The FBI's New Hillary Clinton Email Probe May Not Affect Her Win, But It Could Change Her Presidency
On Friday, the FBI announced that it was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private server while serving as secretary of state and will review additional emails. With just 11 days until Election Day — and with Clinton carrying an impressive lead against Donald Trump into the homestretch — the announcement raises serious concerns. What does the reopened investigation mean for the Democratic presidential nominee, who was set to cruise to a presidential victory? Update: According to the Associated Press, a U.S. official has clarified that "newly discovered emails related to Clinton investigation did not come from her private server."
It's not yet clear what effect the FBI's announcement will have on the presidential race. It would be highly, highly unlikely that the news would trigger something as extreme as Clinton dropping out of the race. Moreover, this late in the game, the news may not even hinder Clinton's lead in a significant way. As is, millions of Americans have already cast their ballots. Still, it's hard not to imagine that the FBI probe wouldn't deter from her victory, if not her presidency.
In a letter to Republican committee chairmen, FBI Director James Comey wrote that after probing an "unrelated case," the agency "learned of the existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation." As a result of uncovering these new emails, Comey wrote that he "agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation." Comey did state in his letter that he "cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant."
Clinton's Republican opponent was quick to respond to the FBI's new probe, saying at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, that Clinton's "corruption is on a scale that we've never seen before." House Speaker Paul Ryan called on the Director of National Intelligence to halt giving the intel briefings that are standard for major party presidential candidates to Clinton.
In July, Comey recommended that the Justice Department not file any criminal charges against Clinton for the way she handled classified information, though noted she was "extremely careless" with her use of a private server. It is unclear now what would be on the table with this reopened investigation into Clinton's emails.