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FBI chief says no change in conclusion over Hillary Clinton's email server probe

2016-November-7       Source: Xinhuanet.com

Two days before the U.S. Election Day, FBI Directer James Comey informed U.S. House members that FBI has not changed its July advice not to charge Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of personal email server during her stay in the State Department.

U.S. FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Oversight Committee over investigation into Hillary Clinton's email system, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, July 7, 2016. U.S. FBI Director James Comey on Thursday defended his decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, but refuted several of her statements to justify the use of private email setup as secretary of state. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan)

Two days before the U.S. Election Day, FBI Directer James Comey informed U.S. House members that FBI has not changed its July advice not to charge Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of personal email server during her stay in the State Department.

"Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton", Comey said in a letter to several key members of Congress released on Sunday.

The news is immediately seen as a strong boost for Clinton's campaign morale.

Comey said the FBI had been working around the clock and finished its review over all new emails from Anthony Weiner's laptop and found nothing to change its position. Weiner is estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's top aides.

"We are glad to see he has found - as we were confident he would - that he has confirmed the conclusions he reached in July and we're glad this matter is resolved," said Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign.

Donald Trump, Clinton's Republican rival, appeared in a rally at Minnesota shortly after Comey's letter went public. However, he didn't make explicit mention of the news but continued to call Clinton the most corrupt person to ever seek the U.S. presidency.

"Hillary Clinton will be under investigation for a long, long time ... likely concluding in a criminal trial," Trump said, as supporters chanted "lock her up", according to a TheHill daily news report.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz made waves Sunday afternoon as the first person to tweet about the FBI letter.

"While the original letter should never have been sent so close to an election, the expeditious review of these emails should put to rest-once and for all," said Republican lawmaker Adam Schiff, member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Comey dropped a bombshell at the end of last month by informing the Congress that the FBI was reviewing a new trove of emails which might lead to the reopening of the probe over Clinton's email server that ended in July, creating the last round of the so-called October Surprise in this year's rocky presidential race.

Since then, a series of polls show that Clinton's previously significant lead over her Republican rival Donald Trump has dramatically narrowed, putting the two candidates in a tight race.

The FBI new investigation may solidify Trump's base and dampen enthusiasm among Clinton supporters, causing some of them to stay home on the Nov. 8 Election Day, experts said last week.

There are a number of opinions over whether Comey should have re-opened the investigation. Supporters say no one is above the law, let alone a veteran political insider like Clinton, but opponents say the FBI's move is essentially a government agency stepping in and influencing an election, in a system in which law enforcement is supposed to butt out of the electoral process.

However, some critics also argue Clinton's use of a private email account, instead of a secure, government-issued one, could jeopardize U.S. national security, as it could be easier hacked by foreign powers.

The new trove of emails were discovered during the FBI probe of Weiner's alleged texting of sexual content to an underage 15-year-old girl.

In July, Comey said Clinton had been careless but not criminal in handling sensitive material on her private server while serving as secretary of state.

Editor: Will

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