DAYTONA BEACH, United States: US presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) urged the FBI to release all information that led to a renewed probe into her use of email just ahead of the elections, calling the move “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling.”
“It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” the Democratic nominee complained, addressing cheering supporters at a rally in the must-win state of Florida.
“It’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented,” Clinton said.
“And it is deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts. So we’ve called on [FBI director James Comey] to explain everything right away, put it all out on the table.”
Clinton remains the favorite to win the keys to the White House in the November 8 vote, but her momentum was slowed Friday when FBI director James Comey made a shock announcement.
In a letter to congressional committee chairs, the agency chief said agents were investigating a newly discovered batch of emails linked to Clinton, to see if they contained classified material.
A previous FBI probe was declared finished in July, after Comey’s agency found no evidence that Clinton had broken any laws through her controversial use of a private email server while secretary of State.
Pressure on FBI chief
News reports citing FBI sources said the emails were found on a laptop used by Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin and her husband Anthony Weiner, who is subject to an unrelated investigation for sending explicit text messages to a minor.
But it is not clear whether the emails had any connection to Clinton’s work at the State Department, and Comey’s statement said only that investigators were studying to see if they are “pertinent” to the server probe.
Leading Democratic senators wrote to Comey and his boss, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, urging them to make clear whether the new emails are pertinent to the investigation by Monday night.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook sought to play down the impact of the revived email scandal.
“We don’t see it as changing the landscape,” he said, boasting that Clinton supporters were if anything fired up by the battle.
In the key battleground state of Florida on Saturday, Clinton greeted thousands of supporters at a Jennifer Lopez concert in Miami.
Clinton embraced the hit singer on stage and accused her opponent of stoking fear, disgracing American democracy and insulting “one group of Americans after another.
“Are we going to let Donald Trump get away with that? You’re right. We’re not,” she said. “No matter what they throw at us, we don’t back down. Not now. Not ever,” the Democrat said.
Trump seized gleefully on the FBI statement, firing up his raucous supporters with a vow that “justice can at last be delivered” – despite the agency not putting any timeline on the new inquiry.
Campaigning in the western state of Colorado, which has been leaning toward Clinton, he denounced what he called his opponent’s “criminal and illegal conduct,” to chants of “Lock her up!”
“This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it’s everybody’s deepest hope that justice at last will be beautifully delivered,” Trump, 70, told a later rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
Trump – himself dogged by scandal over alleged sexual misconduct and accusations from at least 12 women – relished the email probe.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is corrosive to the soul of our nation, and it must be stopped,” the real estate tycoon said in Arizona.
On Saturday, Trump received the public endorsement of the father of 26-year-old aid worker, Kayla Mueller, who was kidnapped in Syria in August 2013 and killed in a 2015 coalition air strike.
The latest poll of polls by tracker website RealClearPolitics put Clinton 3.9 percentage points ahead of Trump nationwide, down from a gap of 7.1 points just 10 days previously.
And an ABC/Washington Post survey gave her a 47 percent to 45 percent lead, a drastic fall from her 12-point margin in the same poll a week ago.