Opinion: American voters deserve clarity on FBI′s new Clinton probe | Opinion | DW | 28.10.2016
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US election

Opinion: American voters deserve clarity on FBI's new Clinton probe

The announcement of a new FBI probe into additional Clinton emails 11 days before election day brings up more questions than answers. For the sake of voters, the FBI should get to the bottom of this before November 8.

Just when one thinks the most bizarre US presidential campaign in recent memory could not get any stranger, the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took another unexpected twist just 11 days before Americans head to the polls.

It came in the shape of a curt note sent to Congressional leaders by FBI director James Comey on Friday. In 169 words, the head of the FBI wrote that the bureau had learned of additional emails "that appear to be pertinent" to its original probe into Clinton's private emails.

In closing, Comey cautioned that he could neither estimate how long the new review would take nor ascertain whether the new material is significant or not.

Michael Knigge

In the run-up to the election, Michael Knigge is reporting from Washington

Partisan spinning

The revelation of the new FBI email review was quickly followed by a slew of various leaks by unnamed sources as to the potential nature and origins of the additional emails. But as the FBI and its high-profile director has remained mum since the letter became public, it's impossible to verify or falsify those claims.

Naturally, Republicans - led by their presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is currently trailing Clinton in most opinion polls - are trying to make political hay out of this while Democrats are preferring to downplay the matter.

But all the spinning efforts by both camps aside, the public at this point only has Comey's terse statement to go by. And that is simply not good enough less than two weeks before the culmination of an election campaign that has divided Americans to an extent that was unimaginable prior to this race, even to the most cynical observers.

Dark cloud over the election

The FBI's new probe did what many thought was not possible - it raised the stakes for this election once again. Either the handling or content of the new emails related to the leading presidential candidate of the United States, unlike the previous batch investigated by the FBI, rises to a criminal level and therefore would become a potential game changer - or it doesn't.

It would behoove the man who decided to go ahead with this additional review at this critical juncture to publicly explain his decision and then to resolve the matter one way or the other before election day. What's more, Comey should have known that his vague statement of 169 words would not do justice to an issue of this gravity. The American people deserve better, and should not be left in limbo over this. The ball is back in Comey's court.

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