Hillary Clinton gets clean chit from FBI, good news from polls on eve of Election Day

New York: FBI director James Comey, who had jolted Hillary Clinton's campaign by reopening an investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, wrote a letter on Sunday to Congress indicating the bureau had completed its review of thousands of emails and found no evidence of criminality.

“Since my letter, the FBI investigative team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation,” Comey wrote on Sunday to 16 members of the House and Senate.

“During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” he concluded with a shout out to the FBI for doing an "extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.”

File image of Hillary Clinton. AP

File image of Hillary Clinton. AP

Comey's letter exonerated Clinton, dispelling the dark clouds hanging over her head ahead of Tuesday's Election Day.

In July, the FBI had given a clean chit to Clinton and said it had finished its investigation into why Clinton had thought it was alright to use a private server while secretary of state. At the time, FBI Director James Comey had castigated Clinton for being “extremely careless,” but indicated there would no criminal charges filed in the case — much to the Democratic Party's relief.

Then on 28 October, in a dramatic U-turn Comey shot off a letter to Congress saying the team probing Clinton's server briefed him on new emails it found that might contain classified information. The new emails in the Clinton case were discovered after the FBI seized a computer shared by Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Voters were left in limbo as the FBI indicated it could take weeks to wade through thousands of emails.

As a result, Clinton lost momentum and the whole FBI probe cast a pall of gloom around her candidacy. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump pounced on the probe and spun wild theories in Republican rallies about how Clinton, if elected, could be jailed over her mishandling of classified information.

"You be the judge of how well the FBI handled this from start to finish. One imagines the Clinton campaign, on net, would still be mighty displeased with the way the last nine days played out. But now she’s absolved — again — depriving Trump of one of his most searing (if wholly hyperbolic) talking points: That if Clinton’s elected, our new president could be under indictment over her mishandling of emails," reported Slate.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters, "We’re glad this matter is resolved.”

Polls Speak for Hillary

A rash of new polls offer good news to Clinton although key battleground states are still hotly contested. Clinton has a four point lead over Trump in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll which finds 44 percent of likely voters support Clinton compared with 40 percent for Trump.

The survey also noted that "Clinton’s 4-point lead is less than half the 11-point edge she enjoyed in a mid-October" in a poll conducted by the Journal/NBC News survey, which was taken before the FBI's probe into Clinton's emails.

A Washington Post-ABC tracking poll says "Clinton leads by five points nationally as Trump personality concerns persist."

The weekend also offered a snapshot of where both the candidates stand in key battleground states. Clinton appears to have taken a slim early voting lead of 7,000 votes in Florida.

"Trump is almost assured a loss without Florida’s 29 Electoral College votes," reported Politico.

The US media reported on Sunday that Clinton has a big lead in early voting in Nevada which is often referred to as the Silver State. How does Nevada with its six electoral votes make a material difference to Clinton? According to political analysts, Clinton can then afford to lose potentially problematic New Hampshire to Trump and make it up with Nevada and coast over the 270 vote bar in the Electoral College math.


Updated Date: Nov 07, 2016 08:35 AM

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