FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers Sunday the agency hasn’t changed its opinion that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges after a review of new emails.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July,” Comey wrote in the new letter to congressional committee chairmen.
Comey dropped a bombshell on the presidential race last month when he sent a letter to Congress saying the FBI had discovered emails in a separate investigation that could be connected to the now-closed probe of whether Clinton mishandled classified information. The move infuriated Democrats and emboldened Republican nominee Donald Trump.
It’s impossible to know before results are tallied what impact Comey’s actions first raising a vaguely worded red flag 11 days out, and then lowering it two days from the election — will have on the contest. But the news could help Clinton put to rest a controversy that has dogged her in the 2016 race’s closing days, helping Trump narrow a polling gap nationally and in key battleground states.
Trump assailed the FBI’s handling of the matter, though he did not directly address Comey’s announcement at a rally in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
“You can’t review 650,000 new emails in eight days. You can’t do it, folks,” Trump said, adding, “Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it, and now it’s up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8.”
Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, blasted Comey’s handling of the review.
“Today’s letter makes Director Comey’s actions nine days ago even more troubling,” Feinstein said in a statement. “There’s no doubt that it created a false impression about the nature of the agency’s inquiry.”
She added: “The Justice Department needs to take a look at its procedures to prevent similar actions that could influence future elections.”
Franken: Comey should answer Congress' questions