CEDAR RAPIDS, US: The FBI dealt Hillary Clinton’s seemingly unstoppable White House campaign a stunning blow Friday by reviving suspicions about her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state.
With just 11 days to go until America votes, Clinton’s Republican rival Donald Trump seized triumphantly on news that the agency is investigating a newly discovered batch of e-mails linked to the inquiry.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, Trump declared his Democratic opponent unfit for office as a jubilant crowd chanted: “Lock her up!“
Clinton was on a flight when the news broke and made no mention of the FBI probe — which had been declared complete three months earlier — in her own campaign speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
FBI director James Comey dropped the bombshell in a letter to congressional committees investigating allegations that Clinton put US secrets at risk during her time as secretary of state.
In July, Comey told lawmakers the FBI probe into Clinton’s unusual decision to use a private server instead of a government e-mail account while in office had concluded without finding wrongdoing.
But, writing Friday to “supplement” this decision, he said that “in connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
The FBI will thus take “appropriate investigative steps” to decide whether a new batch of mails contains classified information “as well as to assess their importance to the investigation.”
Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta responded furiously to Comey’s letter, demanding that he provide more information to allow voters to judge for themselves.
“It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election,” he declared, accusing Trump’s camp of “browbeating” FBI investigators.
“The director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining,” Podesta added.
“We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.”
According to the New York Times, the newly discovered mails emerged after agents seized electronic devices belonging to Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden tops a short list for secretary of state that is being compiled by the transition team of Clinton, two media outlets reported.
Politico have cited an unidentified source as saying Clinton and her aides were discussing how to approach Biden about the post, should she win the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Most national opinion polls show Clinton, who served as President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state, leading Republican Donald Trump in the race for the White House.
Biden became a respected voice on foreign policy during his 36 years in the US Senate, where he was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and at one point served alongside Clinton, when she was a senator from New York.
“He’d be great, and they are spending a lot of time figuring out the best way to try to persuade him to do it if she wins,” the source familiar with Clinton’s transition planning told Politico.
NBC News later confirmed that Biden was under consideration for the job of top US diplomat.
Biden, of Delaware, had considered running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. He has campaigned vigorously for Clinton in her race against Trump, a New York real estate tycoon and former reality television personality who has never run for office.