Monday, October 31, 2016

James Comey Role Recalls Hoover’s F.B.I., Fairly or Not - The New York Times

James Comey Role Recalls Hoover’s F.B.I., Fairly or Not - The New York Times:



"WASHINGTON — Since President Obama named James B. Comey director of the F.B.I. in 2013, the 6-foot-8 former prosecutor has spoken often of dark chapters in the bureau’s history, notably J. Edgar Hoover’s order to wiretap the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and use the tapes to try to drive the civil rights leader to suicide."



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Donald Trump Used Legally Dubious Method to Avoid Paying Taxes - The New York Times

Donald Trump Used Legally Dubious Method to Avoid Paying Taxes - The New York Times:



 "Donald J. Trump proudly acknowledges he did not pay a dime in federal income taxes for years on end. He insists he merely exploited tax loopholes legally available to any billionaire — loopholes he says Hillary Clinton failed to close during her years in the United States Senate. “Why didn’t she ever try to change those laws so I couldn’t use them?” Mr. Trump asked during a campaign rally last month."



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Working the Refs By Paul Krugman

The cryptic letter James Comey, the F.B.I. director, sent to Congress on Friday looked bizarre at the time — seeming to hint at a major new Clinton scandal, but offering no substance. Given what we know now, however, it was worse than bizarre, it was outrageous. Mr. Comey apparently had no evidence suggesting any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton; he violated longstanding rules about commenting on politically sensitive investigations close to an election; and he did so despite being warned by other officials that he was doing something terribly wrong.

So what happened? We may never know the full story, but the best guess is that Mr. Comey, like many others — media organizations, would-be nonpartisan advocacy groups, and more — let himself be bullied by the usual suspects. Working the refs — screaming about bias and unfair treatment, no matter how favorable the treatment actually is — has been a consistent, long-term political strategy on the right. And the reason it keeps happening is because it so often works.

You see this most obviously in news coverage. Reporters who find themselves shut up in pens at Trump rallies while the crowd shouts abuse shouldn’t be surprised: constant accusations of liberal media bias have been a staple of Republican rhetoric for decades. And why not? The pressure has been effective.

Part of this effectiveness comes through false equivalence: news organizations, afraid of being attacked for bias, give evenhanded treatment to lies and truth. Way back in 2000 I suggested that if a Republican candidate said that the earth was flat, headlines would read, “Views differ on shape of planet.” That still happens.

The desire to get right-wing critics off one’s back may also explain why the news media keep falling for fake scandals. There’s a straight line from the Whitewater investigation — which ran for seven years, was endlessly hyped in the press, but never found any wrongdoing on the part of the Clintons — to the catastrophically bad coverage of the Clinton Foundation a couple of months ago. Remember when The Associated Press suggested scandalous undue influence based on a meeting between Hillary Clinton and a donor who just happened to be both a Nobel Prize winner and an old personal friend?

Sure enough, much of the initial coverage of the Comey letter was based not on what the letter said, which was very little, but on a false, malicious characterization of the letter by Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. You might think reporters would have learned by now not to take what people like Mr. Chaffetz say at face value. Apparently not.

Nor is it just the news media. A few years ago, during the peak of deficit-scold influence, it was striking to see the various organizations demanding deficit reduction pretend that Democrats who were willing to compromise and Republicans who insisted on slashing taxes for the wealthy were equally at fault. They even gave a “fiscal responsibility” award to Paul Ryan, whose budget proposals gave smoke and mirrors a bad name.

And as someone who still keeps a foot in the academic world, I’ve been watching pressure build on universities to hire more conservatives. Never mind the way climate denial, attacks on the theory of evolution, and all that may have pushed academics out of the G.O.P. The fact that relatively few conservatives teach, say, physics, is supposed to be grossly unfair. And you know some schools will start hiring less qualified people in response.

Which brings us back to Mr. Comey. It seemed obvious from the start that Mrs. Clinton’s decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice and bypass State Department email was a mistake, but nothing remotely approaching a crime. But Mr. Comey was subjected to a constant barrage of demands that he prosecute her for … something. He should simply have said no. Instead, even while announcing back in July that no charges would be filed, he editorialized about her conduct — a wholly inappropriate thing to do, but probably an attempt to appease the right.

