinton was onboard her campaign plane when the news broke, as she had been when Comey delivered his first letter nine days earlier. As news broke, aides huddled toward the front of the plane, reading from an iPad, and spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri entered Clinton’s cabin, shielded by a curtain, moments before she spoke to the press.
“We are glad to see that [Comey] has found, as we were confident he would, that he has confirmed the conclusions that he reached in July and we are glad that this matter is resolved,” she told reporters.
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Leaving the plane in Cleveland, roughly 30 minutes after Comey’s announcement, Clinton did not respond to a reporter’s question about whether she had seen the letter.
When the letter was released, Trump was speaking in an airplane hangar in Minneapolis, but did not mention the letter to the crowd, instead directing his anger against his Democratic rival.
In Michigan, however, he said: “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. The FBI knows it, the people know it and now it is up for American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on 8 November.”
The Republican nominee also insisted that despite Comey’s actions, “the rank and file special agents at the FBI won’t let her get away with her terrible crimes including the deletion of 33,000 emails after receiving a federal subpoena”.
Trump seemed to be alluding to leaks from within the bureau that revealed acrimony and political rifts within the FBI, after Department of Justice officials expressed surprise that Comey would break with decades of tradition regarding investigations and elections.
Other leading Republicans tried to dismiss the FBI’s new conclusion. “Some things haven’t changed at all. What FBI director Comey said on 7 July under oath to Congress is still the same: that she was reckless and careless in her handling of information,” Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told MSNBC.
“The reason that so many Americans have a problem with Hillary Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness and veracity does not change.”
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan also insisted that the new conclusion should not change any opinions about Clinton. “Regardless of this decision, the undisputed finding of the FBI’s investigation is that Secretary Clinton put our nation’s secrets at risk and in doing so compromised our national security,” he said in a statement. “She simply believes she’s above the law and always plays by her own rules.”