WASHINGTON (AP) — Furiously campaigning to the last, Hillary Clinton tried Monday to emerge from the cloud of suspicion that has followed her campaign and close her historic bid to become the first woman president with a call for unity and hope. Donald Trump vowed not to make it easy.
Both candidates set exhausting schedules for the final day of a campaign that has wearied the entire nation, each visiting four states in appearances stretching deep into the night.
Trump tried to keep the focus on Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
Hours after the FBI announced on Sunday that it had again cleared her, Trump and his campaign questioned the bureau’s decision anew. The campaign suggested the latest rapid review of a Clinton aide’s emails could not have been thorough.
“They’ve bungled the investigation from the beginning,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said on CNN. Miller called for the FBI to release the newly discovered emails belonging to Clinton’s top aide Huma Adebin.
The comments were a reminder that FBI Director James Comey’s news, delivered in a letter to lawmakers on Sunday, was a double-edged sword for Clinton. While it vindicated her claims that the emails would not yield new evidence, it ensured that the final hours of her campaign would be spent talking about a subject that has damaged her credibility.
Clinton’s campaign said she would not be discussing the news Monday as she campaigns in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan. She instead shifted to a message of reconciliation after a rough campaign.
“I think I have some work to do to bring the country together,” she told reporters as she boarded her plane for her last battleground tour. “I really do want to be the president for everybody.”
After seeing her solid lead shrink as her email woes resurfaced, Clinton appears to have retained an edge in the final days. Her campaign says it’s been buoyed by strong turnout in states that vote early, including Nevada and Florida. Trump’s path to victory remained narrow. He must win nearly all of the roughly dozen battleground states up for grabs to take the White House.
More than 42.4 million people have already voted.
The Clinton campaign focused on the places that don’t allow early voting. Besides her own rallies, high-wattage allies fanned out across the country, including President Barack Obama, who was starting his day with a get-out-the-vote event in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a state that has been showered by candidate attention in recent days.
Clinton was to campaign in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a round-the-clock schedule that included a major rally in Philadelphia with her husband, former president Bill Clinton, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, along with rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
Trump, too, planned to keep up the breakneck campaign pace through Tuesday. On Monday, he was going to Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. After voting in New York Tuesday morning, Trump was expected to return to Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina and New Hampshire later in the day.
At an African-American church in Philadelphia, Clinton, who is seeking to be the first female president, spoke on Sunday of her candidacy in almost spiritual terms. And she ended with an evening rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, featuring remarks from Khizr Khan, the Muslim-American lawyer whose Army captain son was killed in Iraq.
“This election is a moment of reckoning,” she told voters Sunday night. “It is a choice between division and unity, between strong, steady leadership and a loose cannon who could put everything at risk.”
Trump, meanwhile, voiced new confidence as he took his campaign — and his criticism of a “rigged” American economic and political system— to Democratic strongholds.
“This is a whole different ballgame,” Trump said in Minneapolis, predicting victory in a state that hasn’t voted Republican since 1972. At a rally in Virginia that Trump called his “midnight special speech,” the Republican called the race a “marathon.”
“We are going to have one of the great victories of all time,” he said, comparing the US election to the “Brexit” vote by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union “times 50.”
Trump continued to focus on the email issue, despite the FBI’s finding.
“Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know,” he said at a rally that drew thousands to an amphitheater in the Detroit suburbs.
Comey’s move capped a stunning chapter in the bitter, deeply divisive contest. The director’s initial decision to make a renewed inquiry into Clinton’s emails public on October 28 upended the campaign at a crucial moment, sapping a surge in Clinton’s momentum and giving Trump fresh ammunition to challenge her trustworthiness.
The new review involved material found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and estranged husband of Abedin, the Clinton aide. Comey said Sunday the FBI reviewed communications “to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state.”
Comey told lawmakers the FBI was not changing the conclusion it reached this summer. Then, Comey said, “no reasonable prosecutor” would recommend Clinton face criminal charges.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.