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Clinton emails: FBI chief may have broken law, says top Democrat

BBC News logo BBC News 31/10/2016

Mr Comey has come under fire from Democrats over the move

The Democratic leader in the US Senate says the head of the FBI may have broken the law by revealing the bureau was investigating emails possibly linked to Hillary Clinton.

Harry Reid accused FBI director James Comey of violating an act which bars officials from influencing an election.

News of the FBI inquiry comes less than two weeks before the US election.

Meanwhile, the FBI has reportedly obtained a warrant to search a cache of emails belonging to a top Clinton aide.

Emails from Huma Abedin are believed to have been found on the laptop of her estranged husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner.

The FBI believes the emails might be "pertinent" to its previous inquiry into Mrs Clinton's use of a private server when she was secretary of state in the Obama administration.

The case was closed in July without any charges being brought against Mrs Clinton.

Mr Weiner is subject to a separate investigation on suspicion of sending sexually explicit messages to an underage girl.

A composite of James Comey and Hillary Clinton © Provided by BBC News A composite of James Comey and Hillary Clinton

'Partisan actions'

In a letter, Mr Reid accused Mr Comey of practising double standards with the intention of helping one political party over another.

He said Mr Comey may have violated the Hatch Act, which bars officials from using their position to influence an election.

"Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law," he said.

Mr Reid also accused Mr Comey of withholding "explosive information about close ties between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government".

"The public has a right to know about this information. I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public," Mr Reid said.

Mrs Clinton has described Mr Comey's actions as "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling".

But her Republican rival Donald Trump has praised the FBI's decision.

At a rally in Nevada on Sunday, Mr Trump accused the justice department of protecting the Democratic presidential candidate in a "rigged system".

"The Department of Justice is trying their hardest to protect the criminal activity of Hillary Clinton," Mr Trump said.

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