PHOTO: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and FBI Director James Comey
UPDATE 1100 GMT: Two more interviews with BBC outlets on Monday morning:
ORIGINAL ENTRY: In an already unprecedented US Presidential election, FBI Director James Comey added a dramatic twist on Friday with the announcement of a renewed investigation of e-mails from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s private server.
I spoke with BBC World Service’s NewsHour on Sunday about the development, beginning with an explanation of why Comey’s intervention was driven by political calculation, rather than any necessity of law enforcement or the legal process.
Then the discussion turned to the effect on the race. Although the e-mails are likely to be inconsequential — they are probably communications with Clinton’s senior aide Huma Abedin, found during an investigation of her estranged husband, former US Congressman Anthony Wiener — it is image that matters.
That image is likely to raise the “trust” issue around Clinton. At the same time, it benefits the Trump campaign by keeping the spotlight off its candidate, with his failure to release tax returns, allegations of sexual abuse of 15 women, and questions over his approach to Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
This appears to have been a political announcement. The FBI Director was worried that he would be embarrassed if it came out that these e-mails had been found….We’re in the middle of an almighty mess, because there is no way that this situation can be resolved before November 8….
I’m not so sure that this will make Clinton supporters vote for Trump — that would be a bit of a leap….It’s more a case of whether people who are thinking about voting for Clinton decide to stay home and sit on their hands….
It may only affect 1% or 2% of people, but that could be decisive in swing states in this election.