Image: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds an unscheduled news conference to talk about FBI inquiries into her emails after a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
By Richard Cowan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top aides to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Saturday insisted there is “no evidence of wrongdoing” following the FBI’s notification to the U.S. Congress on Friday that it is again looking at Clinton’s use of a private server for emails when she was secretary of state.
“There’s no evidence of wrongdoing, no charge of wrongdoing,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told reporters by telephone.
Podesta, following up on calls by Clinton late on Friday, urged FBI Director James Comey to make public the details of any new developments in the case.
Podesta also complained that 24 hours after Comey’s letter was transmitted to Congress, “We have no real explanation of why Director Comey” sent it.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that senior Justice Department officials told Comey his letter to Congress was inconsistent with FBI policy of not commenting on ongoing investigations.
This latest controversy over Clinton emails has surfaced in the waning days of a bitter presidential campaign against Republican challenger Donald Trump. Election Day is on Nov. 8.
In July, Comey said the FBI would not seek to prosecute Clinton after looking into whether she may have handled classified material improperly in emails.
Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign worked to tamp down speculation of a voter backlash after Friday’s letter by Comey surfaced in which he said the FBI was taking “appropriate investigative steps” after learning of emails “that appear to be pertinent” to the earlier investigation.
Campaign manager Robby Mook said voters had already “factored” what they knew about the email investigation into their decision-making. “We don’t see it changing the landscape” for undecided voters, Mook said.
Sources close to the investigation on Friday said the latest emails were discovered as part of a separate probe into Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Weiner, a former U.S. congressman from New York, 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.
Trump, in campaign appearances on Friday, called the new development part of “the biggest political scandal since Watergate” that led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974.
With less than two weeks before the elections, both Trump and Clinton were scheduled to hold multiple campaign rallies later on Saturday.
In his remarks to reporters, Podesta complained that Comey’s letter to Congress was “light on facts, heavy on innuendo” and urged him to “come forward and give those answers to the American public” about the exact nature of the FBI’s latest review of emails.
(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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