Donald Trump has intensified his attacks on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server, as she tried to move past the discovery of new emails and shift the election back to a referendum on Mr Trump’s fitness for office.
Ms Clinton declared she’s “not making excuses” for using her personal email address while in government. But she promised supporters at Kent State University that the FBI will reach the same conclusion as in July, when the bureau decided against prosecuting her for her handling of classified information.
“There is no case here,” she said. “Most people have decided a long time ago what they think about all this. Now what people are focused on is choosing the next president and commander in chief.”
She then pivoted to Mr Trump, casting him as unfit to be commander in chief and dangerous for national security.
“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” she said.
Mr Trump, bolstered by FBI director James Comey’s letter on the emails, believes he has momentum heading to the final full week of the campaign. But the electoral map remains challenging, forcing the Republicans to make some unlikely late forays into blue-leaning states in an effort to counteract the Clinton campaign’s strength in banking early votes and organising for Tuesday’s turnout.
“Hillary is likely to be under investigation for a very long time,” he told cheering supporters in Grand Rapids. “She’s unfit and unqualified to be the president of the United States, and her election would mire our government and our country in a constitutional crisis that we cannot afford.”
He added: “How will Hillary manage this country when she can’t even manage her emails?”. He added that the former secretary of state would get the country into “World War Three”.
On Monday, Mr Trump held a pair of rallies in Michigan, which last went for a Republican presidential nominee in 1988. The day before, he held an evening rally in New Mexico – his first since becoming his party’s nominee – which is a state that has gone for the Republican party only once since 1988. And on Tuesday, he’ll appear with his running mate Mike Pence in Wisconsin, which has not voted for a Republican president since Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984.
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The Trump campaign – which aims to make attacks based on the Clinton emails and “Obamacare” premium hikes the centrepieces of their argument – believes that white working-class voters in the Midwest could tip Michigan or Wisconsin his way, especially if he benefits from reduced enthusiasm for Ms Clinton in African-American strongholds such as Detroit and Milwaukee. New Mexico is seen as a longer shot, with Mr Trump’s hard-line immigration stance a harder sell in a state with the highest percentage of Latino voters in the nation.
Mr Trump has consistently trailed in the polls in all three of these states, but his last-minute plays there this week reflect his need to flip at least one traditionally Democratic-leaning state. While Mr Trump has not given up on Pennsylvania – he will campaign there again on Tuesday – he remains behind, and a loss there narrows his path considerably.
Even if he wins the traditional battlegrounds of Ohio and Florida, he would almost certainly need to pluck one from the blue-leaning trio he is visiting early this week – as well as a state like New Hampshire, Nevada or North Carolina – in order to overcome Ms Clinton’s map advantage.
And the ongoing fractures within the Republican party likely will not help: House Speaker Paul Ryan is not expected to appear with Mr Trump in his native Wisconsin.
Ms Clinton’s advisers and fellow Democrats, furious over the vague letter sent by FBI director Mr Comey to Congress on Friday, have been pressuring him to release more details about the emails, including whether Mr Comey had even reviewed them himself. The emails were found on a computer that appears to belong to disgraced former New York Representative Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Ms Clinton’s closest advisers.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been featured in an ad for Ms Clinton’s campaign, described Mr Comey’s actions as “deeply troubling” and a violation of “long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition”, in an article published in the Washington Post on Monday.
A law enforcement official confirmed late on Sunday that investigators had obtained a search warrant to begin the review of Ms Abedin’s emails on Mr Weiner’s computer. The official said investigators would move expeditiously but would not say when the review might be complete.
In a letter to Congress on Friday, Mr Comey said the FBI had recently come upon new emails while pursuing an unrelated case and was reviewing whether they were classified.
Federal authorities in New York and North Carolina are investigating online communications between Mr Weiner and a 15-year-old girl.
Thank you, Huma! Good job, Huma. Thank you, Anthony Weiner!” said Mr Trump, as the crowd chanted the name of the New York congressman.