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Democratic Hillary Clinton Blames FBI Director James Comey for Her US Presidential Election Defeat

Three people who took part in Clinton's telephonic conference recounted her analysis of the election outcome

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pauses as she speaks during a campaign rally in Raleigh, N.C., Nov. 8, 2016. VOA
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November 12, 2016: In a telephone call to her campaign donors, Hillary Clinton has blamed FBI Director James Comey for her defeat in the U.S. presidential election, saying his reopening of a probe into her use of a private email server broke the momentum of her campaign.

Nearly every national opinion poll showed Democrat Clinton leading Republican challenger Donald Trump in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, but he scored surprising wins across the country when vote counting began, and claimed victory less than 12 hours after most polls closed.

Clinton told donors Saturday that a review of national opinion polls showed Comey’s letter to Congress about new email discoveries, made public just 11 days before the election, was a bombshell development that proved too much to “overcome.”

Former President Bill Clinton applauds as his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York where she conceded her defeat to Republican Donald Trump after the hard-fought presidential election, Nov. 9, 2016. VOA
Former President Bill Clinton applauds as his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York where she conceded her defeat to Republican Donald Trump after the hard-fought presidential election, Nov. 9, 2016. VOA

Three people who took part in Clinton’s telephonic conference recounted her analysis of the election outcome, the Reuters news agency reported.

First detailed Clinton comment

Clinton’s conversation with her supporters Saturday was the first time she has discussed in detail the outcome of her unsuccessful campaign. She has kept a low profile since conceding the election to Trump in a speech to her supporters and staff in New York City on Wednesday morning.

Comey said in a letter to lawmakers on October 28 that he was revisiting an investigation into whether Clinton mishandled classified information by using a private email server instead of government computers while she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2012. The new investigation, Comey said, was necessary because his agents had discovered additional emails that could be relevant to the case.

He was referring to the FBI’s accidental discovery of 650,000 Clinton emails during an unconnected investigation into potentially criminal activities by the now-estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The emails were on a laptop computer used by both Abedin and her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Critics denounce Comey’s timing

Comey’s letter to congressional leaders contained few details about the newly discovered emails, which heightened media speculation. Sources with knowledge about the case suggested the emails were mostly or entirely copies of documents that the FBI had already reviewed, but Comey’s highly unusual and cryptic announcement threw the final week of the presidential campaign into turmoil.

FILE - FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, July 14, 2016. VOA
FILE – FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, July 14, 2016. VOA

Clinton’s defenders assailed the FBI director for disrupting the campaign by making his unexpected announcement without providing further information. A fuller disclosure, they said, would have exonerated the former secretary of state from any suggestion that she acted improperly.

Clinton’s opponents seized on the late-breaking FBI announcement and declared once again that they believed this could be evidence incriminating her. However, even some prominent members of the Republican Party rebuked Comey for inappropriately intruding into the presidential campaign and acting more like a prosecutor than an investigator.

Clinton cleared, but damage done

Nine days after disclosing his letter to Congress, Comey spoke out again, saying that his agents’ intensive study of the new emails showed no wrongdoing by Clinton, and thus there would be no change in his announcement more than three months earlier that she would not face any charges in connection with her handling of official email.

However, the political damage appeared to have been done.

Even though she was absolved of blame, Clinton said, the FBI director’s remarks eroded her support in the upper Midwest, in states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, which often are called a “blue wall” of support for Democratic presidential candidates.

A spokesperson for the FBI could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters reported.

Trump’s unexpected victory in both Wisconsin and Michigan on Tuesday was a key part of his stunning defeat of Clinton, which shocked the nation and has since led to a series of anti-Trump protests by young activists in many cities. (VOA)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

Also Read: Daughter of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump to celebrate Diwali in a Hindu Temple in the US

“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)