WASHINGTON (CBSLA/AP) — The FBI says it will investigate whether there is classified information in newly discovered emails that appear to be related to its probe of Hillary Clinton’s email practices, reinjecting one of the most toxic political issues into the presidential campaign less than two weeks before Election Day.
The new emails came from a sexting investigation of Anthony Weiner, a U.S. official said, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to comment publicly. Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who now is a top official on her campaign team.
In a letter sent Friday to congressional leaders, FBI Director James Comey says that new emails have come to light recently that have prompted investigators to take another look at the sensitive government information that flowed through the private email sever Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.
It was not clear from Comey’s letter where the new emails came from or who sent or received them.
Early Friday afternoon, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, called on Comey to “immediately provide the American public more information” related to the bureau’s review of emails tied to the probe into her private server.
“FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen,” Podesta said.
In response to the announcement, CBS News reported House Speaker Paul Ryan called for “a suspension of all classified briefings for Hillary Clinton until email matters are fully resolved.
Donald Trump immediately pounced on the turn of events, seeing an opportunity to press the argument he’s long tried to make against Clinton: That she thinks she’s above the law and that she put U.S. security at risk by using her personal email.
The GOP nominee told cheering supporters at his first campaign rally of the day that he has “great respect” for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now “willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made” in concluding the investigation earlier.
Trump said of Clinton, “We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office. … This is bigger than Watergate.”
Clinton made no mention of the FBI development at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, though she warned her supporters, “Anything can happen” in the campaign’s closing days.
But her campaign was fending off other political problems as well, still trying dismiss the revelations in thousands of messages stolen from the private account of a top Clinton aide, part of a hack the Democratic campaign has blamed on the Russians.
Correspondence made public on Wednesday showed longtime Bill Clinton aide Doug Band describing overlapping relationships of the Clintons’ global philanthropy and the family’s private enrichment.
“These are illegally stolen documents,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters on her campaign plane. “We’re not going to spend our campaign fighting back what the Russians want this to be about.”
Recent surveys show Clinton retaining her lead in national polls and making gains in some swing states. Her campaign announced plans to hold a rally in Arizona next Wednesday, a traditionally red state put in play by Trump’s deep unpopularity among minority voters, Mormons and business leaders.
Feeling confident, she’s begun focusing on helping Democrats win control of the Senate, expand their margin in the House and lay the groundwork for future victories in demographically-shifting states like Arizona.
Trump, meanwhile, was holding Friday events in New Hampshire, Iowa and Maine, one of two states that split their electoral voters by congressional district. Facing an increasingly narrow path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House, his campaign is shooting for one of the traditionally Democratic state’s four electoral votes in the more rural, conservative 2nd District.
A pro-Clinton political action committee announced it filed a complaint with the Justice Department against Comey for “interfering in the Presidential election.”
“It is absolutely absurd that FBI Director Comey would support Donald Trump like this with only 11 days to go before the election,” said Scott Dworkin, Senior Advisor to the Democratic Coalition Against Trump. “It is an obvious attack from a lifelong Republican who used to serve in the Bush White House, just to undermine her campaign. Comey needs to focus on stopping terrorists and protecting America, not investigating our soon to be President-Elect Hillary Clinton.”
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