With Clinton under fire, Trump turns up the heat
The reopening of the FBI’s probe into rival Hillary Clinton’s emails has given Donald Trump an unexpected boost before America goes to the polls on November 8
Donald Trump has stepped up his attacks on Hillary Clinton, exploiting the FBI’s decision to reopen a probe into her emails just days before the presidential election.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is corrosive to the soul of our nation, and it must be stopped,” Trump declared in Arizona.
The New York Times said the probe was renewed after agents found Clinton emails on a laptop used by her closest aide, Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, a disgraced former congressman who is under investigation over allegations he sent lewd text messages to an underage girl.
Trump pounced on the news, denouncing what he called Clinton’s “criminal and illegal conduct”, to chants of “Lock her up!”
“This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it’s everybody’s deepest hope that justice at last will be beautifully delivered,” Trump, 70, told a rally in Phoenix.
At the same time, Clinton and her aides also went on the attack, intensifying criticism of FBI chief James Comey as word emerged that he went above US Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s head by informing lawmakers in a letter on Friday of the new emails.
Clinton’s aggressive strategy contrasts with her bunker mentality in previous episodes of the controversy over her email practices at the State Department.
Her campaign is taking a calculated risk in publicly criticising Comey and pressing him to quickly release more detail when it may end up contradicting past statements or calling into question the judgment of Clinton or any of her advisers.
Every day she spends dealing with fallout from her use of a private email server while secretary of state is a day the media is not dwelling on Trump’s scandals.
Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine joined in bashing Comey on television. In an interview on ABC’s This Week he said as far as the campaign knows, Comey “knows nothing about the content of these emails”, adding that the campaign doesn’t know if the emails are to or from Clinton.
He dismissed the latest twist as a “distraction” and said the campaign will “power forward” during the last few days.
Meanwhile on Fox New Sunday, Trump’s vice-presidential pick Mike Pence said the new investigation shows Clinton is “a risky choice in this election”.
Clinton’s successor as secretary of state John Kerry was also quizzed on the issue during a visit to Ireland. He insisted the State Department knew nothing of the latest development.
“No, I haven’t been notified of anything, no, I haven’t been requested of anything, no, I’m not aware of the department being requested,” he said. “As an American ... there’s a lot I’d love to say about what has been going on. But I can’t,” he added.
Kerry also expressed his commitment to negotiations over the ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal between the US and the European Union.
However, Trump has condemned the deal as a job killer and Clinton said she would not pursue it if it undermines American workers.
Associated Press, Bloomberg, Agence France-Presse