Elections

FBI reviewing new evidence in Clinton email investigation

FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to lawmakers about potential new evidence relating to Hillary Clinton. (credit: Courtesy of the FBI via Wikimedia Commons) FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to lawmakers about potential new evidence relating to Hillary Clinton. (credit: Courtesy of the FBI via Wikimedia Commons)

On Oct. 28, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began reviewing new evidence in its investigation into the email scandal that has dogged Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during this election cycle.

The FBI’s decision stems from the discovery of new emails that had not turned up during the course of the FBI’s initial investigation. “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” FBI director James Comey said in a note to congressional committee chairs. “I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I 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.”

The decision to look further into the investigation of Clinton’s emails stems from the discovery of these emails during the bureau’s investigation into one of the former New York congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandals. During their investigation into allegations that Weiner had sent sexual messages to a 15-year old girl in North Carolina, the FBI seized a laptop that contained emails exchanged between Huma Abedin, Weiner’s estranged wife and a top Clinton aide, Clinton, and other members of the Clinton campaign. While many contend that most of these emails will be duplicates of those already turned over to the FBI, the FBI will go ahead with investigating the new pieces of evidence.

Further compounding headaches over the email scandal include continued releases from Wikileaks. One email from then-CNN contributor and current DNC interim chairwoman Donna Brazile gave Clinton aides a question that would be asked in advance of a Mar. 6 debate against Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). A later email showed that Brazile intended to “send a few more.” Wikileaks has vowed to publish 50,000 hacked emails before the election concludes, though it is unlikely the FBI will take them into consideration in its investigation.

What remains to be seen is if this October surprise will dramatically impact the election tomorrow. An October surprise is something that happens the month before the election that can change the race or cement a candidate’s victory. The term first came to use in 1972 after National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger held a press conference saying “peace is at hand,” referring to the Vietnam War. In 2004, a video from Osama bin Laden put the spotlight on the War on Terror, helping President George W. Bush win reelection. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy served as the October surprise, as President Barack Obama immediately went to work doing what he could to help mitigate the disaster, drawing praise from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Americans then decided that the president could be trusted with four more years in office.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has pushed the narrative that the Democrats can’t be trusted, specifying Clinton’s emails and an average 25 percent increase in health insurance premiums for midlevel benchmark plans before subsidies. The polls have tightened up, as shown by the changes in the Real Clear Politics national average from a 4.6 point Clinton lead on Oct. 28 to a 1.6 point Clinton lead on Nov. 4.

Still, early voting may mitigate the damage done to the Clinton campaign, and at this point, most voters have already come to grips with either accepting Clinton’s flaws over Trump’s, refusing her in support of Trump, or opposing both major party candidates. It is not likely that any major revelations will come within such a short time frame that can dramatically change anyone’s mind on who the next president will be.