Days before US election FBI concludes Clinton should face no charges over leaked emails

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The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, told Congress on Sunday that he had seen no evidence in a recently discovered trove of emails to change his conclusion that Hillary Clinton should face no charges over her handling of classified information.

Mr. Comey’s announcement, just two days before the election, was an effort to clear the cloud of suspicion he had publicly placed over her presidential campaign late last month when he alerted Congress that the F.B.I. would examine the emails.

“Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton,” Mr. Comey wrote in a letter to the leaders of several congressional committees. He said agents had reviewed all communications to and from Mrs. Clinton in the new trove from when she was secretary of state.

The letter was a dramatic final twist in a tumultuous nine days for both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, who drew widespread criticism for announcing that the F.B.I. had discovered new emails that might be relevant to its investigation of Mrs. Clinton, which ended in July with no charges. That criticism of Mr. Comey from both parties is likely to persist after the election.

While the new letter was clear as it related to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Comey’s message was otherwise vague. He did not say that agents had completed their review of the emails, or that they were abandoning the matter in regard to her aides. But federal law enforcement officials said that they considered the review of emails related to Mrs. Clinton’s server complete, and that Mr. Comey’s letter was intended to convey that.

One senior law enforcement official said that as recently as Friday, it was not clear whether the review would be completed by Election Day. But after days of working in shifts around the clock, teams of counterintelligence agents and technology specialists at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington finished their examination of the thousands of emails. Officials had decided to make their decision public as soon as they had reached it, to avoid any suggestion that they were suppressing information.

According to the law enforcement official, many of the emails were personal messages or duplicates of ones that the bureau had previously examined during the original inquiry.

Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, said in a post on Twitter that the campaign had always believed she would be cleared of any wrongdoing.