WASHINGTON – Donald Trump, energized with the new FBI inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails, plans to spend a few hours in Chicago on Monday morning for “private meetings” while Clinton’s campaign scrambles to contain the damage.
On Sunday, the Associated Press and other outlets reported that the FBI has obtained a search warrant to start reviewing the emails that may relate to the Clinton email probe.
Comey in July recommended the FBI end its probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State, and said charges were not warranted.
The first polls out since Friday’s bombshell revelation that the FBI was going to take “appropriate investigative steps” in looking at emails on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton confidant Huma Abedin, found voters were not swayed much one way or the other.
A CBS News 13-battleground states poll taken on Friday and Saturday — after the news broke of the FBI decision to renew a probe of Clinton emails — found that among voters overall, “71 percent say it will not change their thinking, or that they have already voted.”
An ABC News / Washington Post survey, also taken Friday and Saturday, found that for 63 percent of voters, the FBI review made no difference, with 34 percent less likely to vote for Clinton in the wake of the revelation.
Trump, after campaign events in three battleground states, on Sunday night was scheduled to land in Chicago. Several sources told the Chicago Sun-Times he had “private meetings” during the four hours he will be in Chicago on Monday.
Trump’s campaign said last week the Chicago stop was for fundraising. None of Trump’s Illinois top fundraisers on Sunday were aware of any Trump fundraising event in Chicago on Monday.
Monday marks eight days until the election and over the weekend, the Clinton team, furious with FBI Director James Comey, called on him to tell the “full story.” Comey is in the midst of a 10-year term, confirmed by the Senate in July 2013.
Comey rocked the Clinton campaign with his Friday letter to Congress that was, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta said, “light on facts” and “heavy on innuendo.”
Until Friday, Clinton had been heading to a landslide victory. Damage could be limited because early voting started in some states weeks ago.
Comey’s letter was a gift to Trump, who has made Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State a centerpiece of his campaign. Trump on the stump over the weekend hit Clinton with renewed fury.
Clinton’s campaign is dealing with the fallout by not letting this October surprise distract from the end-of-campaign get-out-the vote plan long in the making.
On the more macro level, Trump is being hammered in ads, by Clinton and her surrogates for not releasing his tax returns, his treatment of women, his business failures and his fake charity. The Sunday Washington Post reported Trump’s boasts of giving were “largely a façade” and Clinton used it in a Florida speech on Sunday.
Clinton and her team are turning up the heat on Comey. Reports from several news outlets over the weekend said Comey was told that by Justice Department officials that going to Congress with so little information in hand violated department policy about commenting on about ongoing investigations and doing anything to influence an election.
Some 100 former Justice Department officials, including Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, signed a letter expressing dismay at Comey’s “breach of long-standing department protocols.”
As Podesta told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday’s ”State of the Union,” Comey “might have taken the first step of actually having looked at them (the emails) before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign, so close to the voting.”