NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Friday evening that the FBI should explain what is behind its latest review of her email investigation, and said she was confident that the new probe will show no wrongdoing.
In a letter to Congress Friday, FBI Director James Comey said his agency is investigating additional emails that were discovered as part of a separate investigation.
During the brief, scripted news conference, Clinton questioned the timing of the FBI’s new, but vague revelations, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
“We are 11 days out from perhaps the most important national election of our lifetimes. Voting is already under way in our country. So the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately,” Clinton said at a news conference. “The director himself has said he doesn’t know whether the emails referenced in his letter are significant or not. I’m confident whatever they are will not change the conclusion reached in July.”
Clinton went on: “Therefore, it’s imperative that the bureau explain this issue in question, whatever it is, without any delay. So I look forward to moving forward to focus on the important challenges facing the American people, winning on November 8, and working with all Americans to build a better future for our country.”
Clinton was asked whether she or her advisers have heard from FBI Director James Comey, and whether she was concerned that the emails might show classified information she received as secretary of state.
“No,” Clinton said. “We have not been contacted by anyone. First we knew about it is I assume when you knew about it; when this letter sent to Republican members of the House was released. So we don’t know the facts, which is why we are calling on the FBI to release all the information that it has. Even director Comey noted that this new information may not be significant, so let’s get it out.”
Clinton was also asked what she would say to voters who do not trust her – with 11 days to go before the election.
“You know, I think people a long time ago made up their minds about the emails. I think that’s factored into what people think and now they’re choosing a president,” she said.
She encouraged those who can get out to vote early to do so, and emphasized that she believes she can bring the country together.
Sources said Friday that the newly discovered emails that prompted the new FBI review came from a laptop seized in a separate sexting probe of former congressman Anthony Weiner.
Federal authorities in New York and North Carolina are investigating online communications between Weiner and a 15-year-old girl.
According to CBS News sources, the newly discovered emails were found after the FBI seized electronic devices belonging to Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife, Huma Abedin. In September, the FBI opened an investigation into Weiner’s alleged sexting.
A U.S. official said Friday that the emails referenced by Comey surfaced during that investigation. The official was familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Clinton said she has heard the rumors about Abedin and Weiner, and does not know what to believe.
“That’s why it is incumbent upon the FBI to tell us what they’re talking about,” Clinton said.
Comey later issued an email to staffers defending his decision to notify Congress.
“This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case.,” Comey wrote. “Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them. “
Comey wrote that he believed it was appropriate to notify Congress.
“Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression,” he wrote. “In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.”
White House spokesman Eric Schultz says the White House also learned of Comey’s decision from news reports.
The FBI said in July its investigation into Clinton’s emails was finished. Friday’s disclosure raises the possibility of the FBI reopening the criminal investigation involving the Democratic presidential nominee just days before the election.
In July, Comey said that although it found “extremely careless” behavior by Clinton and her staff in their handling of sensitive information, the FBI had concluded that “no charges are appropriate.”
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” the FBI director said.
In July, Comey said agents spent thousands of hours reading 30,000 emails.
The disclosure raises the possibility of the FBI reopening the criminal investigation involving the Democratic presidential nominee just 11 days before the election.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Donald Trump, who has been critical of the agency, is changing his tune in the wake of what he called the “breaking news announcement.”
Speaking at a rally Friday in Manchester, New Hampshire, Donald Trump said the political system “might not be as rigged as I thought.”
Trump added, “Perhaps finally justice will be done.”
“I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the Department of Justice are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made,” Trump said.
The Republican nominee, who began his remarks discussing the FBI decision, then joked that the rest of the speech was “so boring.”
Later Friday at a rally in Iowa, Trump added, “The FBI would never have reopened this case at this time unless it were a most egregious criminal offense.”
Trump’s campaign manager earlier tweeted and said “a great day in our campaign got even better.”
Back in July, Trump also publicly called out Abedin’s role in Clinton’s email controversy.
“I don’t like Huma going home at night and telling Anthony Weiner all of these secrets, OK?” Trump said in July.
Trump also said, “The investigation is the biggest political scandal since Watergate.”
Supporters of both campaigns blasted federal investigators for different reasons.
“The department and FBI have very strict rules about when they can comment on ongoing cases, and Director Comey has violated those rules,” said former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller.
Democrats said Friday that they don’t expect the FBI director to find any wrongdoing in the new investigation.
“He’s proven himself to be thorough as investigator, and that’s why I’m confident with his past decision, that Hillary Clinton did nothing wrong,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).
But for Republicans, there was another tone.
“I have no confidence in the earlier conclusion,” said former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. “I also am wondering why they haven’t opened an investigation of Clinton Incorporated.”
Law enforcement sources told CBS News that the review of the new emails is anticipated to extend beyond Election Day. Sources said in terms of numbers, the sheer volume of emails and the process of examining them will take days.
The number of new emails potentially reaches into the thousands, sources said.
Sources further said the new emails came from an electronic device, and investigators are looking into whether they contain classified information.
The question now is what comes next. If Clinton is elected President, the investigation could drag into the next Congress. The president cannot be charged by the Department of Justice, but can face charges from Congress.
The latest national poll shows Clinton maintains a four-point edge over Trump, but experts said the Republicans will use the latest news to their advantage.
“The Republicans are going to bludgeon her with this over the next 11 days,” said CBS News’ Steve Chaggaris.
It was not clear from Comey’s letter where the new emails came from or who sent or received them.
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