If you were not wholly preoccupied this weekend with various Halloween festivities, you might have caught the breaking news blast featuring those key magic words we’ve been hearing this entire election cycle: Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. That’s because this Friday, the FBI and Justice Department decided to once again foray into the massive web of emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server, although this time not in the context of investigating Clinton but rather the infamous Anthony Weiner (of salacious genitalia pic “Carlos Danger” fame). The New York Times mentioned in their First Draft newsletter that ironically “the final week of the bizarre and unpredictable 2016 race is ending much as it began, with a hurricane of headlines over Hillary Clinton’s campaign and emails.” The FBI obtained a warrant Sunday for a large collection of emails belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide for Clinton, after “hundreds of thousands” of emails belonging to Abedin were found on Weiner’s private computer during the course of an investigation into whether Weiner had sent “illicit” texts to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. After FBI Director James Comey announced they would be reigniting the Clinton email investigation to see whether the Abedin emails discovered on Weiner’s computer contained any classified information that would constitute a federal crime (and therefore whether the emails would support or negate the Justice Department’s original decision not to charge Clinton and her aides), the Clinton campaign immediately responded with sharp criticism of the FBI (even going so far as to submit a letter signed by almost 100 former intelligence officials criticizing the agency’s handling of the email investigation) and intense pressure to have the results of the investigation released before Election Day (interestingly enough a proposition that the Trump campaign has also supported). The tricky part of the situation came when sources at the FBI claimed that they would simply not be able to get through all the emails in time for November 8.
In another intriguing article from the Times, Amy Chozick reported on the similarities between the Clintons’ current attack of Director Comey and their condemnation of Kenneth Starr in the late 1990s when he was tasked with investigating the Clinton family after the Whitewater scandal happened (among other things). Chozick likened the response to Starr’s thorough investigation some 20 years ago to Comey’s current one, pointing out this key observation:
“After facing 25 years of political attacks and investigations into scandals — real and imagined — they have developed a protective reflex against potentially damaging assaults, rallying their forces against what they see as an overzealous, partisan villain.”
This decision to reopen “Email-gate” comes at a highly inopportune time for the Clinton camp, which was just starting to enjoy an enormous lead over Trump post-Access Hollywood debacle. The Washington Post cited a joint poll statistic they collected with ABC that found poll numbers putting Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 45 percent but even more importantly a poll of “enthusiasm” about candidates putting Trump at 53 percent and Clinton at a significantly lower 43 percent. The article highlighted that 43 percent dipped drastically after the weekend’s events, suggesting that this email investigation might spell serious trouble for Hillary Clinton as we are now just one week away from Election Day and while millions of Americans have already cast votes (and those early voting trends have skewed heavily in Clinton’s favor thus far), millions more are choosing to or are forced to wait until next Tuesday to cast a ballot. If this investigation finds any actual infractions, or simply cannot be wrapped up in one week, there could be a possibility that her wide lead could narrow to the point where the election could be anybody’s game. We will just have to wait and see.