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WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The FBI is investigating more emails as part of a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email system, it said on Friday, in a new twist that could damage the Democratic candidate in the 2016 presidential race.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said in a letter to senior lawmakers that the agency would determine whether the additional emails contained classified information, adding that he did not know “how long it will take us to complete this additional work.”
The announcement came as Clinton and Republican opponent Donald Trump enter the final stretch of campaigning ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
In a news conference late on Friday in Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton urged Comey to release more details about what the FBI was looking for in the newly discovered emails.
She leads Trump in opinion polls after a bruising campaign in which she has struggled to convince voters that she is trustworthy and honest. Fresh revelations about her use of email are unlikely to assuage those concerns, and questions around the FBI investigation will now likely dog her in the coming days as she campaigns across battleground states.
US stocks immediately fell sharply on the news, but went on to partially recover.
The FBI spent about a year investigating Clinton’s use of the unauthorized server at her home in Chappaqua, New York, while she was U.S. secretary of state after classified government secrets were found in some of her emails.
Comey said in July that while “there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
Although Comey recommended no criminal charges be brought against Clinton, Trump has repeatedly said her email practices are criminal and should disqualify her for office. He seized on Friday’s development at rallies in Maine and New Hampshire.
“This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate, and I’m sure it will be properly handled from this point forward,” Trump told a crowd in Lisbon, Maine.
“We hope that all, all justice will be fully served,” he said. Supporters cheered his words and chanted, “Lock her up.”
Clinton said she had learned of the newly discovered emails from news reports.
“I’m confident whatever they are will not change the conclusion reached in July,” she said. “That’s why it’s incumbent upon the FBI to tell us what’s going on.”