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No Change in Conclusions on US Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Email Case, says FBI Director James Comey

Voter polls have tightened since Comey's announcement two weeks ago that more Clinton emails were uncovered

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Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton VOA

November 7, 2016: FBI Director James Comey has told Congress he has not changed a conclusion reached in July that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did nothing criminal in using a private server for emails when she was secretary of state.

Comey made the announcement in a letter Sunday after the bureau reviewed a new batch of emails discovered during a separate investigation involving former U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of key Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

In his letter to Congress, Comey said investigators have been “working around the clock” processing and reviewing the emails written to and by Clinton when she was secretary of state. Based on their review, he said, “we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

Comey said in July that while Clinton may have been “extremely careless” in handling classified information, there was no criminal intent and that prosecutors would reach the same decision.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters Sunday the campaign is “glad that this matter is resolved. We are glad to see that he (Comey) has found, as we were confident he would, that he’s confirmed the conclusions that he reached in July.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted by saying Clinton is protected by a “rigged system.”

Voter polls have tightened since Comey’s announcement two weeks ago that more Clinton emails were uncovered.

Trump saw it as a gift, telling voters that the rival he loves to call “Crooked Hillary” would be impeached and face criminal investigations if she were elected.

With less than two days before millions of U.S. voters cast their ballots, the Clinton camp likely will use the Sunday letter from Comey as its gift.

Trump and Clinton have just one more full day to convince undecided voters that he or she should take over for President Barack Obama in January.

Clinton told worshippers at an African-American church in Philadelphia Sunday, “this election is about doing everything we can to stop the movement to destroy President Obama’s legacy. In fact, it is about building on the gains and progress we’ve made in the last eight years. It is about choosing hope over fear, unity over division and love over hate.”

The Clinton campaign will climax Monday night in Philadelphia with a superstar rally headlined by rock icon Bruce Springsteen, and including the Obamas and the entire Clinton family.

Trump will spend an exhausting last day of the campaign in five states his campaign believes he must win — Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan.

“We need a government that can go to work on day one for the American people,” Trump declared Sunday. “That will be impossible with Hillary Clinton…her current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency and will make it virtually impossible for her to govern.” (VOA)

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Economy to Overcome Other Issues in 2020, says Trump

President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger. 

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President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Keep America Great Rally at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S. VOA

“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a catchphrase of U.S. presidential politics since the 1992 campaign, when Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Nearly three decades later, U.S. President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger.

Trump — in tweets, at political rallies and in remarks to reporters — constantly emphasizes the performance of the U.S. economy, stock market surges, low unemployment rates and his tax cuts to boast he is doing a great job as president.

Economists and political analysts are divided on whether that message will enable the incumbent to stay in office beyond January 2021.

Culture war, partisan split

Ever since Clinton, “we’ve all kind of assumed that should be true. And I think for the most part, it is,” said Ryan McMaken, senior editor and economist at the Mises Institute, a politics and economics research group in Alabama. He cautioned, though, that Trump finds himself on one side of a culture war that his predecessors did not have to confront, as well as a deep partisan divide on consumer confidence.

Walmart Supercentre
Balo Balogun labels items in preparation for a holiday sale at a Walmart Supercenter, in Las Vegas. Black Friday once again kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. But it will be the shortest season since 2013 because of Thanksgiving falling on the fourth Thursday in November, the latest possible date it can be. VOA

Policy analyst James Pethokoukis at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, a public policy research group, also is cautious about the economy prevailing over all other issues.

“Just having a strong economy is not going to guarantee you re-election,” he said. “People often point back to the 2000 election, which occurred after a decade of tremendous economic growth any way you want to measure it — gross domestic product, jobs and wage growth. And yet, [Clinton’s vice president] Al Gore still lost that election to George W. Bush.”

McMaken questioned whether voters in key swing states — such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio — who cast ballots for Trump in 2016 were experiencing enough of the touted economic performance to vote again for the president.

Overall, however, “it’s not a bad economy to run on if you’re Donald Trump,” said Pethokoukis.

Trump, said to have concerns about the direction of the economy ahead of next November’s election, will likely push for more tax cuts, passage of a renegotiated North American trade pact and continued pressure on the country’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve, to lower interest rates.

A LB Steel LLC's employee manufactures a component
A LB Steel LLC’s employee manufactures a component for new Amtrak Acela trains built in partnership with Alstom in Harvey, Illinois, U.S. VOA

Trouble ahead?

There are rumblings of economic storm clouds on the horizon. The impact can be seen in Trump’s trade war with China, which has hurt U.S. farmers and raised prices for consumer goods. It’s also reflected in the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index, an underperforming U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index and a ballooning record national debt, in addition to the worrying level of money owed to creditors by middle-class Americans.

“We’ve actually been in a sort of a manufacturing recession, seen a shrinkage of factory jobs, the exact kinds of jobs that I’m sure that people voting for the president thought would be a lot better now,” said Pethokoukis.

So far, none of this has prompted a major stock market correction.

“There seems to be a lot of adaptations in the markets to Trump’s America. That may work to his advantage,” said the Mises Institute’s McMaken.

Analysts note a lack of emphasis on economic platforms so far by the leading Democratic U.S. presidential candidates seeking to oust Trump next year.

But such a platform is likely to be touted when the opposition party holds its convention next July in Milwaukee and picks its campaign ticket. Pethokoukis suggested the Democratic Party should devise a plan with a goal to boost American worker productivity, which has flatlined for years.

The great divide

McMaken pointed out that the widening chasm between the well-off and those struggling economically in the United States makes Trump vulnerable — something emphasized by left-leaning Democratic presidential contenders such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Donald Trump says the economy isn't doing well
Tents and tarps erected by homeless people are shown along sidewalks and streets in the skid row area of downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S. VOA

“On the ground level, I would say just in general, the economy isn’t doing as well,” concluded McMaken.

ALSO READ: Greed For Power May Demolish The Democracy

Amid an impeachment drive by the Democrats, Trump is repeatedly hammering on a specific message to those questioning his suitability for office while being impressed with the performance of their pension accounts during his presidency.

“Love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire in August, warning that Americans’ investments portfolios would go “down the tubes” if he lost next year’s election. (VOA)