It didn’t work, of course. They just demanded more. And it looks as if he tried to buy them off by throwing them a bone just a few days before the election. Whether it will matter politically remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: he destroyed his own reputation.

The moral of the story is that appeasing the modern American right is a losing proposition. Nothing you do convinces them that you’re being fair, because fairness has nothing to do with it. The right long ago ran out of good ideas that can be sold on their own merits, so the goal now is to remove merit from the picture.

Or to put it another way, they’re trying to create bias, not end it, and weakness — the kind of weakness Mr. Comey has so spectacularly displayed — only encourages them to do more.

NYT

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Early Turnout Tilts Toward Democrats in Swing States By Jeremy W. Peters and Matt Flegenheimer

Hillary Clinton has established a slim edge over Donald J. Trump in early-voter turnout in several vital swing states, pressing her longstanding advantages in state-level organization and potentially mitigating the fallout from her campaign’s latest scrap with the F.B.I.

Even as Democrats continued to reel from revived questions about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state — a jolt delivered 11 days before the election in an abstruse letter from the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — turnout tallies and interviews with dozens of early voters suggest that even a vintage “October surprise” may pack less of a punch than it once did.

In a race between two deeply polarizing candidates, opinions appear to have been cemented weeks if not months ago for most voters. And the contest is well underway in some of the most important battlegrounds.

At least 21 million people have voted so far across the country. In the states that are most likely to decide the election — among them Florida, Colorado and Nevada — close to a quarter of the electorate has already cast ballots. While their votes will not be counted until Election Day, registered Democrats are outperforming Republicans in key demographics and urban areas there and in North Carolina, where extensive in-person voting began late last week and which has emerged as one of the most closely contested battlegrounds for the White House and control of the Senate.

Now, the salient question appears to be whether an unforeseen plot twist in the campaign’s final days can still upend an election that is already over for millions of voters.

Though Democrats can take solace from the fact that their large organizational advantage has supplied a cushion when they need it most, the race is still exceedingly close. And the latest eruption in the email affair still threatens to turn many voters against Mrs. Clinton — and put Democrats in lower-level contests on the defensive — just when it appeared Mr. Trump and other Republican candidates were falling out of contention.

“We cannot get distracted by all the noise in the political environment,” Mrs. Clinton urged voters on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. reminding them that three million Floridians had already voted. “We’ve got to stay focused.”

While the early-voting numbers appear strong for Mrs. Clinton, there were signs of weakness over the weekend, especially among African-Americans in North Carolina, where the turnout as of Saturday night showed that they had not voted at their 2012 levels so far.

Among both supporters and critics of Mrs. Clinton, early returns suggest the latest uproar has changed few minds, despite seeming to break through the campaign din. In interviews with more than three dozen voters in three early-voting states — Colorado, Florida and North Carolina — most had at least a passing familiarity with the email developments but said the news had no bearing on their decisions at the ballot box.

“Enough is enough with the emails,” said Marialuisa Glait, 33, of Miami, holding her 2-year-old son, Joaquin, after voting for Mrs. Clinton.

Fernando Gonzales, 26, another early Clinton voter in Miami, said this consistently implausible election season had long ago deadened his nerves to shock.

“The October surprise doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “The bar’s been lowered so much, you can’t lower it any more.”

Because of a large advantage in mail-in ballots, registered Republicans in Florida have the thinnest of edges over registered Democrats in votes cast so far — less than a percentage point. But that advantage has diminished as in-person voting has begun and is smaller than the lead Republicans had at this point four years ago. The Democratic gains owe in large part to high turnout among Hispanics, who have typically waited until much later to vote.

“Hispanics are outperforming,” said Daniel A. Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida who has been analyzing demographic data about early turnout that the state is required to collect. “They are more engaged in this election cycle, and more are voting earlier than we saw in 2012.”

In North Carolina, Democrats have a wide lead in the number of ballots cast so far, with 43 percent to Republicans’ 31 percent. But because the state significantly curtailed early voting, Democrats have lagged behind their 2012 participation rate, while Republicans are running ahead. As more polling places open, Democrats are catching up to their 2012 rates.

“They keep eating that deficit away,” said J. Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College.

Mr. Bitzer said there should be other warning signs for Mr. Trump: Women have cast 56 percent of the votes in North Carolina so far, and rural voters are slightly behind their 2012 participation rates.

