FBI chief may have broken law, says top Senate Democrat on Hillary Clinton email probe

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The US Senate’s top Democrat has blasted FBI chief James Comey for announcing a new review of Hillary Clinton’s emails just days before the presidential election, an action he says “may have broken the law.”

Hillary Clinton
Photo: Reuters

Allegations Clinton put the United States (US) at risk by using a private email server while secretary of state were thrust back into the spotlight Friday when Comey revealed a renewed FBI probe into the matter based on a previously unknown trove of emails.

“As soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicise it in the most negative light possible,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement on Sunday. “Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law,” Reid said, alleging that Comey had violated the Hatch Act, which bars the FBI from influencing elections.

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Clinton has demanded the FBI director explain in detail why he had effectively reopened an inquiry declared complete in July, branding Comey’s move “deeply troubling” so close to Election Day.

According to US media, the probe was renewed after agents seized a laptop used by Clinton’s close aide, Huma Abedin, and her now estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.

The disgraced former congressman who resigned in 2011 after sending explicit online messages is under investigation over allegations he sent sexual overtures to a 15-year-old girl.

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Both Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump have piled pressure on Comey to put his cards on the table and end speculation about the investigation before America goes to the polls on 8 November.

US networks reported on Sunday that the FBI had obtained a warrant to search the emails. It formerly had a warrant only to search Weiner’s laptop for communication with the teenager.

According to CNN, discovery of the emails occurred weeks ago although the FBI did not reveal the matter until Friday. While Clinton is still overwhelmingly expected to win the ballot, polls — many of which were taken before the FBI email announcement — showed the US election tightening yesterday.

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In the same memo, Reid also struck out at the FBI chief for sitting on “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors and the Russian government.”

“I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public,” Reid said.

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