Race roils over email tim­ing, Trump pounces

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AGEN­CIES

Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate Donald Trump plunged into his fi­nal-week sprint to Elec­tion Day Mon­day un­leash­ing a harsh new at­tack against Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton in Michi­gan, a state that hasn’t fa­vored a Repub­li­can for pres­i­dent in nearly three decades.

His mes­sage was wel­comed by sup­port­ers, but his lo­ca­tion frus­trated anx­ious Repub­li­cans who fear their nom­i­nee is rid­ing his un­ortho­dox po­lit­i­cal play­book too long, even as Clin­ton’s de­vel­op­ing email prob­lems of­fer new po­lit­i­cal op­por­tu­nity.

“Her elec­tion would mire our gov­ern­ment and our coun­try in a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis that we can­not af­ford,” Trump de­clared in Grand Rapids, point­ing to the FBI’s re­newed ex­am­i­na­tion of Clin­ton’s email prac­tices as ev­i­dence the for­mer sec­re­tary of state might face a crim­i­nal trial as pres­i­dent.

Most peo­ple have de­cided a long time ago what they think about all of this.”

Hil­lary Clin­ton, Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial candidate, on her emails

Hil­lary Clin­ton force­fully chal­lenged the FBI’s new email in­quiry Mon­day, declar­ing dur­ing a cam­paign rally in bat­tle­ground Ohio, “There’s no case here.”

Clin­ton’s com­ments were her most pointed yet on the sub­ject, and they un­der­scored her cam­paign’s de­ci­sion to fight back ag­gres­sively against FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey.

On Fri­day — just over a week from Elec­tion Day — Comey alerted Congress that the FBI has ob­tained new ma­te­rial that may be re­lated to its dor­mant in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion passed through Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server while she served as sec­re­tary of state.

The FBI plans to re­view the emails to see if they con­tain clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion and if so, whether they were han­dled prop­erly. The Jus­tice De­part­ment said Mon­day it would “ded­i­cate all nec­es­sary re­sources” to con­clud­ing the re­view promptly.

Clin­ton ac­cused the FBI of hav­ing jumped into the elec­tion “with no ev­i­dence of any wrong­do­ing with just days to go”. She said that if the bureau wants to look at the emails, which ap­pear tied to her long­time aide Huma Abe­din, “by all means, they should look at them.”

But she in­sisted the FBI would reach the same con­clu­sion it did ear­lier this year, when it de­clined to rec­om­mend Clin­ton and her ad­vis­ers face charges for how they han­dled clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

“They said it wasn’t even a close call,” she said. “I think most peo­ple have de­cided a long time ago what they think about all of this.”

Na­tional polls show a tight­en­ing race. But with more than 23 mil­lion bal­lots al­ready cast through early vot­ing, it’s un­clear whether Trump has the time or ca­pac­ity to dra­mat­i­cally im­prove his stand­ing over the next week in states like Michi­gan, where few po­lit­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als in ei­ther party ex­pect a Repub­li­can vic­tory on Nov 8.

The break­down of those vot­ers by party af­fil­i­a­tion, race and other fac­tors point to an ad­van­tage for Clin­ton.

Over­all, more than 23 mil­lion votes have been cast, far higher than the rate in 2012, ac­cord­ing to As­so­ci­ated Press data. That rep­re­sents nearly 20 per­cent of the to­tal votes ex­pected na­tion­wide, if turnout is sim­i­lar to 2012. In all, more than 46 mil­lion peo­ple — up to 40 per­cent of the elec­torate – are ex­pected to vote be­fore Elec­tion Day.

Mean­while, some Repub­li­cans are skep­ti­cal that the FBI’s re­newed in­ter­est in Clin­ton’s email will erase the Demo­crat’s ad­van­tage.

“It would take some­thing like an in­dict­ment to turn it into a dead heat,” Repub­li­can poll­ster Whit Ayres said.

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