WILTON MANORS, Fla. (AP) — Hillary Clinton vowed Sunday that she would not be “knocked off course” in the election’s final days, as she sought to push past a new FBI email inquiry in a sexting probe that delivered a late jolt to her race against Republican Donald Trump.
“I’m not stopping now, we’re just getting warmed up,” Clinton declared during a packed rally with gay and lesbian supporters in battleground Florida. “We’re not going to be distracted, no matter what our opponents throw at us.”
Trump campaigned in Las Vegas at a casino owned by billionaire GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson and accused the Justice Department, without offering evidence, of trying to protect Clinton following the FBI’s discovery of new emails that could be related to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
“Hillary has nobody but herself to blame for her mounting legal problems,” Trump said during a rally.
Clinton’s advisers and fellow Democrats pressured FBI Director James Comey anew to release more details about the emails, including whether Comey had even reviewed them himself. The message was aimed at gathering more information about what the bureau is seeking from a computer that appears to belong to disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton’s closest advisers.
Tim Kaine, Clinton’s running mate, said Comey owed it to the public to be more forthcoming about the emails under review by the FBI with only nine days remaining before the Nov. 8 election. Calling Comey’s announcement “extremely puzzling,” Kaine said that if Comey “hasn’t seen the emails, I mean they need to make that completely plain.”
Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, said Comey’s handling of the matter was “inappropriate.”
Clinton made unannounced stops Sunday in Florida at an early voting location, a Miami brunch spot and a soul food restaurant. She also addressed a predominantly black church, where she spoke of overcoming disappointments.
“Scripture tells us to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character,” she said. “And character produces hope.”
Clinton made no direct mention of the new FBI investigation, which has created anxiety among Democrats. But while she criticized the FBI for a lack of transparency during a campaign appearance on Saturday, she tried to shift her attention back to Trump on Sunday, casting him as a selfish billionaire with a striking lack of empathy.
Speaking to LGBT supporters in Wilton Manors, she seized on a Washington Post report about Trump appearing at a fundraiser for children with HIV and pretending to be a donor, though he never gave money to the charity.
“It’s always Donald Trump first and everyone else last,” she said.
Comey’s actions Friday have roiled the White House race, energizing Trump as polls had showed him sliding and unnerving Democrats worried about the presidency and down-ballot congressional races. In a letter to Congress on Friday, Comey said the FBI had recently come upon new emails while pursuing an unrelated case and was reviewing whether they were classified.
The FBI is looking into whether there was classified information on a device belonging to Weiner. Federal authorities in New York and North Carolina are investigating online communications between Weiner and a 15-year-old girl.
The developments prompted Trump to quip to his Las Vegas supporters, “We never thought we were going to say ‘thank you’ to Anthony Weiner,” he said.
A law enforcement official said Sunday that FBI investigators in the Weiner sexting probe knew for weeks about the existence of newly discovered emails that might be relevant to the Clinton email investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Comey said he was briefed Thursday about that development and told Congress on Friday that investigators had found the emails. A second law enforcement official also said the FBI was aware for a period of time about the emails before Comey was briefed, but the second official wasn’t more specific.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Comey was in “an impossible spot” when he acknowledged the FBI was looking into the messages. “Had he sat on the information, one can argue that he also would be interfering in the election,” by failing to disclose the review, Conway said.
The controversy over Clinton’s email practices while she served as secretary of state has dogged her for more than a year.
Late Saturday, four senior Democratic senators urged the Justice Department and the FBI to provide more detailed information by Monday about what investigative steps are being taken, the number of emails involved and what is being done to determine how many of the emails are duplicative of those already reviewed by the FBI.
The letter went to Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch from Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dianne Feinstein of California.
Kaine appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” Podesta and Conway were on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Thomas reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Las Vegas, and Eric Tucker and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Kaine was on ABC, not NBC.