Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid takes a heavy blow, and Donald Trump sees a big opportunity.
The stunning statement by FBI Director James Comey that agents are reviewing newly discovered information regarding Clinton emails rocked the presidential race this weekend, though analysts said it will be a few days before the campaigns know whether actual voters’ minds are being changed.
Certainly Trump sees the probe as an election-changing event, telling supporters in Colorado on Saturday that the “criminal and illegal conduct of Hillary Clinton” amounts to “the biggest political scandal since Watergate.”
As the crowd chanted “lock her up! lock her up!” Trump said that “Hillary has nobody to blame but herself for her mounting legal troubles.” He later added, repeatedly, that “she is so guilty,” and said that “a vote for Hillary is vote a to surrender our government to public corruption, graft and cronyism.”
Clinton and her aides, who are demanding that the FBI release more information about its review, said voters have already made up their minds about her use of a private email server while secretary of State.
“I think that’s factored into what people think,” Clinton told reporters in Des Moines on Friday, “and now they’re choosing a president.”
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said Comey needs to provide more details about the FBI’s review, telling reporters Saturday that “there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, no charge of wrongdoing, no indication that this is even about Hillary — it’s hard to see how this amounts to anything, and we’re not going to be distracted.”
At initial glance, it appears the new FBI development will benefit Trump, who trails Clinton in most national and swing-state polls, analysts said — maybe not by changing peoples’ minds, but by prompting equivocal voters to back the New York businessman.
“It re-frames the election as a referendum on Clinton and all the baggage she brings into office with her,” said Republican consultant Bruce Haynes, founding partner of Washington-based Purple Strategies. “It puts the spotlight squarely back on her, all her faults and all the truckloads of baggage she brings.”
There are more email stories to come.
In calling for more specific information from the FBI, Clinton and aides cited the vague nature of Comey’s letter to congressional leaders. Agents have not yet determined whether the new information is significant and cannot say whether they are duplicates of missives that were reviewed as part of a previous investigation into Clinton’s private server.
SOURCE: David Jackson