The FBI today gave a clean chit to Hillary Clinton, saying it has not changed its view after a renewed probe into her use of private email server as secretary of state, a development seen as a game changer for the Democratic presidential candidate.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” FBI Director James B Comey told Congress leaders in a letter.
The move, just before the general elections tomorrow, came as relief to the 69-year-old former secretary of state following the agency’s announcement of launching a fresh probe into a cache of recently discovered emails that had triggered a backlash from the Democratic camp and dented Clinton’s popularity.
Republican rival Donald Trump, who had seized on to the reignited controversy following the FBI’s decision of the renewed probe, criticised the latest development, saying Clinton is being protected by a “rigged system” and that it is “unbelievable, what she gets away with”.
A similar letter was sent to the Congress on 28 July in which Comey had said the FBI has reopened the investigation following discovery of some pertinent emails on the laptop of Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin which was shared by the latter’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner.
“Since my letter (of 28 October), the FBI investigation team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation,” Comey said. It was reported that there were 650,000 emails on that laptop.
“During that process, we reviewed all the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was the Secretary of State,” Comey said.
The FBI’s letter was welcomed by the Clinton campaign, which saw its popularity graph sharply dropping down in the aftermath of the 28 October letter.
“We were always confident nothing would cause the July decision to be revisited. Now Director Comey has confirmed it,” tweeted Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon.
“We are glad to see that he has found, as we were confident that he would, that he had confirmed the conclusions he reached in July and we are glad that this matter is resolved,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, told reporters.
Clinton, who was campaigning in Cleveland, however, did not make any mention of it in her address.
Trump challenged the FBI’s statement, saying: “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days.”
“You can’t do it folks. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. FBI knows it. Now, it is up to the people of the United States to deliver justice,” the 70-year-old real estate tycoon told supporters in a Detroit suburb in Michigan.