Oct. 28, 2016: Hillary Clinton got the October Surprise that could cost her the presidency—but it didn’t come from WikiLeaks. On Friday, it was from the FBI, who announced they were re-opening the investigation into her emails. Trump called it “bigger than Watergate”—which is what he’d need to pull off a comeback to win the Oval Office.
Clinton isn’t addressing the FBI probe yet, but used her rally in Iowa to stir up her supporters by telling them that, polls be damned, Trump could actually win this thing if they don’t get out the vote. Not to mention, a professor who has a winning formula for picking presidential elections predicted the U.S. will soon have a President Trump.
Here’s our daily U.S. election Bulldog, a regular round-up of what you need to know about this day on the campaign trail.
The FBI’s October Surprise
Trump may just have gotten the Clinton bombshell he needs to pull off a comeback in this election. With less than two weeks until Election Day, the FBI announced it is reopening its investigation into Clinton’s private email server. In a letter to U.S. Congress, FBI director James Comey wrote: “The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. […] I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information.”
The emails were reportedly obtained from devices during an investigation into former congressman Anthony Weiner—the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a top aide to Clinton—but no emails have yet been released and the FBI stated it isn’t sure yet if the material is even significant or not. However, the mere fact that the FBI is again probing into Clinton’s emails might be scandalous enough. Will it be enough to sway the voters?
Trump started his New Hampshire rally on Friday morning saying: “I need to open with a very critical breaking news announcement.” He added later: “This is bigger than Watergate.”
Clinton’s message to voters: ‘Trump can win’
Even though she’s up in many of them, Clinton doesn’t want her supporters looking too closely at the polls. With less than two weeks until the country votes, Clinton’s adversary isn’t just Trump—it’s also voter indifference among those who think she’s en route to a landslide victory.
“Donald Trump says he can still win, and, you know, he’s right. Anything can happen in an election,” Clinton told a rally in Iowa, where she noted that one poll released Friday had her and Trump tied at 44 per cent each. “Now, we’re not gonna let that happen, are we? And you know how we will do that? By voting. By showing up with the biggest turnout in history. More women voting. More young people voting. More people of colour voting. More Americans of every kind voting for a good, positive, unified vision of the future.”
But if Clinton wants to sound like she hasn’t already won this thing, it might help if her team wasn’t reportedly already eyeing current vice-president Joe Biden to serve as her Secretary of State. (Biden says he doesn’t want to stick around.)
Add one more to the increasingly long list of women accusing Trump of groping or other unwanted sexual advances. A winner of the Miss Finland crown in 2006, Ninni Laaksonen, alleged that Trump grabbed her butt backstage prior to an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Laaksonen allegations make the 12th woman to come forward with such accusations, a list that includes a former porn actor, a journalist, models, beauty pageant contestants and a contestant on The Apprentice. Trump has said the accusations are fictitious.
Republican fundraising hasn’t helped them compete with the war chest of the Democrats. But fortunately for them, they got a little $10 million influx for an advertising push, thanks to…Trump himself.
The cash will reportedly be part of a $25 million spend for ads in key battleground states—though TV ad buys will be plenty more expensive this late in the campaign.
As for Trump’s total campaign contributions to himself, the latest addition brings his total personal spending up to $66 million.
Ensure your seatbelt is fastened at all times
A presidential campaign involves an exhausting flying schedule, often visiting multiple states in the same day. Fortunately, there was no tragedy Thursday night when a plane carrying Republican vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence skidded off the runway as it landed in New York City.
“It was about 10 seconds of uncertainty last night, but we’re just so grateful to the pilots and to the first responders on the scene and (that) everybody came off the plane safely,” Pence told CNN Friday morning. And while he skipped an appearance at a fundraiser Thursday evening, he was back meeting with voters first thing on Friday.
So thankful everyone on our plane is safe. Grateful for our first responders & the concern & prayers of so many. Back on the trail tomorrow!
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) October 28, 2016
Prof. Right makes his pick
For thirty years, American University history professor Allan Lichtman has correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote in each presidential election. But instead of analyzing polls, Lichtman looks at “13 keys”—simple true/false statements—that range from a party’s results in midterm elections, the stat of the economy and the charisma of the two presidential nominees.
So who’s his prediction for 2016? Donald Trump.
Recommended reading: If the 2016 election were a novel, how would it read? American novelist Thomas Mallon gives it a shot in the New Yorker: “2016: The Novel.”