Look who’s laughing now: FBI director clears Clinton in latest twist to email saga, angering Trump campaign

Dow Jones stock futures surge as James Comey says in letter to Congress that nothing in newly discovered emails changes the conclusion that charges against Clinton are not warranted

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 7:34am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 5:49pm

The FBI’s director has dropped another bombshell on the US presidential campaign, announcing that the bureau stands by its earlier recommendation that no criminal charges were warranted against Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton for using a private email server for government work.

James Comey made the announcement in a letter to Congress on Sunday, outraging the campaign of Republican candidate Donald Trump just two days before election day, saying the agency had worked “around the clock” to complete its review of newly discovered emails and found no reason to change its July finding.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures and the Mexican Peso both surged in apparent response to Comey’s announcement.

“During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state,” Comey said.

“We have not changed our conclusions expressed in July.”

A law enforcement source said the conclusion closes for now the FBI probe of Clinton’s email practices.

Comey informed Congress of the newly discovered emails more than a week ago, throwing the race for the White House into turmoil and eroding Clinton’s lead over Republican candidate Donald Trump in the final stretch before Tuesday’s vote.

Looking confident and combative, Clinton did not make reference to FBI announcement at a rally in Cleveland, Ohio.

“She does not want to engage in the emails back and forth with Trump or anyone,” a senior aide told CNN.

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Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon wrote added: “We’re glad this issue is resolved but for the record, this could easily have been learned before 1st letter was sent.”

Clinton supporters said there was now a stronger case for them to persuade undecided voters to vote for their candidate.

“Before, many people found either Hillary or Trump appealing,” said Eric Williams, a 24-year-old supporter at the Cleveland rally.

“Now this news may change their mind, especially in the face of a possible Trump administration if they don’t vote.”

Trump can no longer say Clinton is tainted and turn away from his own silly remarks
Clinton supporter Cindy Rempey

Cindy Rempey, who also joined the rally, said: “Trump can no longer say Clinton is tainted and turn away from his own silly remarks.”

Republicans, however, did not ease up on their criticism of Clinton.

“How would they have reviewed 600,009 emails in eight days?” said David Walter, a 24-year-old Trump supporter in Ohio.

Trump himself, campaigning in Michigan, challenged the FBI’s ability to review the newly discovered emails so quickly and argued Clinton was being protected by a “rigged system”.

Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it
Donald Trump

“Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it,” Trump declared.

“Now it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8.”

Kellyanne Conway, the campaign manager for Trump, also angrily cast doubt over whether the FBI was thorough enough to have cleared Clinton for a second time.

Conway told MSNBC that Comey “mishandled the investigation from the beginning.”

“She simply believes she’s above the law and always plays by her own rules,” House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, arguing that Clinton’s use of a private email server “compromised our national security.”

In financial trading Sunday evening, Dow Jones index futures jumped about 200 points ahead of Monday’s stock market opening on news of Comey’s announcement. The stock market, which is allergic to uncertainty close to Election Day, wilted after Comey’s notification to Congress in late October.

Mexico’s currency, which has tended to strengthen on signs Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign is faltering, climbed the most in almost a month.

The US dollar, meanwhile, gained about 1 per cent against the yen.

US stocks have taken a beating as the November 8 election race tightened, amid concerns a Trump victory could bring sharp shifts in US economic policy.

On Friday, the S&P 500 slid for the ninth straight session, its longest fall since 1980.

The latest emails were discovered as part of a separate probe of former Democratic US Representative Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Weiner is the target of an FBI investigation into illicit text messages he is alleged to have sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.

Federal investigators got a warrant a week ago to examine the emails to see if they were related to the probe into Clinton’s private server. Democrats reacted angrily to Comey’s intrusion into the race and demanded quick action in examining the emails.

“I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time,” Comey said on Sunday.

News of the renewed probe hurt Clinton’s poll numbers, with Trump cutting into her once formidable lead.

The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll shows Clinton with a 5 percentage point lead over the New York businessman in the national survey - 44 per cent to 39 per cent support - while races in the swing states of Florida and North Carolina have shifted from favouring Clinton to being too close to call.

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The Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project estimates that Clinton has a 90 per cent chance of winning the election.

Global financial markets last week slipped as polls showed the presidential race tightening. Weakness in oil prices raised concerns about low inflation and pushed US Treasury prices higher.

Additional reporting by Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse