Washington: The FBI on Sunday lifted the threat that Hillary Clinton might face charges over her private email server — another campaign bombshell just 36 hours before her White House showdown with Donald Trump.
The Democrat’s camp welcomed the news that FBI Director James Comey had decided not to change his July recommendation that she not be prosecuted for putting US secrets at risk while serving as secretary of state.
But, as both candidates criss-crossed swing states in a last desperate scramble for votes, the 11th hour decision by the Federal Bureau of Investigation refocused attention on an issue that has damaged her campaign.
“We’re glad that this matter is resolved,” Clinton’s campaign director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters aboard the 69-year-old’s campaign plane.
Late on October,with Clinton seemingly on a glide path to victory, Comey sent shockwaves through both campaigns by announcing a renewed FBI investigation in Clinton’s email use.
In July, the Justice Department, acting on the FBI’s recommendation, had decided not to prosecute Clinton over her decision to use a private server for official emails while she was Washington’s top diplomat. But, after a previously undiscovered batch of mails was found on a laptop belonging to the husband of one of Clinton’s key aides, Comey warned lawmakers he was revisiting the case.
Trump, the 70-year-old property tycoon and Republican flag-bearer, seized on the opening, condemning Clinton’s “criminal scheme” and arguing that she was unfit to be president.
Opinion polls tightened as Trump began to recover ground he lost after several women accused him of sexual assault, and the race looked headed for a photo finish.
But on Sunday, Comey wrote another letter to Congress to say that FBI agents had been working around the clock to review the “large volume of emails” found on the laptop. “During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state,” Comey wrote.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Hillary Clinton,” he concluded.