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At last moment, Hillary gets FBI’s clean chit on email issue

The FBI’s review of new emails did not uncover any wrongdoing by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the bureau has not changed its July recommendation not to charge her, FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers on Sunday.  

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Sunday gave a clean chit to Hillary Clinton, saying it has not changed its view after a renewed probe into her use of private email server as Secretary of State, a development seen as a gamechanger for the Democratic presidential candidate.

“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” FBI Director James B. Comey told Congress leaders in a letter.

Last-minute breather

The move, just before the general elections on Tuesday, came as relief to the 69-year-old former Ms. Clinton following the agency’s announcement of launching a fresh probe into a cache of recently discovered emails that had triggered a backlash from the Democratic camp and dented her popularity.

A similar letter was sent to Congress on July 28 in which Mr. Comey said the FBI had reopened the investigation following discovery of some pertinent emails on the laptop of Ms. Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin that was shared by the latter’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner.

‘FBI worked round-the-clock’

“Since my letter [of October 28], the FBI investigation team has been working round-the-clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation,” Mr. Comey said. It was reported that there were 6,50,000 emails on that laptop.

“During that process, we reviewed all the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was the Secretary of State,” Mr. Comey said.

Totally rigged system: Trump

Reacting to the development, Republican fronrunner Donald Trump returned to his “rigged system” rhetoric hitting out at the FBI for giving a clean chit to his rival, saying it is “impossible” to go through 650,000 emails in a little over a week.

“Right now, she is being protected by a rigged system. It’s a totally rigged system,” Mr. Trump told his supporters in a Detroit suburb in Michigan.

The 70-year-old real estate tycoon’s remarks were his first reaction to Mr. Comey’s statement.

“You can’t review 6,50,000 emails in eight days. You can’t do it folks. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. FBI knows it.Now it is up to the people of the United States to deliver justice,” he said as his supporters responded back with “lock her up” chants.

‘Probe into her crimes will go on’

“The investigation into her crimes will go on for a long time. It’s unbelievable, unbelievable, what she gets away with,” Mr. Trump said.

“The rank-and-file special agents at the FBI won’t let her get away with her terrible crimes, including the deletion of her 33,000 emails after receiving a congressional subpoena,” he said.

The FBI’s letter was welcomed by the Clinton campaign, which saw its popularity graph sharply dropping down in the aftermath of the October 28 letter.

In her address at Cleveland, Ms. Clinton said: “I want to really look at the faces of the people in front of me. I don’t know your dreams, I don’t know your struggles, but I want so much to convey to you that I will be on your side. I will never, ever quit on you.”

‘Full stop to email saga’

Senator Dianne Feinstein in a statement said the FBI’s letter should end the email saga once and for all.

“The October surprise that came only 11 days before Election Day has unfairly hurt the campaign of one candidate and changed the tenor of this election. Monday’s letter makes Director Comey’s actions nine days ago even more troubling. There’s no doubt that it created a false impression about the nature of the agency’s inquiry,” she said.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said that after yet another exhaustive review of emails to and from Ms. Clinton, the FBI has again given her a clean bill of health.

Stop this Republican sideshow: Pelosi

“While the original letter allowed days of innuendo and falsehood by Republicans desperate to divert attention from themselves, the FBI’s swift and thorough review should finally close the door on this Republican sideshow.The American people will decide this election on the merits of the candidates — their values and their vision for America. Donald Trump is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief and unworthy of the office of President of the United States,” she said.

Disagreed, said the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus.

“The FBI’s findings from its criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s secret email server were a damning and unprecedented indictment of her judgment. The FBI found evidence Clinton broke the law, that she placed highly classified national security information at risk and repeatedly lied to the American people about her reckless conduct,” he said.

‘FBI still probing Clinton Foundation’

“None of this changes the fact that the FBI continues to investigate the Clinton Foundation for corruption involving her tenure as secretary of state. Hillary Clinton should never be president,” Mr. Priebus alleged.

Senate Minority leader Harry Reid said Mr. Comey created a political firestorm 11 days before a presidential election merely to confirm what people already knew: that Ms. Clinton’s email practices were legal.

“Director Comey’s actions were contrary to Justice Department rules and longstanding practice, and may have violated the Hatch Act. By confirming that the new emails were meaningless, Sunday’s letter underscores the irresponsibility of Director Comey’s original letter,” he said.


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