Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will not face charges over newly discovered emails, FBI Director James Comey announced on Sunday.
In a letter written to congressional committee chairmen Comey wrote:
“Since my [October 28] letter, 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. During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”
Comey has faced backlash since his October 28 announcement just 11 days before the election that new emails of Clinton’s were discovered on a separate laptop belonging to former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner (N.Y.). The timing and nature of Comey’s announcement raised considerable questions, especially since the FBI did not yet know the nature of the emails at the time of his announcement.
According to an anonymous federal law enforcement official, most of the emails were either duplicates of ones already discovered or personal.
Democratic senators are now calling for a review of how Comey handled the newest emails. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) suggested the Department of Justice “take a look at its procedures to prevent similar actions that could influence future elections.”
“Today’s letter makes Director Comey’s actions nine days ago even more troubling,” she said in a statement. “There’s no doubt that it created a false impression about the nature of the agency’s inquiry.”
Democrats are not alone in this regard. Former Attorney General Eric J. Holder, along with dozens of other former Justice Department officials (from Democratic and Republican administrations), wrote an open letter to express their criticism of Comey’s decision, calling his letter “inconsistent with prevailing Department policy” and saying it deviates from long held practices “followed by officials of both parties during past elections.”
“Many of us have worked with Director Comey; all of us respect him,” the letter states. “But his unprecedented decision to publicly comment on evidence in what may be an ongoing inquiry just eleven days before a presidential election leaves us both astonished and perplexed. We cannot recall a prior instance where a senior Justice Department official Republican or Democrat has, on the eve of a major election, issued a public statement where the mere disclosure of information may impact the election’s outcome, yet the official acknowledges the information to be examined may not be significant or new.”
Battleground State: Florida
Officials from both parties are now questioning what impact if any Comey’s announcement will have on tomorrow’s election. Most polls currently show a tight race, with a Los Angeles Times electoral prediction showing a Clinton victory. A November 1-4 Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Republican nominee Trump 48 percent to 43 percent nationally.
In battleground state Florida, which many political analysts consider vital to win the election, a FiveThirtyEight poll currently shows a slight Trump lead, 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent. But Clinton has consistently shown a lead with Latino voters, who could garner Clinton enough votes to win the state.
The National Council of La Raza, a nonprofit group with a 91.36 score onCharity Navigator helping Latinos get out the vote, endorsed Clinton the first time the group endorsed a presidential candidate thanks to her repeated outreach to the Latino community.
In Florida, the Clinton campaign estimates early Latino voting is up 139 percent, or more than twice as much, compared to 2012, according to a field report dated Wednesday.
Democratic strategist Steve Schale, a Florida expert, estimated that 170,000 more Hispanics had voted early or by mail as of Wednesday than had voted early or by mail in the entire 2012 election, according to a post on his blog.
“And keep in mind, because Hispanic is a self-identifying marker, studies have found that the real Hispanic vote is larger than the registration. So while Hispanics might make up 14.2 percent of the voters who have voted so far, in reality, the number is larger,” he wrote.
Latino groups have mobilized to register voters and push for a Clinton victory. Voto Latino, a nonprofit group with an 81.22 score on Charity Navigator, announced last week a new campaign called “My Ride to Vote.” According to a press release, My Ride to Vote will fund rides from Lyft, a ridesharing service, to provide transportation for voters who will otherwise not be able to make it to the polls.
“With this campaign, we aim to help underrepresented voters exercise their rights as citizens,” said Anna Soellner, co-founder of My Ride to Vote. “For people who are under immense family, work or financial pressure, having a convenient ride to the polls can mean the difference between voting and staying at home. Our mission is to assist those in greatest need to exercise their sacred, civic duty.”
Reuters material contributed to this report.