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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

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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Twitter to Bring Back its ‘Election Labels’ Feature for 2020 US Elections

"You'll start seeing Labels appear on applicable candidates' Twitter accounts once the candidate has qualified for the general election ballot. This will happen on a rolling basis as states have different caucus and election dates, with the first occurring on March 3," said the company

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The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

Twitter has announced to bring back its “Election Labels” feature for the 2020 US presidential election that received overwhelmingly positive feedback from voters and candidates and played a prominent role in election conversation in the 2018 US midterm election.

In the week before election day, people on Twitter saw Labeled accounts approximately 100 million times each day, and 13 per cent of US election conversation on Twitter included a Tweet with an ‘Election Label’.

“With just under a year until US Election Day and two months until the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucus, we’re launching two initiatives that will help people find original sources of information on Twitter by clearly identifying political candidates,” Twitter said in a statement on Thursday.

“First, we’re bringing back Election Labels, which we first launched during the 2018 US midterm election.

“Second, starting this week, we’ll start identifying candidates who qualify for the primary ballot for US House, US Senate, and Gubernatorial races with a verified badge,” the micro-blogging platform added.

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

For both primary candidate verification and Election Labels, Twitter is partnering with civic non-profit organization Ballotpedia to utilize their expertise in identifying the official campaign Twitter accounts of candidates.

Election Labels provide information about political candidates, like the office they are running for, their state and district number, and contain a small ballot box icon.

The Label will appear on the profile page of a candidate’s Twitter account and on every Tweet sent and retweeted by the candidate’s account, even when embedded on sites off of Twitter.

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Labels will appear on the Twitter accounts of candidates running for the House of Representatives, Senate, or Governor in the 2020 election who have qualified for the general election ballot.

“You’ll start seeing Labels appear on applicable candidates’ Twitter accounts once the candidate has qualified for the general election ballot. This will happen on a rolling basis as states have different caucus and election dates, with the first occurring on March 3,” said the company. (IANS)