Former prosecutors and top Senate Democrat criticize Comey's handling of latest email inquiry

Former prosecutors and top Senate Democrat criticize Comey's handling of latest email inquiry
Posted at 11:28 AM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 18:46:32-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential election campaign (all times EDT)):

6:22 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is arguing that FBI Director James Comey is applying a double standard when it comes to the presidential candidates.

On a conference call with reporters on Monday, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook cited a report from CNBC that said Comey opposed releasing information close to Election Day about Russian interference in the U.S. election.

The AP has not confirmed that report, and the FBI declined to comment on Monday.

Mook called the report evidence of a "blatant double standard." Comey on Friday disclosed the FBI had newly discovered emails that may be relevant to the Clinton email investigation.

Clinton and her campaign have raged against that timing, saying Comey deviated from Justice Department policy when he alerted Congress to the new discovery so close to Election Day.

Mook called on Comey to "immediately explain this incongruence and apply the same standard to Donald Trump's associates as he has applied to Hillary Clinton's."


5:26 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden stopped at a Philadelphia restaurant to urge an audience of black leaders and voters to turnout in droves next Tuesday, saying a decisive victory for Hillary Clinton could end claims of a "rigged election" in the city by Donald Trump and skeptics.

If the election is close, Biden warned, "He's gonna tell people it was fixed. He's got just enough folks out there who'll believe that stuff. We can't afford that."

"Folks it's not enough we just get out," Biden told the group. "We've gotta win this city by the largest margin we've had in a long, long time. In case you haven't figured it out, you're the key. The point is, they know what the numbers are."

"As Oprah said, you don't have to love her but you need her," Biden said, referring to a recent interview the cable channel owner gave. "(Hillary) doesn't open up that much; it's not her style. But I know how much she cares."


5:22 p.m.

Donald Trump is claiming that Hillary Clinton is not a good role model for his 10-year-old son.

Trump, campaigning in Michigan on Monday, said, "She's a terrible example for my son and the children in this country."

That line of attack is very similar to the one Clinton has used against him for much of the campaign. Clinton has repeatedly cited Trump's words and actions — including in a campaign ad — as proof that the New York businessman would be a negative impact on the nation's children.

Trump made his claim after attacking Clinton's use of a private email server, suggesting that she was "corrupt" and destined to be imprisoned.


5:13 p.m.

Senate Republicans are spending $2 million on Wisconsin as the contest between freshman GOP Sen. Ron Johnson and former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold unexpectedly tightens.

Johnson and fellow Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois have long been expected to lose, but the Wisconsin race has showed some movement in recent days toward the Republican. That prompted the Democratic Senate Majority PAC to start spending limited sums for Feingold last week.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee run by allies of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, is running broadcast and cable ads in at least five markets touting Johnson.


4:21 p.m.

The Justice Department is telling Congress it will dedicate whatever resources are needed to quickly review emails that may be relevant to the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

In a letter Monday, the department said it would work closely with the FBI and "take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible."

A U.S. official says the FBI has discovered thousands of emails. It's not clear how many are pertinent to the Clinton case.

The emails were found on a computer seized during a sexting investigation into former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

FBI Director James Comey revealed the existence of the newly discovered emails in a letter to Congress Friday.

The timing of the revelation so close to the election stirred widespread anger.


4:00 p.m.

Election Day is more than a week away, but it's already too late for Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump to win over roughly a fifth of American voters — and many of them are in key battleground states.

In states such as Florida, Nevada and Colorado, one third or more of the expected ballots already have been cast. The breakdown of those voters by party affiliation point to an advantage for Clinton.

Early voting is underway in 37 states.

Nationwide, Associated Press data show that more than 23 million votes have been cast. That represents nearly 20 percent of the total votes expected, if turnout is similar to 2012. In all, more than 46 million people are expected to vote before Election Day, Nov. 8.


3:02 p.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan will be far from his home state of Wisconsin when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump campaigns there a week before the election.

Trump and running mate Mike Pence were to hold a rally the western Wisconsin city of Eau Claire on Tuesday night. But Ryan instead will be campaigning for House Republicans in Indiana, Michigan and New York on Tuesday.

Ryan has publicly distanced himself from Trump, saying earlier this month that he would no longer defend or campaign with the GOP nominee after audio surfaced of him making crude remarks about women.

Ryan plans to return to Wisconsin to join a Republican bus tour on Friday to bolster candidates in the state, including incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson.


2:50 p.m.

CNN says it is "completely uncomfortable" to learn through WikiLeaks that former commentator Donna Brazile had contacted the Clinton campaign ahead of time about a question that would be posed during a presidential primary town hall last March in Flint, Michigan.

CNN announced Monday that it had accepted Brazile's resignation as a contributor two weeks ago. Her deal had been suspended in July when she became interim head of the Democratic National Committee.

