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Donald Trump responded in the opening minutes of a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Friday to the bombshell development that the FBI was reopening its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.
“We must not let her take her criminal scheme to the Oval Office,” Trump said. “I have great respect that the FBI and Department of Justice have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made.”
“This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understood,” he continued. “And it is everybody’s hope that it would be corrected.”
He said he heard the announcement 10 minutes before taking the stage at his event.
The crowd erupted into a raucous cheer when Trump simply uttered “FBI.”
“Perhaps finally justice will be done,” he said.
In a letter to the chairs of congressional committees, FBI Director James Comey wrote that the investigative team in charge of looking into Clinton’s use of private email briefed him on Thursday about new emails they found that might contain classified information.
“The FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant,” Comey wrote. “And I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work.”
“With that being said, the rest of my speech is going to be so boring,” Trump said at the Friday rally. “Should I even make the speech? We will talk about borders, right? We will talk about trade. We will bring back our jobs, we will strengthen our military, and let’s get going.”
Clinton’s email scandal has dogged the Democratic presidential candidate for more than a year. In March 2015, she first admitted to exclusively using a private email account to send and receive work-related emails while she served as secretary of state. The controversy compelled her to hand over roughly 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department. They have been released in batches since last year.
But she deleted about 30,000 additional emails from her server that she says were “personal” in nature before handing it over to the FBI last August, five months after handing over individual emails to the State Department.
After examining her emails for more than a year, the State Department issued a scathing report in May concluding that she “did not comply” with the department’s policies when she chose to use a personal email account to conduct government business.
The State Department faulted Clinton and previous secretaries of state for poorly managing email and other computer information, and for slowly responding to new cybersecurity risks.
Two months later, the FBI decided not to recommend that the Justice Department bring charges against Clinton, saying that Clinton’s conduct did not meet the threshold used to prosecute past violators who shared classified information over unclassified channels.
“In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts,” Comey said in July, after the FBI interviewed Clinton for three hours about her use of the server while at the State Department.
Clinton has since apologized for using private email, but has insisted that she never sent or received information marked “classified” using her private email account.
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.