With Clinton on defense, Trump campaigns in blue states

AP Photo
AP Photo

WILTON MANORS, Fla. (AP) — Newly emboldened, Donald Trump is campaigning in traditionally Democratic states after the recent discovery of more emails that may be relevant to the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private system.

Clinton enters the final full week of the presidential race on defense once again.

Clinton, who was to campaign Monday across Ohio, vowed over the weekend that she would not be “knocked off course” in the election’s final days by the discovery of new emails in an unrelated sexting investigation. It is unclear what is contained in the emails or if any of them were sent or received by Clinton herself.

“I’m not stopping now, we’re just getting warmed up,” Clinton declared during a packed rally with gay and lesbian supporters in battleground Florida Sunday. “We’re not going to be distracted, no matter what our opponents throw at us.”

Trump, who had been trailing Clinton nationally and across key battleground states, campaigned with new vigor over the weekend as he seized on the news in an effort to boost his struggling candidacy. Trump heads to Michigan for a pair of rallies Monday — a state that last voted for the Republican nominee for president in 1988.

“The polls have come out and they have been amazing, even before the big blow-up on Friday,” Trump told a crowd of thousands packed into an airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico — another traditionally Democratic state that Trump said on Sunday night be believes he can win.

“Traditionally, you understand, Republicans aren’t quite there, right?” Trump told the crowd. “But this is a Republican who is there and we’re going to win this thing.”

Clinton’s advisers and fellow Democrats, furious over the vague letter sent by FBI Director James Comey to Congress Friday, have been pressuring him to release more details about the emails, including whether Comey had even reviewed them himself. The emails were found on a computer that appears to belong to disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s closest advisers.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who’s been featured in an ad for Clinton’s campaign, described Comey’s actions as “deeply troubling” and a violation of “longstanding Justice Department policies and tradition,” in an article published in the Washington Post on Monday.

A law enforcement official confirmed late Sunday that investigators had obtained a search warrant to begin the review of Abedin’s emails on Weiner’s computer. The official has knowledge of the investigation, but was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity. The official said investigators would move expeditiously but would not say when the review might be complete.

Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, said Comey owed it to the public to be more forthcoming about the emails under review by the FBI with the days ticking down to the Nov. 8 election. Calling Comey’s announcement “extremely puzzling,” Kaine said that if Comey “hasn’t seen the emails, I mean they need to make that completely plain.”

Comey’s actions Friday have roiled the White House race, energizing Trump as polls had shown him sliding and unnerved Democrats already worried about the presidency and down-ballot congressional races.

In a letter to Congress on Friday, Comey said the FBI had recently come upon new emails while pursuing an unrelated case and was reviewing whether they were classified.

Federal authorities in New York and North Carolina are investigating online communications between Weiner and a 15-year-old girl.

A law enforcement official said Sunday that FBI investigators in the Weiner sexting probe knew for weeks about the existence of the emails that might be relevant to the Clinton email investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Comey said he was briefed Thursday about that development and told Congress on Friday that investigators had found the emails. A second law enforcement official also said the FBI was aware for a period of time about the emails before Comey was briefed, but the second official wasn’t more specific.

Trump has praised Comey for his decision, declaring that he believes justice will finally be served.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Comey was in “an impossible spot” when he acknowledged the FBI was looking into the messages. “Had he sat on the information, one can argue that he also would be interfering in the election,” by failing to disclose the review, Conway said.

The controversy over Clinton’s email practices while she served as secretary of state has dogged her for more than a year.

Meanwhile, the campaigns continued their early voting push, with Democrats claiming an edge in Nevada and Colorado. New reports from the weekend found that more than 20 million voters had already cast ballots.

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Thomas reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Las Vegas and Albuquerque, and Eric Tucker, Lisa Lerer and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.