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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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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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Attorney General Jeff Sessions Steps Down As Asked By Donald Trump

It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions attends a news conference on the arrest of a suspect in the sending of at least a dozen parcel bombs to Democratic politicians and high-profile critics of President Trump. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump forced his controversial Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign Wednesday, setting up a possible showdown with newly energized congressional Democrats over the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions, in a resignation letter to Trump, wrote that he was stepping down at “your request,” accepting a fait accompli he’d long sought to avert despite Trump’s repeated public humiliations of the attorney general over his recusal from oversight of the Russia probe.

The forced departure of Sessions, a former Republican senator and early supporter of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, capped a turbulent tenure that hit a rough patch in early 2017 when he stepped aside from the Russia investigation shortly after taking office.

Trump blamed Sessions’ recusal for the speedy appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, over the course of the attorney general’s 20-month tenure, repeatedly castigated Sessions for failing to rein in what he called a “witch hunt” being led by Mueller and “17 Angry Democrats.”

While undertaking a wholesale repeal of Obama-era policies and implementing Trump’s tough-on-crime and immigration agenda, Sessions was increasingly shunned by the president, to the point that Trump told an interviewer earlier this year, “I don’t have an attorney general.”

In a pair of tweets Wednesday afternoon announcing Sessions’ resignation, Trump thanked the attorney general for his service and said Matt Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff and a former U.S. attorney under former President George W. Bush, would take over as acting attorney general. A permanent replacement would be announced later, Trump said.

Though long expected, Sessions’ departure fueled Democratic fears that Trump may be maneuvering to assert control over the Mueller investigation through a trusted appointee or possibly shut down it all together.

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U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledges supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. VOA

Congressional probe urged

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee and a frequent Trump critic, urged Congress to investigate “the real reason” for the attorney general’s “termination.”

At a testy White House news conference earlier Wednesday, Trump said he could end the Mueller investigation “right now,” but “I stay away from it … I let it just go on.”

Other Democratic congressional leaders, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner issued nearly identical tweets urging Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, citing his vocal criticism of the probe.

 

“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general,” Schumer tweeted.

 

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Then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker is pictured before a televised debate in Johnston, Iowa. VOA

 

Whitaker served as U.S. attorney for the southern district of Iowa from 2004 to 2009. According to his LinkedIn profile, he headed Foundations for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a self-described ethics watchdog, until September 2017, shortly before joining the Justice Department.

In an opinion piece for CNN.com in July 2017, two months after Mueller’s appointment, Whitaker wrote that he agreed with Trump that investigating the president’s finances fell outside Mueller’s mandate, and he urged Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to limit the special counsel’s authority.

‘In charge of all matters’

Asked whether Whitaker would take control of the Russia probe, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said, “The acting attorney general is in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice.”

Flores did not directly answer questions about whether Whitaker had consulted or planned to consult Justice Department ethics experts on whether he should recuse himself from the Russia probe.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., departs Capitol Hill, Oct. 6, 2018, in Washington. VOA

“We’re following regular order here,” she wrote via email.

John Malcolm, a former federal prosecutor now with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, said he saw no reason for Whitaker to step aside.

“He is the acting attorney general. He has no reason to recuse himself,” Malcolm told VOA.

Malcolm said Sessions did “a solid job of implementing the president’s law enforcement priorities,” and he praised the attorney general for “protecting the integrity of the department and trying to keep it above politics.”

It remains to be seen whether Trump will tap Whitaker for the job permanently and send his name to the Senate for confirmation.

Also Read: U.S. Midterm Elections See Muslim American Women Making History

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and close Trump ally, tweeted that he looked “forward to working with President Trump to find a confirmable, worthy successor. (VOA)