Clinton says she won’t be ‘knocked off course’ in final week

Hillary Clinton at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa on Oct. 26, 2016.
Hillary Clinton at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa on Oct. 26, 2016.

WILTON MANORS, Fla. (AP) — Hillary Clinton vowed Sunday that she would not be “knocked off course” in the election’s final days, as she sought to push past a new FBI email inquiry in a sexting probe that delivered a late jolt to her race against Republican Donald Trump.

“I’m not stopping now, we’re just getting warmed up,” Clinton declared during a packed rally with gay and lesbian supporters in battleground Florida. “We’re not going to be distracted, no matter what our opponents throw at us.”

Meanwhile, Trump continued to spread baseless doubts about the integrity of the American voting system, this time taking aim at Colorado’s vote-by-mail system. Suggesting that mailed-in ballots might not be properly counted, Trump told supporters at a Greeley rally to vote in person instead of relying on the state’s mail-in system — even if they’ve already submitted their ballots.

“They will give you a ballot, a new ballot,” he said. “They’ll void your old ballot and give you a new ballot and you can go ahead and make sure it gets in. Now in some places they probably do that four or five times. We don’t do that. But that’s great.”

Clinton’s advisers and fellow Democrats pressured FBI Director James Comey anew to release more details about the emails, including whether Comey had even reviewed them himself. The message was aimed at gathering more information about what the bureau is seeking from a computer that appears to belong to disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s closest advisers.

A law enforcement official confirmed late Sunday investigators had obtained a search warrant to begin the review of Abedin’s emails on Weiner’s computer. The official has knowledge of the investigation, but was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity. The official said investigators would move expeditiously, but would not say when the review might be complete.

Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, said Comey owed it to the public to be more forthcoming about the emails under review by the FBI with only nine days remaining before the Nov. 8 election. Calling Comey’s announcement “extremely puzzling,” Kaine said that if Comey “hasn’t seen the emails, I mean they need to make that completely plain.”

Clinton made unannounced stops Sunday in Florida at an early voting location, a Miami brunch spot and a soul food restaurant. She also addressed a predominantly black church, where she spoke of overcoming disappointments.

“Scripture tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character,” she said. “And character produces hope.”

Clinton made no direct mention of the new FBI investigation, which has created anxiety among Democrats. During a campaign appearance on Saturday, she criticized the FBI for a lack of transparency, then tried to shift her attention back to Trump on Sunday, casting him as a selfish billionaire with a striking lack of empathy.

Speaking to LGBT supporters in Wilton Manors, she seized on a Washington Post report about Trump appearing at a fundraiser for children with HIV and pretending to be a donor, though he never gave money to the charity.

“It’s always Donald Trump first and everyone else last,” she said.

Comey’s actions Friday have roiled the White House race, energizing Trump as polls had showed him sliding and unnerving Democrats worried about the presidency and down-ballot congressional races.

He campaigned with new confidence in Colorado later Sunday, noting the polls were tightening even “before the big bombshell” Friday.

In a letter to Congress on Friday, Comey said the FBI had recently come upon new emails while pursuing an unrelated case and was reviewing whether they were classified.

The FBI is looking into whether there was classified information on a device belonging to Weiner. Federal authorities in New York and North Carolina are investigating online communications between Weiner and a 15-year-old girl.

The developments prompted Trump to quip to his Las Vegas supporters, “We never thought we were going to say ‘thank you’ to Anthony Weiner,” he said.

A law enforcement official said Sunday that FBI investigators in the Weiner sexting probe knew for weeks about the existence of newly discovered emails that might be relevant to the Clinton email investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Comey said he was briefed Thursday about that development and told Congress on Friday that investigators had found the emails. A second law enforcement official also said the FBI was aware for a period of time about the emails before Comey was briefed, but the second official wasn’t more specific.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Comey was in “an impossible spot” when he acknowledged the FBI was looking into the messages. “Had he sat on the information, one can argue that he also would be interfering in the election,” by failing to disclose the review, Conway said.

The controversy over Clinton’s email practices while she served as secretary of state has dogged her for more than a year.

Kaine appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” Podesta and Conway were on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

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Thomas reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Las Vegas, and Eric Tucker and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.

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Follow Ken Thomas at http://twitter.com/KThomasDC and Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Kaine was on ABC, not NBC.