UPDATED with statement from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman: “FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairman,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta blasted in a statement issued this afternoon.
“Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the Director himself notes they may not even be significant,” Podesta added, calling it “extraordinary” that Comey would make this move just 11 days before the election. [Read full statement below].
The new emails were discovered after the FBI seized devices belonging to Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin, and her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, the NYT reported. The bureau is investigating text messages Weiner sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, NBC News reported.
Vanity Fair contributing editor Kurt Eichenwald, meanwhile, tweeted:
Previous, 12:01 PM: TV news operations were left vamping after Hillary Clinton wrapped a campaign speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa without addressing news FBI director James Comey reviewing new information related to the candidate’s personal email server.
The Comey news had come as a happy surprise to the new operations this morning, what with ratings-magnet debate season wrapped, Donald Trump’s taped groping boast storyline losing steam, and 11 days to go until Election Day. The FBI said in July it had wrapped its Clinton email investigation.
Clinton, who had been on a 2.5 hour flight from New York to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on which wi-fi was not working, when the news broke, so – irony of ironies – she and her entourage were not able to get emails alerting them to the news. She did not immediately respond.
GOP nom Donald Trump did comment:
“I need to open with a very critical breaking news announcement,” an elated Trump told supporters at a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire. “The FBI has just sent a letter to Congress informing them that they have discovered new emails pertaining the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s investigation.”
“Lock Her Up! Lock Her Up!” the crowd suggested.
“And they are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America,” he continued. “Perhaps, finally, justice will be done.” He explained his appearance at the event had been delayed while he absorbed the news from Comey.
In the absence of any response from Clinton, Trump’s comments are being replayed this afternoon by TV news networks – though not at the clip they’d replayed that 2005 Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted about groping women when they were feasting on that storyline earlier this month.
In between those plays, TV news political pundits agreed the FBI does not typically complete an investigation in 11 days, that the politically savvy FBI director had thrown a bomb into the presidential race though it is customary for the FBI to stay well away from political races. The pundits agreed it was highly unlikely the FBI director would have made this stunning move unless something had emerged requiring serious investigation, adding their hope that details would soon emerge.
Also much talk about Clinton’s uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, what with so many of these TV talking heads having pronounced Trump toast after release of that Access Hollywood tape and those 11-ish women women who have claimed Trump did just that to them. (Trump has denied all claims and said he will sue the women after the election, suggesting he may also sue NBC over the hot mic).
Podesta’s full statement:
In response to the letter sent by FBI Director James Comey to eight Republican committee chairman in Congress, Hillary for America Chair John Podesta released the following statement Friday:
“Upon completing this investigation more than three months ago, FBI Director Comey declared no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with a case like this and added that it was not even a close call. In the months since, Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been baselessly second-guessing the FBI and, in both public and private, browbeating the career officials there to revisit their conclusion in a desperate attempt to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen. Already, we have seen characterizations that the FBI is ‘reopening’ an investigation but Comey’s words do not match that characterization. Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the Director himself notes they may not even be significant.
“It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election.
“The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.”