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Trump goes on offense about new Clinton email probe

Chad Livengood, and Jonathan Oosting

Warren — Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump went on offense Monday in Michigan, seeking to capitalize on a renewed federal investigation of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s private email server as secretary of state.

At a rally in Warren Monday GOP hopeful Donald Trump called the Clinton email issue “the biggest scandal since Watergate.”

Trump unleashed a blistering critique of Clinton over the FBI’s review of newly discovered emails that may be related to the private server she secretly maintained at home. He also claimed the race here is “even,” even as a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls showed Clinton with a 6-percentage-point lead.

“This is the biggest scandal since Watergate,” Trump said. “Hillary Clinton wants to blame everyone else. But she has brought this situation on herself. And she has nobody to blame but herself.”

Clinton pushed back against the email controversy Monday in an Ohio speech, telling supporters she’s sure many of them are asking “why in the world the FBI would decide to jump into an election with no evidence of any wrongdoing with just days to go.”

Trump sees ‘constitutional crisis’ if Clinton elected

The former first lady and U.S. senator reiterated that it was a mistake to use a personal email server as secretary of state and said the FBI should look at her staffer’s emails.

“I am sure they will reach the same conclusion they did when they look at my emails for the last year: There is no case here,” Clinton said.

Trump’s children and running mate are joining the businessman’s renewed effort to become the first Republican presidential candidate in 28 years to win Michigan’s 16 electoral votes.

Donald Trump Jr. and his sister Ivanka Trump are expected to campaign for their father Wednesday in Michigan. Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence will visit Thursday, followed by Eric Trump on Friday, Trump’s campaign aides said.

Trump offers Republicans the best chance to win Michigan since 2004, when Democratic nominee John Kerry won the state by fewer than 4 percentage points, said west Michigan GOP consultant John Yob.

“Now that the people of Michigan know that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the president of the United States being under investigation, it seems to me that’s going to be moving numbers in Donald Trump’s direction,” Yob said.

The Clinton campaign has not said whether she or Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine will return to Michigan before Election Day. But Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is coming to the state Wednesday for campaign rallies in Kalamazoo and Traverse City.

In Warren, Trump rallied several thousand supporters inside a Macomb Community College gymnasium after holding a packed rally at the DeltaPlex arena near Grand Rapids.

Tracie Miller, a real estate appraiser from Sterling Heights, said she supports Trump because he vows to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“As a small business owner, I’m not happy with what’s going on with my Obamacare,” she said.

Trump repeated his promise to replace President Barack Obama’s health insurance program, but didn’t give any specifics.

“We’re going to give you something so cool,” he said.

Throughout the hour-long speech in Warren, Trump referred multiple times to Clinton’s email woes, which were reignited after FBI Director James Comey said the agency had discovered new emails that “appear pertinent” to the investigation it had concluded without charges in July.

“How can Hillary Clinton manage this country when she can’t even manage her email?” Trump asked, citing Democratic strategist Doug Schoen’s worry that her election could cause a “constitutional crisis.”

The newly discovered emails were unearthed through an unrelated investigation into former Democratic New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who gained national notoriety for sending lewd pictures of himself to other women. Weiner is the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Trump gloated about Weiner’s unexpected role in causing Clinton’s email server troubles to come roaring back to life.

“Thank you Anthony Weiner,” he said. “I never liked you. But thank you very much.”

Comey said in July “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton over the server, but criticized the candidate and her staff as “extremely careless” with classified materials. He said Friday the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this (new) material may be significant.”

Trump predicted the new investigation will last years and the U.S. “government will grind to a halt” if Clinton is elected president.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon said Clinton would strengthen the country and not split it.

“Donald Trump has done nothing in this campaign but play to people’s fears and has built his entire campaign on hateful, divisive rhetoric that pits Michiganders against each other,” Dillon said.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, questioned Trump’s treatment of workers.

“There have been lawsuits filed by workers against Donald Trump because they weren’t paid at all, or they weren’t paid correctly, or they weren’t paid overtime. So here you have Donald Trump saying that he cares about workers, when his whole career has shown the opposite,” Levin said in a statement issued by the Clinton campaign.

Kaine attacked Trump’s record of outsourcing the manufacturing of his Trump-branded clothing line to foreign countries on Sunday during a speech to unionized carpenters and millwrights in Warren.

In Grand Rapids, Trump was joined by former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, who interrupted the businessman’s speech to tell the crowd that in a Trump administration, “there will be no bull----.”

Peter Secchia, a former ambassador to Italy, offered a similarly succinct message to Republicans like 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney who have not backed Trump: “Shut up.”

Secchia fired up the crowd ahead of Trump’s speech in west Michigan, a traditional Republican stronghold where Trump will need to do well if he wants to win the state, which Democratic presidential candidates have swept since 1992.

Congressman Bill Huizenga, who had pledged to support the GOP nominee, took the stage shortly before Secchia and urged his fellow west Michigan Republicans to rally behind the New York businessman.

“We know there’s a better way out there,” said Huizenga, R-Zeeland. “We know that working with a Republican House and Senate and Donald Trump in the White House will be a formula for success. We will be able to change things.”

Huizenga has criticized some Trump comments and acknowledged the brash businessman may still have work to do to “bring home” conservatives on the west side of the state.

“I think that’s why he’s here today — to make sure he’s giving those more traditional Republicans a reason to come out and vote for him,” the third-term congressman said.

Most Michigan Republicans in Congress have now backed Trump, leaving U.S. Reps. Justin Amash of Cascade Township and Fred Upton of St. Joseph as the only holdouts.

“Everybody’s got to make their own decisions,” Huizenga said. “I know for me this is the right decision because of the implications for the country.”