The nagging question for Mrs. Clinton is whether Democrats can bolster black turnout, which is down 17 percent so far, Mr. Bitzer said. “That’s the biggest concern for her,” he added.

Democrats are also beating Republicans so far in Colorado and Nevada, where Mr. Trump held rallies over the weekend and continued to question the integrity of the voting process, even as he implored his supporters to send in their ballots.

“We’ve got a lot of people watching the people that collect the ballots,” Mr. Trump said on Saturday in Golden, Colo.Thirty-nine percent of the ballots received in Colorado so far have been from registered Democrats, 35 percent from Republicans. Democrats overcame Republicans’ longstanding registration advantage there this year, a worrisome sign for Mr. Trump and his party.

In Nevada, where Mr. Trump campaigned on Sunday, Democrats were voting at a rate that exceeded Republicans’ participation by seven percentage points. Crucially, in bellwether Washoe County, which includes Reno, more Democrats had voted as of late Saturday.

Mrs. Clinton and her allies are directing their campaign visits almost exclusively to early-voting states: On Saturday, Mrs. Clinton appeared with Jennifer Lopez at a concert in Miami. Former President Bill Clinton appeared on Sunday in North Carolina, and Mrs. Clinton was to campaign on Monday in Ohio.

Her goal, aides said, is to build an advantage that Mr. Trump cannot overcome even if he wins the majority of votes cast on Election Day.

By contrast, Mr. Trump’s minimal organizing has essentially left voter mobilization efforts to the Republican National Committee. Officials there expressed confidence despite having a far larger role than they had anticipated.

“We’re seeing some very positive metrics,” said Chris Carr, the committee’s political director. “I would say we’re running at parity or ahead of the Clinton campaign.”

Both campaigns have embarked on an intense chase for those among their supporters who are least likely to vote — people who could hold the key to the election. If these people turn out, then early voting actually adds to Mrs. Clinton’s or Mr. Trump’s vote totals. Otherwise the effect of early voting would be relatively meaningless: People would have voted anyway, just at a different time

Clinton aides said they had created a battleground-state model that scores voters from 1 to 100 based on factors such as their likelihood of voting and their susceptibility to advertising. So far, among those the Clinton campaign sees as least likely to turn out — people who have skipped nonpresidential elections — Democrats are voting in far greater numbers than Republicans in both 

North Carolina and Nevada, and in slightly larger numbers in Arizona.

The F.B.I.’s disclosure on Friday, rather than changing many minds, seemed to largely confirm the sentiments of people who were voting early.

“If I was a Democrat, I’d certainly be questioning my vote,” said Steve Flynn, a 65-year-old retired construction worker who lives outside Denver and voted for Mr. Trump.

But his daughter-in-law, Whitney Dorman, said she and her husband would still be likely to cast their votes for Mrs. Clinton.

“I really don’t care,” said Ms. Dorman, 31, a graphic designer. “Is she in people’s pockets? Sure, why not.”

T.J. Blazer, 44, who said he had voted for Mr. Trump in St. Petersburg, Fla., said he was taken aback by what he viewed as an admission by the F.B.I. that it had mishandled Mrs. Clinton’s case.

At least as disorienting, he said, was the return of Anthony D. Weiner to his television — a turn that seemed to confirm everything that was already so odd about this election.

“Next thing I know, his picture popped up,” he said. “Where did he come from?”


Yamiche Alcindor and Jack Healy contributed reporting.

NYT

America, Your Election Is Not Rigged By Garry Kasparov

For the last few weeks, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has been talking a lot about how the Nov. 8 election is rigged against him. In fact, he sounds convinced that the entire campaign season is rigged in favor of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. These are serious charges, or they would be if Mr. Trump had any idea what he was talking about.

Nobody in the American political establishment is happy about Mr. Trump’s wild-eyed accusations of voter fraud and media conspiracies because they understand that it undermines their own credibility as leaders in a democracy. This is exactly why my country’s leader, Vladimir V. Putin, is so delighted by Mr. Trump’s charges.

