FBI stands by decision not to charge Hillary Clinton

James Comey tells Congress review of new emails has ‘not changed our conclusions’

The FBI has found no evidence of criminality by Hillary Clinton in a new batch of emails discovered last month, its director James Comey has said.

In a letter to members of Congress, Mr Comey said the agency had completed its review of the emails and concluded there was no basis for bringing charges against the Democratic nominee for president.

Mr Comey's announcement last month that the FBI was reviewing newly-discovered emails potentially relevant to its investigation into Mrs Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state caused a sensation and gave Republican candidate Donald Trump a boost as the campaign entered its final stretch.

However, Mr Comey told members of Congress on Sunday the FBI had not changed the conclusions it arrived at in July, when it found there were no grounds for bringing charges against Mrs Clinton over the email server.

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“The FBI investigative 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,” he wrote. “During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state.”

Illicit text messages

Mr Comey thanked FBI agents for doing “an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short period of time.” The emails were found on a seized laptop belonging to the disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Mr Weiner is the target of an FBI investigation into illicit text messages he is alleged to have sent to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina.

NBC reported that nearly all the emails found on Mr Weiner’s laptop were duplicates of emails the FBI had already reviewed.

Mr Comey’s latest intervention, by nullifying a topic that had given Mr Trump traction on the campaign trail, will give Mrs Clinton a fillip as she enters the final day of the campaign. Responding to the news, Clinton spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said the campaign was “glad the matter is resolved.”

Frantic efforts

Meanwhile, the two candidates will race through vital swing states today as they make frantic efforts to shore up their support on the last full day of the campaign.

A flurry of opinion polls on Sunday showed Mrs Clinton maintaining her lead nationwide, but key states such as Florida and Ohio are still too close to call. Early voting patterns from the hard-fought battleground state of Nevada, which showed a high turnout in areas with large contingents of Hispanic voters, brought encouraging news for Mrs Clinton, but Mr Trump said he was "doing phenomenally" in the Democratic stronghold of Minnesota.

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic is an Assistant Editor of The Irish Times