Thursday 20 October 2016

Hillary Clinton targets 'solid red states' as lead in polls grows

Published 17/10/2016 | 21:43

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets people at a campaign office in Seattle, Washington
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greets people at a campaign office in Seattle, Washington

Hillary Clinton is expanding her campaign into states the Democrats have not won in decades, a sign of confidence in her presidential prospects and her mounting efforts to win control of the Senate.

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First Lady Michelle Obama is making her case for Mrs Clinton in Phoenix on Thursday, while the campaign puts an additional 2 million US dollars (£1.6 million) into television ads, direct mail and digital spots to help Arizona Democrats running in competitive races for the House and Senate.

Mrs Clinton's team is also putting an additional 1 million US dollars (£820,000) into efforts in Missouri and Indiana, and expanding existing operations by 6 million US dollars (£5 million) in seven battleground states, according to campaign manager Robby Mook.

Mrs Clinton's announcement came as her campaign was hit with another revelation related to the use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Newly-released FBI records show a senior State Department official unsuccessfully sought to lower the classification level of an email found on the server, a move Republican Donald Trump's campaign labelled collusion.

The news was the latest twist in controversy that has dogged Mrs Clinton's campaign, but has often been drowned out by Mr Trump's erratic campaign, provocative claims and caught-on-tape scandalous sexual comments.

With her lead in opinion polls increasing, it might seem unlikely that Mrs Clinton will need any of the normally solid-red states to win the White House. But her team believes a wide presidential margin of victory would help end Mr Trump's political movement and undermine his intensifying claims that the election is rigged.

Meanwhile, rather than campaigning in the tightest battlegrounds, Mr Trump is spending much of Monday out of sight before speaking in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a state where Mrs Clinton is viewed as having an edge.

Mrs Clinton is spending the day with advisers near her home in New York, preparing for the third debate on Wednesday night.

Mrs Clinton's email use is certain to return as an issue in the final face-off between the candidates, and Mr Trump has been given new ammunition.

According to the FBI records released on Monday, State Department under-secretary for management Patrick F Kennedy, a close aide to Mrs Clinton during her time as secretary of state, contacted an FBI official seeking to change an email's classification.

Notes on the conversation describe discussion about a "quid pro quo" in which the email's classification would be changed and "State would reciprocate by allowing the FBI to place more agents in countries where they are presently forbidden".

It was not clear whether Mr Kennedy or the FBI official proposed the bargain, which ultimately did not occur.

The Trump campaign issued a statement calling the emails proof of collusion between the FBI, the Justice Department and the State Department "to cover up criminal activity".

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