In power for 16 years now, Mr. Putin and his global propaganda machine aggressively promote the idea that democracy is a chaotic mess that only the hero Putin can save Russia from falling into. Social media is flooded by Kremlin-funded trolls ranting about the illegitimacy of the American election process and warning of the potential for violence. To have a major party nominee in America repeating this propaganda is beyond Mr. Putin’s wildest dreams. Mr. Trump even echoes Mr. Putin’s authoritarian rationales, presenting himself as the only one who can rescue America.

I know a few things about rigged elections. I know what it’s like to have the overwhelming power of the state used against me to make a mockery of the democratic process. I know what it means to have my opinion censored while every major media outlet is dedicated to vilifying me and my colleagues. I know what happens when a conspiracy of public and private interests forms to intimidate, harass, prosecute and even kill in order to preserve a monopoly on power.

I know these things well because I learned them the hard way during my years as a political opposition leader in Mr. Putin’s Russia. None of these things are happening to Donald Trump.

After I retired from professional chess in 2005, I helped form an opposition coalition, known as Other Russia, to protest Mr. Putin’s increasingly dictatorial regime. According to the Russian Constitution, Mr. Putin was unable to stand for a second re-election as president in 2008, and it wasn’t clear what would happen to a power structure that had become completely centered on one man. If Mr. Putin ignored the Constitution completely and simply stayed on openly as a dictator, he risked alienating the Group of 8 world leaders who had agreed to pretend he was a fellow democrat.

The Other Russia opposition coalition had live debates, policy papers, platforms — all the things that were absent from the official elections, where the only thing that mattered was who had the Kremlin’s blessing. Rather to my surprise, in 2007 I was the winner of the national primary to choose the coalition’s presidential candidate.

Once I had been selected in a real election that wasn’t official, it was time for me to participate in an official election that was completely fake.

In order to do this, I had to jump through the official and unofficial hoops that had been put in place to prevent unapproved candidates from making it onto a ballot. Two million signatures were needed from all over the country in just one month, a task made even more herculean by the sheer size of Russia. A nominating congress had to be held, an apparently simple chore that became impossible when no hotel would rent a suitable space to us. Even American-owned hotel chains mysteriously canceled our reservations.

While I traveled across the country to campaign, we would find venues suddenly closed for repairs, our flights canceled, our meetings shut down by the police. Nor did I quite manage to stay out of jail, spending five days in a Moscow cell for participating in an “unauthorized rally.”

Rigging an election isn’t only a matter of stuffing ballot boxes. It is not even that “the people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do,” as the apocryphal quote attributed to Joseph Stalin has it. By the time the voting begins, the game is already over. Anyone who opposes the regime — from peaceful street protesters to the wealthiest man in the country — is targeted. The Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky spent a decade in prison for daring to support political groups outside of Mr. Putin’s control.

The fraud that does occur on Election Day is more about showing loyalty and getting the numbers just right to keep up appearances. Busloads of official voters go from polling station to polling station in a tradition we even have a name for: a “carousel.” Sheaves of ballots are dumped into urns while polling officials stand in the way to block the view. Sometimes, the excessive zeal of apparatchiks produces returns of more than 100 percent, as happens regularly in Russian regions like Chechnya.

To this day, I do not like the title “former Russian presidential candidate” because I knew at the start that my name would never appear on a ballot. The former prime minister Mikhail M. Kasyanov was allowed to progress one step further in his own independent run in 2008 — before being disqualified two months later.

The only candidates allowed to run in the presidential election against Mr. Putin’s handpicked successor, the former prime minister Dmitri A. Medvedev, were the same token Communist and the same token nationalist who had been running in every election since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Medvedev got 71.2 percent, a tactful few tenths of a percentage point less than Mr. Putin received in 2004. Four years later, Mr. Medvedev again switched desks with Mr. Putin, who hadn’t left power for a second regardless of his official title of prime minister. President Obama called Mr. Putin to congratulate him on his election victory, once again, as president.

This is the modern dictatorship, savvy at using the free world’s terms and technology for its own ends. And when fake elections at home aren’t enough, an aggressive campaign of intimidation and disinformation abroad can be very useful. The Russian news leads every day with Mr. Trump and WikiLeaks and how they are supposedly exposing the corrupt reality of American democracy. Mr. Putin can no longer pretend to be a democratic leader, so his goal is to drag everyone else down to his level — and he is doing it with Mr. Trump’s help.

