Libertarian Johnson seizes on FBI’s new Clinton probe

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — Libertarian Gary Johnson seized Friday on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s decision to investigate new emails as part of its probe into Hillary Clinton’s private server, saying voters deserve an honest presidential candidate with integrity.

Presidential candidate Gary Johnson seized Friday on the FBI’s decision to investigate new emails as part of its probe into Hillary Clinton’s private server, saying voters deserve an honest presidential candidate with integrity.

The FBI’s decision comes 11 days before Election Day and offered Johnson a chance before and during a scheduled campaign rally Friday at Cobo Center to remind voters that they have a choice beyond Clinton, a Democrat, and Republican rival Donald Trump.

“Doesn’t truth mean anything these days? Integrity?” Johnson told reporters Friday before addressing a crowd of about 400 people carrying Johnson-Weld 2016 signs.

Johnson’s comments came after the FBI told Congress it is investigating whether there is classified information in new emails that have emerged in its probe of Clinton’s private server.

“The revelations regarding Hillary, clearly the FBI with 11 days to go has to recognize how significant it is that they are doing this, and they wouldn’t be doing this if weren’t based on something — I’ll use the word significant — knowing there will not be a resolution to this prior to the election,” Johnson said at news conference before the rally.

Johnson was, however, realistic, despite the FBI announcement Friday.

“With just this amount of time to go, it would really take a seismic shift in attention to let people realize that there is a third choice,” Johnson said.

Johnson on Friday also criticized Trump’s plan to build a wall along the U.S./Mexican border, calling the New York businessman an “isolationist.”

“Who’s going to pay for that?” he asked. “You and I are going to pay for that.”

Clinton, meanwhile, sees government as the solution to everything, Johnson said.

“She wants to grow Medicaid and Medicare,” Johnson said.

The former Republic governor of New Mexico said he believed Trump “was toast” before the FBI’s Friday announcement. Johnson anticipated the investigation could boost his own sagging poll numbers.

“With this revelation today, boy, there’s a reason they are the two most polarizing political figures of all time that happen to be the nominees,” he said.

Johnson received support from 10.3 percent of 600 likely Michigan voters in an Oct. 10-11 Glengariff Group poll released to The Detroit News and WDIV, trailing Clinton at 42.2 percent and Trump at 30.6 percent. In a Real Clear Politics average of Michigan polls, Johnson gets 7 percent.

In a four-candidate race, Real Clear Politics shows the former governor and businessman receives 5.2 percent backing in an average of national polls.

The visit gave Johnson a final-stretch opportunity to reach voters before the Nov. 8 election.

Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, will campaign Saturday in Battle Creek and Muskegon, while Trump surrogate and Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson is expected to stump for the Republican candidate in Livonia, Grand Rapids and at a Michigan-Michigan State University tailgate in East Lansing.

Johnson hopes to play the spoiler role in the election in which he is running with former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld.

“I like to think of myself as offering a principled alternative,” he said. “The pitch is honesty, integrity. We are two former Republican governors. We were fiscally responsible, (supported) free markets and were the opposite of crony capitalism, the opposite of government picking winners and losers.”

Construction worker Randy Warnick and wife Debbie Warnick of Pontiac attended the rally to back the candidate they called an honest man.

“We’re all for Johnson, no doubt, he’s the man,” Randy Warnick, 58, said after his wife slapped a Libertarian bumper stick on the back of his denim shirt. “We’re in trouble if we get either one of the other ones. He’s down to earth.”

Debbie Warnick, left and her husband Randy speak about Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, Friday Oct. 28, 2016, prior to a rally at Cobo Center in Detroit.

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The Associated Press contributed