The material released Monday from the hacked file of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta revealed at least the second time that Brazile had communicated to Clinton aides about questions Hillary Clinton might be asked on the air.

CNN said it never gave Brazile access to any questions or preparation material in advance of a network event.


2:45 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is warning anew about Donald Trump having control of nuclear weapons as she makes her closing argument to voters.

Campaigning in Ohio, Clinton criticized Trump for talking "casually" about nuclear weapons and wondered if the Republican knows that a single warhead can kill millions of people.

Clinton was introduced by a former nuclear launch control officer who said that if Trump were president, he would "have no faith in his judgment."

Bruce Blair said he would "live in constant fear" of Trump making a bad call about using nuclear weapons. Blair is a former intercontinental ballistic missile launch control officer.

As Clinton took the stage, she said every American should hear Blair's story before Election Day.


2:35 p.m.

Hillary Clinton is challenging the FBI's new email inquiry, saying "There is no case here."

Clinton says she's "not making excuses" for her use of a personal email address and personal Internet server at the State Department. And she says if the FBI wants to investigate emails involving one of her closest aides, "they should look at them."

But she says she's sure the FBI will reach the same conclusion it did earlier this year, when the bureau decided against prosecuting Clinton and her advisers for their handling of classified information.

Clinton is speaking at a rally at Kent State University in battleground Ohio, kicking off the last full week of campaigning before Election Day.


2:34 p.m.

The White House says FBI Director James Comey's letter to Congress publicizing a review of newly discovered emails is having the opposite effect of what Comey intended.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest is walking a fine line in declaring the president's upmost confidence in Comey's integrity while also voicing support for the Justice Department and FBI following norms and traditions.

Senior Justice Department officials advised Comey against telling Congress about the new developments. But Comey has explained it would be misleading to the American people "were we not to supplement the record."

Earnest says the fact that Comey felt the need to explain his action to FBI employees indicates his notification of Congress has had the opposite effect of what Comey intended.


2:05 p.m.

Donald Trump is warning again about voter fraud — but has a solution for his supporters.

The Republican nominee once again said there is widespread voter fraud, a claim for which he has produced no evidence.

But he told supporters at a rally Monday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that they should "get out and vote by the millions and we won't have to worry about what is taking place behind the scenes."

Trump made his pitch during a foray into Democrat-leaning Michigan. The state hasn't gone for a Republican since 1988, but may prove essential for Trump's electoral map.

Several studies suggest that voter fraud is extremely rare. Trump's warning in Michigan came a day after he criticized the mail-in voting system in Colorado, suggesting that it is ripe for fraud.


1:55 p.m.

Donald Trump is seizing on the ongoing flap over Hillary Clinton's private email server. He says that she "is not the victim, the American people are the victims."

Speaking Monday in Michigan, the Republican presidential candidate said Clinton "broke the law over and over again." He claims that she lied to the FBI and destroyed evidence on her phone and emails.

Clinton has not been charged with any wrongdoing. The FBI declined to recommend charges this summer over her use of a private email sever while she was secretary of state. But it is now looking at emails found on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of a top aide to Clinton.

It is not yet known if those emails are connected to Clinton.


1:45 p.m.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says he will neither "defend nor criticize" FBI Director James Comey's decision to disclose that the FBI is looking into newly discovered emails that may be pertinent to their dormant investigation of Hillary Clinton.

Earnest said Monday that there are significant institutional responsibilities that the Department of Justice must fulfill. He said that President Barack Obama believes "Director Comey is a man of integrity. He's a man of principle and he's a man of good character."

Earnest said Obama believes that Comey isn't trying to help one presidential candidate over another.

He said Comey is in a tough spot, but the FBI director is in the best position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism.


8:30 p.m. 10/30

The top Senate Democrat says FBI Director James Comey may have broken the law by disclosing 11 days before Election Day word of newly discovered emails possibly related to the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server.

In a letter late Sunday to Comey, Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada says his office has determined that the FBI director's actions may have violated the Hatch Act, which limits some political activities of federal employees.

Reid wrote to Comey: "Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law."

The Democrat also railed against what he sees as a double standard by Comey, saying the FBI has "explosive information" about close ties between Republican Donald Trump and the Russian government. Reid says there is no danger to American interests to release that information and accuses Comey of resisting calls to inform the people.


6:45 p.m. 10/30

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and dozens of other former federal prosecutors have signed a letter critical of FBI Director James Comey.

The letter obtained Sunday by The Associated Press says Comey broke from Justice Department policy when he alerted Congress to the new discovery of emails potentially related to the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

That policy is meant to prevent the appearance of prosecutors affecting the electoral process.

The ex-prosecutors say in the letter that Comey's disclosure has "invited considerable, uninformed public speculation" about the significance of the emails.

Comey has said he felt obligated to notify Congress about the existence of the new emails given his past public statements that the investigation had ended.

The former prosecutors say in the letter the American public deserves more information.


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.