MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump seized on the FBI’s Friday announcement that it is probing new emails related to Hillary Clinton’s private server, telling supporters here that “perhaps justice will finally be served.”
Kicking off a three-state swing here just as the FBI news broke, the Republican presidential nominee canceled a planned roundtable to immediately take the stage where, with a smile, he announced that he had a “very critical breaking-news announcement.”
Earlier in the afternoon, FBI Director James Comey said in a cryptic letter to Congress that his organization had “learned of the existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation” into Clinton’s server. Comey said investigators would review the messages, but revealed little else — just 11 days before Election Day.
But before he could say anything, the celebrity businessman was drowned out by a deafening roar from the crowd here. The audience broke into a loud chant of “Lock her up,” which has been a rallying cry for his supporters since the summer.
After telling the audience that the FBI was again looking into Clinton’s emails and her use of a private email server, Trump offered effusive praise for the FBI and Justice Department, which he has lambasted in recent days for being a part of the “rigged system.”
“I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and DOJ are willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake they made,” Trump said. “This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understood, and it is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected.”
He continued to trash Clinton, saying her “corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. “We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” Trump said, adding that “perhaps justice finally will be done.”
For her part, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta released a statement Friday afternoon calling for the FBI to provide additional details about its investigation:
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) October 28, 2016
Trump has regularly attacked the FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails, suggesting that the Justice Department was operating as a political arm of the Clinton campaign in refusing to punish Clinton and her aides for putting classified information at risk on her private server.
“The system is rigged. I think the biggest rigging of all is what has happened with the FBI and Justice Department with respect to Hillary Clinton because she is so guilty in so many ways,” Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in an interview that aired Thursday night. “She should not even be allowed to run for president.”
But on Friday, Trump acknowledged the FBI’s decision and said, “Maybe the system is not as rigged as I thought?”
Trump read his statement on the FBI’s decision slowly and carefully, taking his time as his supporters went wild. Pivoting to his regular remarks, Trump joked that maybe he shouldn’t even continue with the speech because it would be “boring” by comparison. Aides, he said, had told him that he could probably cancel the rally.
“When it just happened a little while ago, they said, ‘Mr. Trump, … we could skip your speech in New Hampshire, this is so big,'” Trump said. But, he added, he didn’t have “the courage” to.