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Comey’s Follow Up - Too Little Too Late?

By Jesus Cervantes November 6, 2016

Last week, we wrote about what FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress about reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server might do to the election. Thus far it seems our conjecture was relatively accurate. Clinton’s safe lead and the idea that the election was sealed disintegrated and Donald Trump is now gunning for the win. However, Clinton still has an edge on Trump, though victory is nowhere near a guarantee for either candidate, and her early voting advantage will surely still play a huge role in helping her in various states like Nevada.

On Sunday, November 6th, however, just two days before Election Day, James Comey released a second letter stating that the FBI has maintained its decision to not pursue Clinton for her use of a private email servers. With just two days before the election, no polls will be able to measure what impact, if any, this second letter will have. This is especially true since some pollsters have already wrapped up operations for this cycle (WSJ released their last national poll of the election on the same day Comey released his second letter). Thus, what impact this second letter has is primarily up to conjecture due to the volatility that the first letter created. Will this second letter be able to help Clinton?

Well, it might. The day before the election, Hillary and Bill Clinton will be campaigning in Philadelphia with Michelle and Barack Obama. This last big rally will be a good opportunity for her and her allies to capitalize on the second letter. However, she will have a difficult case to sell as many voters’ suspicions of her candidacy have been reignited by the simple fact that the email issue made headlines once more. These are suspicions that Trump intends to capitalize on.

The same day that Comey released the second letter, Trump rejected its conclusion and claimed that Clinton would be under investigation for a long time and that it is impossible for the FBI to have reviewed all 650,000 emails on Huma Abedin’s laptop. While it should be noted that the FBI only really looked into the emails on the laptop that were to or from Hillary Clinton, Trump’s messaging is likely to still be rather effective. The damage from the first letter has been done and it is likely irreversible.

Prior to Comey’s first letter, Clinton enjoyed a seemingly insurmountable lead as the nation’s focus was on a litany of Donald Trump’s sexual assault­related scandals. Now, however, the main focus of the nation is back on Clinton and her emails. Now, Trump can be on the offensive while Clinton is forced to play damage control. While Clinton may still be ahead in the polls, the momentum is clearly in Trump’s favor. At this point, there is no telling if Trump will have enough time to turn the tides of this election and pull ahead or if Clinton will be able to capitalize on this second letter to regain her high ground. At this point, with such little time before the election, the only thing we can do is the one thing we always can: vote.