A democracy is as strong as its people believe it to be. It cannot be destroyed from the outside, only from within.

Garry Kasparov is the chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and the author, most recently, of “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.”

A version of this op-ed appears in print on October 30, 2016, on page SR1 of the New York edition with the headline: I Know a Rigged Election. This Isn’t One.

America, Your Election Is Not Rigged By Garry Kasparov

For the last few weeks, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has been talking a lot about how the Nov. 8 election is rigged against him. In fact, he sounds convinced that the entire campaign season is rigged in favor of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. These are serious charges, or they would be if Mr. Trump had any idea what he was talking about.

Nobody in the American political establishment is happy about Mr. Trump’s wild-eyed accusations of voter fraud and media conspiracies because they understand that it undermines their own credibility as leaders in a democracy. This is exactly why my country’s leader, Vladimir V. Putin, is so delighted by Mr. Trump’s charges.

In power for 16 years now, Mr. Putin and his global propaganda machine aggressively promote the idea that democracy is a chaotic mess that only the hero Putin can save Russia from falling into. Social media is flooded by Kremlin-funded trolls ranting about the illegitimacy of the American election process and warning of the potential for violence. To have a major party nominee in America repeating this propaganda is beyond Mr. Putin’s wildest dreams. Mr. Trump even echoes Mr. Putin’s authoritarian rationales, presenting himself as the only one who can rescue America.

I know a few things about rigged elections. I know what it’s like to have the overwhelming power of the state used against me to make a mockery of the democratic process. I know what it means to have my opinion censored while every major media outlet is dedicated to vilifying me and my colleagues. I know what happens when a conspiracy of public and private interests forms to intimidate, harass, prosecute and even kill in order to preserve a monopoly on power.

I know these things well because I learned them the hard way during my years as a political opposition leader in Mr. Putin’s Russia. None of these things are happening to Donald Trump.

After I retired from professional chess in 2005, I helped form an opposition coalition, known as Other Russia, to protest Mr. Putin’s increasingly dictatorial regime. According to the Russian Constitution, Mr. Putin was unable to stand for a second re-election as president in 2008, and it wasn’t clear what would happen to a power structure that had become completely centered on one man. If Mr. Putin ignored the Constitution completely and simply stayed on openly as a dictator, he risked alienating the Group of 8 world leaders who had agreed to pretend he was a fellow democrat.

The Other Russia opposition coalition had live debates, policy papers, platforms — all the things that were absent from the official elections, where the only thing that mattered was who had the Kremlin’s blessing. Rather to my surprise, in 2007 I was the winner of the national primary to choose the coalition’s presidential candidate.

Once I had been selected in a real election that wasn’t official, it was time for me to participate in an official election that was completely fake.

In order to do this, I had to jump through the official and unofficial hoops that had been put in place to prevent unapproved candidates from making it onto a ballot. Two million signatures were needed from all over the country in just one month, a task made even more herculean by the sheer size of Russia. A nominating congress had to be held, an apparently simple chore that became impossible when no hotel would rent a suitable space to us. Even American-owned hotel chains mysteriously canceled our reservations.

While I traveled across the country to campaign, we would find venues suddenly closed for repairs, our flights canceled, our meetings shut down by the police. Nor did I quite manage to stay out of jail, spending five days in a Moscow cell for participating in an “unauthorized rally.”

Rigging an election isn’t only a matter of stuffing ballot boxes. It is not even that “the people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do,” as the apocryphal quote attributed to Joseph Stalin has it. By the time the voting begins, the game is already over. Anyone who opposes the regime — from peaceful street protesters to the wealthiest man in the country — is targeted. The Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky spent a decade in prison for daring to support political groups outside of Mr. Putin’s control.

The fraud that does occur on Election Day is more about showing loyalty and getting the numbers just right to keep up appearances. Busloads of official voters go from polling station to polling station in a tradition we even have a name for: a “carousel.” Sheaves of ballots are dumped into urns while polling officials stand in the way to block the view. Sometimes, the excessive zeal of apparatchiks produces returns of more than 100 percent, as happens regularly in Russian regions like Chechnya.

To this day, I do not like the title “former Russian presidential candidate” because I knew at the start that my name would never appear on a ballot. The former prime minister Mikhail M. Kasyanov was allowed to progress one step further in his own independent run in 2008 — before being disqualified two months later.

