/ 29 October 2016

FBI: Blow for Hillary Clinton as FBI reopens email investigation

US presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop and speech in Los Angeles
US presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes a campaign stop and speech in Los Angeles

The FBI has informed Congress it is investigating whether there is classified information in new emails that have emerged in its probe of Hillary Clinton’s private server. The FBI said in July its investigation was finished.

The disclosure on Friday raises the possibility of the FBI reopening the criminal investigation involving the Democratic presidential nominee just days before the election, although it is not clear if that will happen.

In a letter sent to congressional leaders, FBI Director James Comey said 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. WikiLeaks has published tens of thousands of confidential emails from Clinton campaign insiders that US intelligence officials have said were hacked in a series of cyberattacks they blamed on the Russian government.

The FBI, which did not respond to an AFP request for comment about Comey’s letter, is investigating the recent hacks. 

‘Not as rigged as I thought’

Within minutes of the news, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump used Comey’s new letter to attack Clinton on the campaign trail.

He said the political system “might not be as rigged as I thought” now that the FBI has decided to investigate new emails found.

At a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump praised the FBI, saying “I think they are going to right the ship, folks.”

That is a new tune for Trump, who has repeatedly complained that the Washington establishment has rigged the political system against him.

Trump added that he was “very proud” of the FBI, an about-face after weeks of being critical of the bureau’s decision not to recommend charges against Clinton.

“Perhaps finally justice will be done,” Trump said, accusing Clinton of orchestrating a “criminal scheme”.

A yearlong investigation by the FBI focused on whether Clinton sent or received classified information using the private server located in the basement of her New York home, which was not authorised to handle such messages.

Comey said in July that his agents did not find evidence to support any criminal charges or direct evidence that Clinton’s private server was hacked. He suggested that hackers working for a foreign government may have been so sophisticated they would not have left behind any evidence of a break-in. – Al Jazeera