Donald Trump pounced on the news that the FBI is reviewing new information related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and expressed hope that the FBI will “right the horrible mistake that they made.”
Trump kicked off his rally here by announcing the “very critical breaking news announcement” to his capacity crowd of supporters, who erupted in cheers and chants of “Lock her up!” as a stern-faced Trump announced, “They are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America.”
FBI Director James Comey announced Friday in a letter to members of Congress that through “an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation” of Clinton’s email server. Comey directed investigators to “review these emails to determine whether they contained classified information.”
The decision comes nearly four months after the FBI recommended no criminal charges following its investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
It also comes just 11 days before Election Day as Trump faces a steep and narrow path to victory following a series of damaging revelations — including sexual assault allegations and audio of Trump bragging about being able to grope women.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must never let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” Trump said, reading from prepared remarks. “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 has repeatedly accused the FBI and DOJ of colluding to cover up Clinton’s wrongful use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
And while he made it clear Friday that he was not backing off that claim, Trump appeared cautiously optimistic that the FBI’s latest announcement might finally yield the result he and his supporters have been clamoring for. Trump has argued Clinton should be jailed for storing several pieces of classified information on her private email server and misrepresenting that fact to the American public, though he did not explicitly say Friday that Clinton should be indicted or jailed.
“This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understood and it is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected,” Trump said.
Minutes later, he added: “It might not be as rigged as I thought.”
“The FBI, I think they’re going to right the ship, folks, I think they’re going to right the ship and they’re going to save their great reputation by doing so,” Trump said.
While Trump remained stern-faced as he addressed the FBI’s decision to investigate new emails related to Clinton’s email server, Trump’s supporters and his campaign staff were suddenly reinvigorated by the news.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was being interviewed by Yahoo News’ Bianna Golodryga when the news first broke.
“That is superb,” Conway said after Golodryga told her. “That is extraordinary news for the American people because they deserve to know everything.”
She later tweeted: “A great day in our campaign just got even better.”
Trump’s reaction to the FBI news echoed the response of other top Republican officials, including House Speaker Paul Ryan — who has been critical of Trump but still supports him for president.
Ryan called the FBI’s decision “long overdue” and hammered Clinton for her “reckless use of a private email server, and her refusal to be forthcoming with federal investigators.”
“Hillary Clinton has nobody but herself to blame. She was entrusted with some of our nation’s most important secrets, and she betrayed that trust by carelessly mishandling classified information,” Ryan said in a statement Friday.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called the news a “stunning development” and argued Clinton “jeopardized classified information.”
Priebus also suggested the FBI’s announcement raised questions about the 33,000 emails Clinton deleted from her private email server, which Trump has frequently raised on the stump.
“This stunning development raises serious questions about what records may not have been turned over and why, and whether they show intent to violate the law,” Priebus said.
By Jeremy Diamond, CNN
CNN’s Will Cadigan and Ruby Mellen contributed to this report.