World America 29 Oct 2016 The week in the US c ...

The week in the US campaign: FBI surprise, home stretch, glass ceiling

AFP
Published Oct 29, 2016, 8:21 pm IST
Updated Oct 29, 2016, 8:23 pm IST
The big late-October surprise came when FBI announced that it was opening a new inquiry into the e-mails and private server used by Hillary.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (Photo: AFP)
 Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. (Photo: AFP)

Washington: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump held a non-stop series of rallies this week, with polls showing the race tightening slightly in the home stretch even as Clinton maintained a clear lead.

The big late-October surprise came when the FBI announced Friday just a week and a half before the election that it was opening a new inquiry into the e-mails and private server used by the Democratic candidate.

 

Clinton has not slackened her pace, but her choice of venue for election night on November 8 seemed to reveal her hope: a room with a glass ceiling -- of the sort she hopes to break by becoming the first woman president of the United States.

With 10 days left before Americans vote, here is a summary of the past week:

Frantic dash to the end

Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire and Arizona: Both Clinton and Trump have kept an unrelenting campaign pace in the battleground states that could decide the election. Clinton spent two days in Florida, the state that could alone determine the result, while Trump spent nearly three days there.

 

Clinton, who turned 69 on Wednesday, took a short break from the trail to attend a concert by English singer Adele in Miami. And she campaigned for the first time with the charismatic first lady, Michelle Obama.

Trump meanwhile took a brief detour to Washington to formally inaugurate his new luxury hotel, accompanied by his wife and children, before resuming campaigning.

Slightly tighter race

Polls grew slightly closer in battleground states like Florida, Nevada and Iowa, as well as nationwide (45.1 percent for Clinton to 40.7 percent for Trump). But Clinton remained the clear favorite.

 

Even the slightest change in polls draws intense attention: from news channels in a constant battle for audience share; from the Clinton campaign, which wants to keep supporters mobilized; and from the Trump campaign, quick to grasp at any grounds for hope.

An e-mail bombshell

FBI Director James Comey announced Friday a fresh review of newly discovered emails related to Clinton's use of a private server while secretary of state, a decision with potentially explosive impact just before the election.

New emails have been found that "appear to be pertinent" to the probe, Comey said in a letter to members of Congress.

 

The emails surfaced "in connection with an unrelated case," said Comey, adding that the FBI had not yet determined whether the new information was significant.

The emails reportedly emerged after agents seized electronic devices used by Clinton's closest aide, Huma Abedin, and her husband, disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is under investigation over allegations he sent sexual messages to a 15-year-old girl.

A real glass ceiling

Clinton rarely talks about her goal of becoming the first woman president in US history, and of breaking, in her words, "the highest and hardest glass ceiling" holding women down.

 

But she did announce her choice of an Election Night venue symbolic of this ambition: the enormous Javits Center in New York constructed entirely of glass.

WikiLeaks and 'Clinton Inc.

A new series of hacked emails made public by the WikiLeaks site revealed what appeared at times to be the intertwined financial interests of Hillary Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, and companies contributing to the foundation that bears his name.

Some clients of his aide, Doug Band, paid the ex-president hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches or advice, even while contributing to the Clinton Foundation, according to a Band memo dating from November 2011. Band, who was in charge of fundraising for the foundation but who also headed his own corporate consultancy, explained in the email that he had helped "secure" tens of millions of dollars for Bill Clinton.

 

"We also have solicited and obtained, as appropriate, in-kind services for the president and his family for personal travel, hospitality, vacation and the like," he wrote.

The memo was among the hacked emails of John Podesta, a White House chief of staff in Bill Clinton's second term and current campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton.

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