Clinton on offensive as new e-mails emerge

31 October 2016 - 09:36 By ©The Telegraph/Bloomberg/AFP

Hillary Clinton's campaign hopes its unusually swift response to revelations that the FBI was in possession of new e-mails regarding its investigation into her private e-mail server will blunt the political damage ahead of the presidential election. With eight days to go to the election, Clinton went on the attack, intensifying criticism of James Comey as it emerged that the FBI had defied Attorney-General Loretta Lynch by informing legislators of the newly discovered e-mails.Clinton's aggressive strategy contrasts with her bunker mentality in previous episodes of the controversy that she used a private server while secretary of state.Her campaign is taking a calculated risk in publicly criticising Comey and putting pressure on him to release more details. Should new information contradict past statements or call into question the judgment of Clinton or any of her advisers, it could be damaging.Her rival Donald Trump told an audience in Phoenix the "only reason" Comey felt the need to tell legislators of the newly discovered e-mails is that "very, very serious things must be happening and must have been found. Very, very serious."The decision is a boost to Trump, who has shaped his campaign around attacks on "Crooked Hillary" and what he says is her dishonesty.Trump said it was everybody's "deepest hope" that justice would be "properly delivered"."Hillary has nobody to blame but herself for her mounting legal troubles," he said, adding that the debacle "was the lowest point for our country".Within 24 hours of being blindsided by Comey's revelation to Congress that the FBI had come across new e-mails, Clinton's campaign sent a memo to dozens of its surrogates. It detailed talking points and suggested wording for casting doubt on Comey's decision and Republicans' spin and spreading the idea that the e-mails may simply be duplicates of those already reviewed or have nothing to do with the nominee.Democrats questioned the timing of the agency's decision, which comes as polls showed Clinton's lead dropping sharply just 10 days before the presidential election."This is like an 18-wheeler smacking into us and it just becomes a huge distraction at the worst possible time," said Donna Brazile, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.Clinton's campaign has been overshadowed from the start by allegations she put US secrets at risk by using a private server based in her home for all e-mail correspondence as secretary of state.The New York Times said the probe was renewed after agents seized a laptop used by Clinton's closest aide Huma Abedin and her now estranged husband Anthony Weiner.Weiner, a former congressman, is under investigation over allegations he made sexual overtures to a 15-year-old girl.In July Comey criticised Clinton's handling of sensitive information but recommended no charges be brought.

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