Clin­ton cleared in FBI probe

Di­rec­tor Comey says no ev­i­dence found in lat­est email re­view

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Julie Pace, Lisa Lerer and Jill Colvin

In an ex­tra­or­di­nary last-minute twist to a volatile cam­paign, FBI di­rec­tor James Comey lifted the cloud he had placed over Hil­lary Clin­ton, say­ing Sun­day the bu­reau had found no ev­i­dence in its hur­ried re­view of newly dis­cov­ered emails to war­rant crim­i­nal charges against her.

Comey’s move capped a stun­ning chap­ter in the bit­ter, deeply di­vi­sive con­test be­tween Clin­ton and Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump. The di­rec­tor’s ini­tial de­ci­sion to make a re­newed in­quiry into Clin­ton’s emails pub­lic on Oct. 28 up­ended the cam­paign at a cru­cial mo­ment, sap­ping a surg­ing Clin­ton’s mo­men­tum and giv­ing Trump fresh am­mu­ni­tion to chal­lenge her trust­wor­thi­ness.

Clin­ton’s cam­paign, fu­ri­ous at Comey’s han­dling of the re­view, wel­comed Sun­day’s an­nounce­ment. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Jen­nifer Palmieri told re­porters, “We’re glad this mat­ter is re­solved,” though Clin­ton her­self did not men­tion the is­sue dur­ing a rally in Ohio with bas­ket­ball su­per­star LeBron James.

The new re­view in­volved ma­te­rial found on a com­puter be­long­ing to An­thony Weiner, the dis­graced for­mer con­gress­man and es­tranged hus­band of Clin­ton aide Huma Abe­din. While Comey was vague in his ini­tial de­scrip­tion of the in­quiry, he said Sun­day that the FBI re­viewed com­mu­ni­ca­tions “to or from Hil­lary Clin­ton while she was sec­re­tary of state.”

Based on that re­view, Comey told law­mak­ers the FBI was not chang­ing the con­clu­sion it reached this sum­mer. Then, Comey said, “no rea­son­able pros­e­cu­tor” would rec­om­mend Clin­ton face crim­i­nal charges for us­ing a pri­vate email sys­tem while at the State Depart­ment.

Trump, cam­paign­ing in Michi­gan, chal­lenged the FBI’s abil­ity to re­view the newly dis­cov­ered emails so quickly and ar­gued that Clin­ton was be­ing pro­tected by a “rigged sys­tem.”

“Hil­lary Clin­ton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the peo­ple know it,” Trump de­clared. “Now it’s up to the Amer­i­can peo­ple to de­liver jus­tice at the bal­lot box on Nov. 8.”

In fi­nan­cial trad­ing Sun­day evening, Dow James Comey

Jones in­dex fu­tures jumped about 200 points ahead of to­day’s stock mar­ket open­ing on news of Comey’s an­nounce­ment. The stock mar­ket, which is al­ler­gic to un­cer­tainty close to Elec­tion Day, wilted after Comey’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion to Congress in late Oc­to­ber.

The FBI be­gan in­ves­ti­gat­ing the han­dling of clas­si­fied ma­te­rial on Clin­ton’s pri­vate email server shortly after she an­nounced her bid in April 2015. The is­sue has dogged Clin­ton’s cam­paign and con­trib­uted to the ques­tions a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans have about her hon­esty and trust­wor­thi­ness.

Still, Clin­ton had ap­peared to be head­ing for a sweep­ing vic­tory be­fore Comey’s first let­ter to law­mak­ers, in which he stressed the FBI could not yet as­sess “whether or not this ma­te­rial may be sig­nif­i­cant,” or how long it might take to run down the new in­ves­tiga­tive leads.

Since then, na­tional polls and those in bat­tle­ground states in­di­cated a tight­en­ing race for the White House and for sev­eral com­pet­i­tive Se­nate seats. Democrats need to pick up four seats if Clin­ton wins to take back con­trol of the cham­ber.

“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,” Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, D-Calif., said in a state­ment.

Clin­ton still ap­pears to hold an edge over Trump in the cam­paign’s fi­nal stretch. The Repub­li­can has a nar­row path to vic­tory that re­quires him to win nearly all of the roughly dozen bat­tle­ground states up for grabs.

The can­di­dates spent Sun­day sprint­ing across swing states as they sought to lock up sup­port ahead of Elec­tion Day. As the cam­paign’s fi­nal week­end drew to a close, more than 41mil­lion Amer­i­cans had al­ready cast their bal­lots in early vot­ing.

Dur­ing re­marks at a black church in Philadel­phia on Sun­day morn­ing, Clin­ton urged vot­ers to choose “unity over di­vi­sion” as she sought to close a caus­tic pres­i­den­tial cam­paign on an up­lift­ing note. She warned that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s legacy is on the line, part of her strat­egy to shore up black vot­ers who may be less en­thu­si­as­tic about her than the pres­i­dent.

“If we come to­gether with the com­mon vi­sion, com­mon faith, we will find com­mon ground,” Clin­ton de­clared.

Fol­low­ing her rally in Ohio, Clin­ton headed to New Hamp­shire with Khizr Khan, the Gold Star fa­ther who de­liv­ered a sting­ing in­dict­ment of Trump at the Demo­cratic con­ven­tion. Her high-wattage al­lies also fanned out across the coun­try, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who was joined by mu­si­cal icon Ste­vie Won­der at a Ohio was one cam­paign stop for Hil­lary Clin­ton on Sun­day. rally in Florida.

Trump opened a fu­ri­ous day of cam­paign­ing in Iowa, the bat­tle­ground state where he ap­pears strong­est. He was also mak­ing stops in Min­nesota, Michi­gan and Penn­syl­va­nia, three states that have re­li­ably voted for Democrats in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, as well as Vir­ginia, a state Clin­ton’s cam­paign be­lieves it has a solid hold on.

Trump’s cam­paign man­ager Kellyanne Con­way told re­porters Sun­day that Trump planned to keep up the break­neck cam­paign pace through Elec­tion Day. After vot­ing in New York on Tues­day morn­ing, Trump was ex­pected to re­turn to Penn­syl­va­nia, Michi­gan, Ohio, North Carolina Don­ald Trump ap­peared in five states Sun­day, in­clud­ing at this rally in Min­nesota. and New Hamp­shire later in the day, Con­way said.

The busi­ness­man was also fac­ing crit­i­cism for a new ad that as­serts the “es­tab­lish­ment has tril­lions of dol­lars at stake in this elec­tion” and fea­tures pho­tos of bil­lion­aire Ge­orge Soros, Fed­eral Re­serve Chair Janet Yellen and Gold­man Sachs chief ex­ec­u­tive Lloyd Blank­fein, all of whom are Jewish.

The Na­tional Jewish Demo­cratic Coun­cil said the ad’s use of anti-Semitic stereo­types is “shock­ing and dan­ger­ous.” Trump’s cam­paign pushed back, say­ing the crit­i­cism of the ad was “com­pletely false and un­called for.”

BREN­DAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

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