Obama warns ‘the fate of the world’ at risk if Trump wins
BARACK Obama has warned America that the the “fate of the world” is at risk if Donald Trump is elected president and publicly criticised the FBI.
In his strongest intervention yet in the US presidential election, Obama rebuked James Comey for the decision to announce, just days before the election, that new Clintonlinked emails were being investigated.
Obama said the FBI should not “operate on innuendo” in an veiled criticism of Comey’s handling of the announcement. “I do think there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo, we don’t operate on incomplete information, we don’t operate on leaks,” he said. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
Commenting for the first time about the renewed Clinton email scandal, Obama defended his secretary of state after the FBI announcement on Friday that new emails had been found on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Mrs Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin, as part of a separate investigation into his alleged “sexting” with an underage girl.
He said, when taking the unusual step about discussing the FBI’s decisions, that he had “made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I’m meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments”.
Nonetheless, he immediately suggested Clinton was innocent of wrongdoing. “I trust her. I know her. And I wouldn’t be supporting her if I didn’t have absolute confidence in her integrity and her interest in making sure that young people have a better future.”
He offered an enthusiastic defence of Clinton’s character, saying she made an “honest mistake” in using a private email server as secretary of state.
In a barnstorming address in North Carolina on Wednesday night — a state he won in 2008 but that is in the balance for Clinton — Obama gave a dire warning of a Trump presidency.
“I hate to put pressure on you but the fate of the Republic rests in your hands. The fate of the world is teetering,” he told voters in Chapel Hill.
He labelled Trump “temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief ” and that we “have to stop thinking that his behaviour is normal”.
Trump tolerated racists, threatened the press, “stiffed small businesses” and “bragged about getting away with sexual assault”, Obama said. “This should not be a controversial opinion. Over time, crazy [has become] normalised.
“If you disrespect women before you’re in office, you will disrespect women while you’re in office. If you accept the support of Klan members,” Obama continued, “then you will tolerate that support when you’re in office.”
Trump told Americans who cast their ballots for Clinton before the latest email scandal emerged that it may not be too late to change their vote.
Early voting was underway in 37 states before the FBI announcement, which threw her campaign into chaos and led to her poll numbers plummeting.
Most of the more than 15 million votes cast before the announcement are final, but seven US states actually allow voters to amend their ballots. “Now that you see that Hillary was a big mistake, change your vote to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” he wrote.
Wisconsin voters can cast up to three ballots, and multiple people in Winnebago County had already changed their votes according to Sue Ertmer, the county clerk. “I don’t believe they even have to give a reason. They could go to the clerk and say that they basically need to cast a different ballot,” she told WBAY.
A voter could change their mind again on Election Day, turning up at a polling station to nullify their second ballot, and receive a third.
Michigan and Pennsylvania, key battleground states, do not allow early voting but residents who have cast absentee ballots could change their choice in person on Election Day itself.
The Trump campaign announced on Wednesday it had raised $100 million in October from “small-dollar” donors. His campaign announced that the total was garnered from 1.6 million small-dollar donations, a term traditionally used to describe contributions of less than $250. Trump has faced a significant fundraising deficit compared with his Democratic rival. In the first 19 days of October, Trump raised about $30 million, compared with Clinton’s $53 million.
Meanwhile, a black church in Mississippi has been burned and spray-painted with “Vote Trump” on an outside wall, according to US authorities.
Fire Chief Ruben Brown said that firefighters found flames and smoke pouring from the sanctuary of the Hopewell MB Church just after 9PM on Tuesday.
This is so heartbreaking. Not so much for the message on the building, but this is a church that’s been around for so long in the community.
Brown said the sanctuary sustained heavy damage, including in the kitchen and pastor’s office. He said investigators do not know yet if it is a case of arson.
In a statement, the FBI’s office in Jackson, the state capital, said it was working “with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed”. There were no reports of injuries. The mayor of Greenville, Errick Simmons, described the incident as a “hateful and cowardly act”.
He said local officials consider the fire a hate crime because of the political message he believes was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters.
“The act that happened left our hearts broken,” Pastor Carolyn Hudson told a news conference, noting that the church has a 111-year history. — Al Jazeera
As many as 239 people are feared dead in two shipwrecks off the coast of Libya, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Carlota Sami, a spokeswoman for UNHCR’s based in Rome, said yesterday that the information was confirmed by survivors brought ashore on the Italian island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea. As new rescue operations ongoing in the Mediterranean, survivors are telling us about 2 new shipwrecks. Sami said that 31 survivors of two shipwrecks who arrived to Lampedusa yesterday reported that their boats capsized in heavy seas. They said 29 people survived the first wreck, and about 120 people had gone missing. In a separate operation, two women found swimming at sea told rescuers that another 120 people had died in that wreck. At least 4 220 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, the highest death toll on record. — EPA