Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has addressed the Federal Bureau of Investigation's announcement it has discovered new emails related to her use of a private email server while secretary of state, and is looking into the matter.
Clinton appeared before reporters just hours after the announcement by FBI Director James Comey, who said new emails had turned up during a different investigation that could affect Clinton.
Clinton called for the FBI to release all information pertaining to the probe. "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."
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a news conference at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016.
She also said she was "confident" that the additional scrutiny would not change the conclusion the FBI drew on her case in July. At that time, Comey said Clinton had been "extremely careless" to keep government emails on a private server, but that there was no evidence she had shared classified information with unauthorized parties on purpose and tried to cover that up.
After the news of the investigation broke Friday, further reports linked the new evidence with the federal investigation of former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner of New York, who is married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Weiner is being investigated for "sexting" with an underage girl in North Carolina. He and Abedin are separated.
Government sources said Friday that the FBI had discovered the new emails after it seized devices belonging to Abedin and Weiner.
Clinton campaign manager John Podesta challenged Comey's "extraordinary" statement, which came in a letter written to senior legislators. Podesta said Comey "should immediately provide the American public more information," and added he was confident that the reopened investigation would clear Clinton of wrongdoing.
Republican Party leaders rejoiced in what they saw as validation of their repeated complaints about Clinton's practice of handling government emails in a nonstandard fashion.
"Nobody was aware this was coming," an official at the State Department told VOA, but the deputy spokesman, Mark Toner, told reporters the government agency would "certainly" cooperate fully with the FBI's inquiry.
The FBI chief said he could not predict how long it would take to complete the new phase of the investigation.
Trump, who was in New Hampshire when the FBI made its announcement, welcomed the news and said he hoped the bureau would "right the horrible mistake" it made in July.
Trump claimed the Clinton email investigation was a scandal "bigger than Watergate," the political spying effort and subsequent cover-up that forced the resignation of former President Richard Nixon in 1974.
On Capitol Hill, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, said the FBI's action was "long overdue." In a statement, he said the Clinton investigation was "the result of her reckless use of a private email server, and her refusal to be forthcoming with federal investigators."
Trump running mate Mike Pence commended the FBI "for having the courage to reopen the case." He was speaking Friday to a crowd of supporters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, who chanted "Lock her up! Lock her up!" — a common refrain targeting Clinton at Trump rallies.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, told VOA the FBI announcement was highly unusual, coming just 11 days before the election. The FBI, he said, "has a policy not to release announcements or take actions right before elections. ... The only reason why the FBI would do that is if it felt there was credible information that would require further investigation. And this has to be more than just a hunch."
Turley said the content of the emails must be "quite significant" for the FBI to break from its long-standing policy.
As for how it will affect the outcome of the election, Turley said, both Clinton and Trump have hardcore followers who will not be budged even by news events.
"The big question is how it affects independents, and more importantly, I think, for the Clinton campaign, is how it affects people [who are] just not going to vote," Turley said. He noted that Clinton's critics cite trust issues as a reason not to support her.
"So, the campaign's been wrestling with that, to get people to vote even though the vast majority of them don't trust [Clinton,] don't believe that she's truthful," Turley added. "This type of thing falls right in the center of that controversy. Are these people still going to get up in the morning before work and [go] down to the election polls and vote when they already had misgivings about Clinton?"
Clinton has said she used the private server rather than a more secure government server because it was more convenient for her. Critics say she was trying to shield her communications from the Freedom of Information Act.
Although classified information turned up in email stored on her personal server, which authorities say was vulnerable to hacking, there was no evidence that she shared it with unauthorized parties on purpose and tried to cover that up.
Steve Herman and Jesusemen Oni contributed to this report.