Repub­li­cans quick to seek ad­van­tage from FBI an­nounce­ment

Democrats take aim at new in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Lerer and Kath­leen Hen­nessey

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A new shock hit Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign Fri­day in the un­pre­dictable and of­ten un­be­liev­able pres­i­den­tial race: The FBI is look­ing into whether there was clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion on a de­vice be­long­ing to the es­tranged hus­band of one of her clos­est aides.

Adding to the drama of the rev­e­la­tion: The FBI un­cov­ered the emails dur­ing a sex­ting in­ves­ti­ga­tion of An­thony Weiner, the dis­graced ex-con­gress­man who is sep­a­rated from long­time Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din.

The news ar­rived with Clin­ton hold­ing a solid ad­van­tage in the pres­i­den­tial race. Early vot­ing has been un­der­way for weeks, and she has a steady lead in pref­er­ence polls.

But the devel­op­ment all but en­sures that, even should she win the White House, the Demo­crat and sev­eral of her clos­est aides would cel­e­brate a vic­tory un­der a cloud of in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It was a day that thrilled Repub­li­cans ea­ger to change the tra­jec­tory of the race, none more so than nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cor­rup­tion is on a scale we have never seen be­fore,” Trump said while cam­paign­ing in bat­tle­ground New Hamp­shire. “We must not let her take her crim­i­nal scheme into the Oval Of­fice.”

After weeks of declar­ing the race “rigged” in fa­vor of his op­po­nent, Trump de­clared Fri­day he has “great re­spect” for the FBI and the De­part­ment of Jus­tice, now that they are “will­ing to have the courage to right the hor­ri­ble mis­take that they made” in con­clud­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion ear­lier.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Clin­ton has “no­body but her­self to blame.”

“She was en­trusted with some of our na­tion’s most im­por­tant se­crets, and she be­trayed that trust by care­lessly mis­han­dling highly clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion,” Ryan, R-Wis., said in a state­ment. “This de­ci­sion, long over­due, is the re­sult of her reck­less use of a pri­vate email server, and her re­fusal to be forth­com­ing with fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors. I re­new my call for the Direc­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence to sus­pend all clas­si­fied brief­ings for Sec­re­tary Clin­ton un­til this mat­ter is fully re­solved.”

Democrats, still con­fi­dent Clin­ton will pre­vail in 11 days, were en­raged by the de­ci­sion of FBI Direc­tor James Comey, a Repub­li­can, to dis­close the ex­is­tence of the fresh in­ves­ti­ga­tion in a vaguely worded let­ter to con­gres­sional lead­ers.

It wasn’t un­til hours later that word emerged that the source of the new emails was Weiner, the for­mer con­gress­man un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for send­ing sex­u­ally ex­plicit text mes­sages to a teenage girl.

California Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein said Comey’s an­nounce­ment “played right into the po­lit­i­cal cam­paign of Don­ald Trump, who is al­ready us­ing the let­ter for po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.”

She said the FBI has a tra­di­tion of cau­tion be­fore Elec­tion Day, but “to­day’s break from that tra­di­tion is ap­palling.”

It also reignited per­sis­tent wor­ries among Democrats that elect­ing the for­mer first lady will restart a cy­cle of scan­dal and in­ves­ti­ga­tion that could ri­val the fi­nal por­tion of her hus­band’s term in of­fice.

Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans have al­ready promised years of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Clin­ton’s pri­vate email sys­tem. And that’s only one of the email-re­lated con­tro­ver­sies fac­ing her. The tens of thousands of con­fi­den­tial emails from Clin­ton cam­paign in­sid­ers that were hacked — she and the gov­ern­ment say by Rus­sia — and then re­leased by Wik­iLeaks have pro­vided a steady stream of ques­tions about her pol­icy po­si­tions, per­son­nel choices and ties with her hus­band’s sprawl­ing char­i­ta­ble net­work and post­pres­i­den­tial pur­suits.

The Clin­ton cam­paign de­manded more in­for­ma­tion about the FBI’s an­nounce­ment, with Clin­ton cam­paign chair­man John Podesta say­ing in a state­ment that Comey “owes it to the Amer­i­can peo­ple to im­me­di­ately pro­vide the full de­tails of what he is now ex­am­in­ing.”

Clin­ton’s run­ning mate, Tim Kaine, said the vague FBI state­ment 11 days be­fore the elec­tion, with de­tails leak­ing out to the news me­dia, “is very trou­bling.” He, too, called for a quick, full ac­count­ing.

In his let­ter to con­gres­sional lead­ers, Comey wrote only that new emails have emerged, prompt­ing the agency to “take ap­pro­pri­ate in­ves­tiga­tive steps” to re­view the in­for­ma­tion that may be per­ti­nent to its pre­vi­ously closed in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Clin­ton pri­vate email sys­tem.

The FBI ended that in­ves­ti­ga­tion in July without rec­om­mend­ing that charges be filed.

Hil­lary Clin­ton

Don­ald Trump

AN­DREW HARNIK/AP

As Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paigns in Iowa on Fri­day, she faces a new FBI probe into her emails.

Trump

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