Hillary dented but defiant over resurgent 'Emailgate' revelations

Hillary dented but defiant over resurgent 'Emailgate' revelations
In the wake of new revelations on Friday the FBI has re-opened investigations into Clinton's email practices as she headed to Florida, and a rejuvenated Trump campaign labelled Clinton "corrupt".
4 min read
29 October, 2016
Polls suggest Clinton's lead in the presidential race has narrowed [Getty]

Hillary Clinton was heading for the crucial state of Florida on Saturday in her bid to become US President as her campaign attempts to get back back on track after news broke on Friday the FBI has begun to reexaime her email practices.

The news provided ammunition to rival Donald Trump to re-energise his own badly flagging campaign. 

As Clinton targeted voters in Florida on Saturday, Trump was in boisterous spirits as he stumped for votes in the western states of Colorado and Arizona. 

Clinton is still the frontrunner to win the election scheduled for 8 November, with early voting in 34 of the United States’ 50 states meaning a total of more than 18 million votes having already been cast. 

Damaging revelations

However, her campaign has taken a battering from the recent revelation regarding her administrations purported email malpractice with the latest ABC/Washington Post survey suggesting the Democratic nominee holds a 47 percent to 45 percent lead over Trump on Saturday, a considerable fall from her 12-point lead in the same poll a week ago. 

Other polls put Clinton further ahead. 

Trump has seized on the latest revelation taking the opportunity to describe the former First Lady as “corrupt” comparing the scandal to Watergate. 

"The investigation is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and it's everybody's hope that justice at last can be delivered," Trump told supporters at a rally in Iowa on Friday night, referring to the political scandal that felled former president Richard Nixon.

The Clinton campaign has been plagued by investigations into her use of private emails when dealing with state affairs, an issue that has raised issues of transparency but appeared to have been put to rest in July when the FBI recommended that no charges be filed over the affair. 

This decision now seems to have been re-assessed after thousands of new emails reportedly emerged after FBI agents seized electronic devices used by Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin, and her husband, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, currently under investigation accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a 15 year-old girl. 

"Confident" voters will maintain faith

Clinton has since struck a defensive posture asking the FBI to reveal more about the probe and claiming to remain “confident” that votes would continue to maintain faith.

"The American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately," she said. "We don't know the facts, which is why we are calling on the FBI to release all the information that it has.”

While Clinton has downplayed the scandal Republicans have pointed to them as evidence of a larger saga of Clinton corruption. 

However the amount of work required to review thousands of email messages makes it unlikely that the FBI will reach any conclusions before the election.

"We've seen it for 30 years, the zebra is not going to change its stripes. This is what we can expect out of a Clinton presidency," Sean Spicer, Republican National Committee chief strategist and communications director, told CNN on Saturday.

Questions about Libya

Although news of the re-opening of investigations could detrimentally affect Clinton’s campaign, no investigation is likely to be complete before November 8. 

On Saturday, Wikileaks posted a message on Twitter suggesting that Clinton’s team was guilty of sending private emails discussing the US role in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya against Muammar Gaddafi. 

The posted tweet refers to an email chain from March 2015 in which a number of Clinton aides appear panicked by the investigations of New York Times journalist Mike Schmidt into the email scandal, and how the revelation of particular emails could influence proceedings into a House Select Committee investigation into the September 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi that lead to the death of US Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stephens.

In one particular email, Schmidt pinpoints Clinton aide Jake Sullivan as using private emails to talk with Clinton about plans to overthrow the Gaddafi regime. 

In June the House Select Committee Investigation into the Benghazi attacks concluded that the US State Department, under Clinton’s stewardship at that time, had failed to adequately protect US diplomats in Libya, and had underestimated how dangerous Libya was in the midst of a revolution that had lead to the toppling of Gaddafi a year earlier.