WASHINGTON, U.S. - The drama surrounding the U.S. presidential election got a new twist on Friday, as the FBI declared it would probe newly discovered emails that have come to light concerning ...
• FBI said it cannot yet assess whether or not these new email material may be significant
• Trump has called the discovery of new Clinton emails as "bigger than Watergate"
• American stocks took a tumble shortly after the FBI announcement
WASHINGTON, U.S. - The drama surrounding the U.S. presidential election got a new twist on Friday, as the FBI declared it would probe newly discovered emails that have come to light concerning Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server to ascertain whether the exchanges contain classified information.
The agency's surprise announcement comes less than two weeks before the presidential election on November 8, in which Clinton is the Democratic Party's candidate and seemingly the front-runner according to a host of opinion polls.
"In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation," FBI Director James Comey said in a letter addressed to several U.S. congressional committee chairmen.
In the letter, which was released on Friday, Comey wrote that the FBI "cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant."
The FBI has spent close to a year investigating Clinton's use of an unauthorised private email server for her work as secretary of state between 2009 and 2013, after it emerged that there were classified government data in some of her email communication.
The FBI chief provided no further details about the nature of the new set of emails, adding, "(The FBI) cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work.”
The American government bars transmitting classified information outside secure networks. In July, Comey said there was evidence that Clinton and her staff may have violated laws, but no charges were brought on Clinton.
Clinton has in the past apologised for the email fiasco, saying it was a mistake.
Meanwhile, Democrats have questioned the timing of the agency's revelation.
Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta called it “extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election” and urged Comey to provide a clearer explanation.
"The (FBI) Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July,” Podesta said.
Clinton's Republican counterpart Donald Trump, caught in a web of unending controversies, grabbed this opportunity as a last-ditch effort to revive his fast-diminishing campaign.
"This is bigger than Watergate," Trump thundered in an election rally at Iowa on Friday.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before,” he continued. “We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.”
Trump added he was confident that the investigation “will be properly handled from this point forward.”
Shortly after the announcement, American stocks took a tumble in fear of more ambiguity with the elections knocking at the doorstep.
The Nasdaq shed over 0.50 percent to 5190.10 in intraday trading, while the S&P 500 fell 0.30 percent to trade at 2126.41.