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US Election: FBI clears Hillary Clinton in new emails probe

By Lisa Lerer

Published 07/11/2016

Hillary Clinton and singer Pharrell Williams (back right) greet members of the audience after speaking at a rally in North Carolina
Hillary Clinton and singer Pharrell Williams (back right) greet members of the audience after speaking at a rally in North Carolina

Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges related to newly discovered emails from her tenure at the US State Department, FBI director James Comey has announced.

It lifts a cloud of uncertainty that has overshadowed the final days of Mrs Clinton's presidential campaign.

In a letter to congressional politicians two days before Election Day, Mr Comey said the FBI has worked "around the clock to process and review a large number of emails" obtained from a device belonging to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and estranged husband of top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin.

Mr Comey said the review has not changed the bureau's assessment from earlier this year that Mrs Clinton should not be prosecuted for her handling of classified information at the State Department.

Mrs Clinton's campaign welcomed the FBI announcement.

"We're glad this matter is resolved," Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director, told reporters travelling with the campaign to Ohio.

Clinton was infuriated by Mr Comey's decision to alert Congress late last month that the FBI was reviewing new materials, calling it "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling". The decision shattered what had appeared to be her solid grip on the race and emboldened Republican Donald Trump.

Trump landed in Minnesota for a rally moments after Mr Comey's announcement. He made no direct mention of the FBI decision and continued to insist, without evidence, that Hillary Clinton would be under investigation during her potential presidency. "She's protected by a rigged system," he accused. "She shouldn't even be allowed to run for president."

The FBI began investigating the handling of classified material on Mrs Clinton's private computer server in New York shortly after she announced her election bid in April 2015. Last July, in an extraordinary public statement on an ongoing case, Mr Comey announced he was not recommending criminal charges against Clinton and called the decision "not even a close call."

But he also delivered blistering criticism of her, calling her and her team "extremely careless" with her handling of national secrets.

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