Tuesday 23 January 2018

4 things you need to know about the latest Clinton email scandal

Hilary Clinton. Photo: Reuters
Hilary Clinton. Photo: Reuters
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

The latest in the Hillary Clinton email scandal is a mess of information and competing narratives so dense we can only guess the effect it will have on the election, now just 10 days away.

If today has left you scratching your head, here are the four things you need to know to understand the latest developments.

1. This began with a sexting scandal

We all know by now that the root of this scandal was Hillary Clinton’s decision to keep confidential state emails on her own private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State; critics have argued that this represented a threat to national security and evidence that Secretary Clinton is corrupt.

But the recent reopening of the case goes back to a sexting scandal involving Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Secretary Clinton’s top aides.

The FBI seized a laptop which was shared by Abedin and Weiner as part of an investigation into the allegations that Weiner had exchanged explicit messages and images with a 15-year-old girl. The FBI discovered emails on this laptop that could be relevant to Secretary Clinton, but were not part of the previous investigation.

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin (AP)
Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin (AP)

This is only the latest in a series of Anthony Weiner sexting scandals going back to 2011, when he resigned from Congress after a scandal involving his trading explicit images with several women broke. Huma Abedin remained loyal to her husband until this August, when the latest scandal broke and they separated.

2. The FBI director disclosed the new investigation to Congress so as not to ‘mislead’ the American people

FBI Director James Comey had repeatedly stated in recent months that investigations into Hillary Clinton’s emails had concluded without charging the former Secretary of State.

The Director insists that his decision to reveal the new investigation to Congress was due to his opinion that it would “be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record."

FBI Director James Comey said he felt obliged to tell Congress about the latest development (AP)
FBI Director James Comey said he felt obliged to tell Congress about the latest development (AP)

Mr Comey has come under fire for dropping this bomb so close to the election, with some Clinton supporters accusing him of attempting to influence the result in Trump’s favour. But if he had waited until after the election, he likely would have been accused of supporting Clinton by sitting on a major news story.

3. Clinton has challenged the FBI to reveal more information, not less

Hillary Clinton is remaining confident during this scandal, insisting that the FBI should give people more information rather than calling for the investigation to be halted.

"We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetimes. Voting is already under way in our country," Secretary Clinton said yesterday. “So the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately.”

Clearly, Secretary Clinton does not believe that the emails will reveal anything incriminating to her campaign and wants the issue cleared up as quickly as possible; if it is not resolved before Tuesday week, it could swing battleground states in Trump’s favour.

4. Trump is taking whatever he can from the scandal – and it may work

Trump is capitalising on the latest developments as openly as he can; he slammed Hillary Clinton as ‘corrupt’ and ‘criminal’ at rallies in New Hampshire, Maine and Iowa yesterday.

According to CNN polling, Iowa is leaning for Trump and New Hampshire for Clinton; Trump is using these rallies to shore up his vote in Iowa and break Clinton’s moderate hold in New Hampshire. Maine is a battleground state, winnable by either side.

Clearly the Trump campaign has had a confidence boost since the revelations; Trump is now saying that the system “might not be as rigged as I thought.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pumps his fist after a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pumps his fist after a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S. October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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