The Cable

FBI Is Reviewing New Emails in Clinton’s Private Email Case

The FBI review of additional emails is already giving Republicans ammunition to attack the Democratic presidential nominee.


Just when Hillary Clinton thought the controversy over her use of private emails was done, the FBI has pulled her back in.

FBI Director James Comey said on Friday he would review new messages after the bureau “has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to this investigation.” He wrote this in a letter to several House and Senate committee chairmen.

Comey said he was briefed on the emails Thursday, and “agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps” to “determine whether they include classified information” and to “assess their importance to our investigation.”

The FBI chief cautioned that it is too soon to tell whether or not the new messages were significant. He also did not provide a timetable for the investigation, so there’s a strong chance this inquiry won’t be completed until after the presidential election on Nov. 8.

In July, Comey announced that the initial inquiry into Clinton’s use of a homebrew server while secretary of state would be closed without criminal charges, but he did criticize the Democratic presidential nominee for what he called the “extremely careless” handling of sensitive information.

The news comes at an inconvenient time for the Democratic nominee. She’s ahead in nearly every national poll, but daily leaks of her email have forced her campaign to constantly address the issue.

Already, Republicans were attempting to make political hay of the latest development. Not long after the news of the FBI’s decision broke, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, “Hillary Clinton has nobody but herself to blame. She was entrusted with some of our nation’s most important secrets, and she betrayed that trust by carelessly mishandling highly classified information. This decision, long overdue, is the result of her reckless use of a private email server, and her refusal to be forthcoming with federal investigators.”

On the campaign trail, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has said he would seek to put Clinton in jail if he wins the Oval Office, also took his opponent to task. Speaking in New Hampshire, Trump praised the FBI for being “now willing to right the horrible mistake that they made” by not bringing criminal charges against Clinton. He added voters can’t let her “bring her criminal enterprise” into the Oval Office, as the crowd shouted “Lock her up!”

Clinton’s campaign has yet to respond to the latest developments. The Democratic nominee had just landed in Iowa for a campaign stop when the news broke Friday afternoon.

Photo credit: MARK WILSON/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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