In what could be a game-changing development, two days ahead of the much awaited US presidential polls, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has given a clean chit to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The probe agency said it has not changed its view after a renewed probe into her use of private email server as secretary of state.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” FBI Director James B Comey told Congress leaders in a letter.
The move has come as a big relief for the 69-year-old former secretary of state. Last week the FBI had launched a fresh probe into a cache of recently discovered emails that had triggered a backlash from the Democratic camp and dented Clinton’s popularity.
“Since my letter (of October 28), the FBI investigation team has been working around the clock to process and review a large volume of emails from a device obtained in connection with an unrelated criminal investigation…During that process, we reviewed all the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was the Secretary of State,” Comey added.
In the letter sent to the Congress on July 28, Comey had said the FBI has reopened the investigation following discovery of some pertinent emails on the laptop of Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin which was shared by the latter’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner.
“We are glad to see that he (Comey) has found, as we were confident that he would, that he had confirmed the conclusions he reached in July and we are glad that this matter is resolved,” Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s communications director, told reporters.
Republican rival Donald Trump, who had seized on to the reignited controversy following the FBI’s decision of the renewed probe, has now cried foul. He alleged that Clinton was being protected by a “rigged system” and that it was “unbelievable, what she gets away with”.
After the FBI had revealed that there were 650,000 emails on that laptop, Trump said, “You can’t review 650,000 emails in eight days…You can’t do it folks. Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it. FBI knows it. Now, it is up to the people of the United States to deliver justice.”
Clinton’s popularity had briefly plummeted and some polls predicted that Trump had moved ahead of her in the Presidential race.
(With inputs from agencies)