The only candidates allowed to run in the presidential election against Mr. Putin’s handpicked successor, the former prime minister Dmitri A. Medvedev, were the same token Communist and the same token nationalist who had been running in every election since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Medvedev got 71.2 percent, a tactful few tenths of a percentage point less than Mr. Putin received in 2004. Four years later, Mr. Medvedev again switched desks with Mr. Putin, who hadn’t left power for a second regardless of his official title of prime minister. President Obama called Mr. Putin to congratulate him on his election victory, once again, as president.

This is the modern dictatorship, savvy at using the free world’s terms and technology for its own ends. And when fake elections at home aren’t enough, an aggressive campaign of intimidation and disinformation abroad can be very useful. The Russian news leads every day with Mr. Trump and WikiLeaks and how they are supposedly exposing the corrupt reality of American democracy. Mr. Putin can no longer pretend to be a democratic leader, so his goal is to drag everyone else down to his level — and he is doing it with Mr. Trump’s help.

A democracy is as strong as its people believe it to be. It cannot be destroyed from the outside, only from within.

Garry Kasparov is the chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and the author, most recently, of “Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.”

A version of this op-ed appears in print on October 30, 2016, on page SR1 of the New York edition with the headline: I Know a Rigged Election. This Isn’t One.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Emails in Anthony Weiner Inquiry Jolt Hillary Clinton’s Campaign By ADAM GOLDMAN and ALAN RAPPEPORT OCT. 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — The presidential campaign was rocked on Friday after federal law enforcement officials said that emails pertinent to the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server were discovered on a computer belonging to Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide.
In a letter to Congress, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said the emails had surfaced in an unrelated case, which law enforcement officials said was an F.B.I. investigation into illicit text messages from Mr. Weiner to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. Mr. Weiner, a former Democratic congressman from New York, is married to Huma Abedin, the top aide.
Mr. Comey's letter said that the F.B.I. would review the emails to determine if they improperly contained classified information, which is tightly controlled by the government. Senior law enforcement officials said that it was unclear if any of the emails were from Mrs. Clinton’s private server. And while Mr. Comey said in his letter that the emails “appear to be pertinent,” the F.B.I. had not yet examined them.
By the end of a day that brought stinging criticism of Mr. Comey from both Democrats and Republicans, he appeared on the defensive, saying in an internal email to bureau employees that he had felt obligated to inform Congress, and “we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails.’’
The new development in the saga over Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified information came months after the F.B.I. closed the investigation without charging Mrs. Clinton. The announcement, less than two weeks before the election, left Mrs. Clinton’s team furious and scrambling for explanations while bolstering the spirits of Donald J. Trump after a wave of controversies and Republican defections had led many to write him off.
“We are calling on the F.B.I. to release all the information that it has,” Mrs. Clinton said adamantly in an evening news conference that took issue with Mr. Comey for making the disclosure so close to the election. “Let’s get it out.”
Mr. Trump was ebullient. “Perhaps, finally, justice will be done,” he declared at a campaign rally in New Hampshire.
A senior law enforcement official said that tens of thousands of emails belonging to Ms. Abedin were on Mr. Weiner’s laptop, which the F.B.I. had obtained as part of its investigation into Mr. Weiner. About a month ago, a person familiar with the investigation said, F.B.I. agents seized the laptop as well as Mr. Weiner’s iPad and cellphone.
Mr. Comey said in his letter to Congress that he did not know how long it would take to review the emails. Law enforcement officials said they did not know whether any were duplicates of emails discovered in the earlier investigation.
Mr. Trump has fallen behind Mrs. Clinton in most national polls and in many key states. Polls have been tightening in recent days, however, as Republicans have started returning to their party roots during the final stretch of the race.
An emboldened Mr. Trump seized on the F.B.I. action on Friday at his rally in New Hampshire. To cheers of “lock her up” from his supporters, Mr. Trump said: “Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.”
After deriding the F.B.I. for weeks as inept and corrupt, Mr. Trump went on to praise the law enforcement agency.
“I have great respect for the fact that the F.B.I. and the D.O.J. are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made,” Mr. Trump said, referring also to the Department of Justice. “This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understand. It is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected.”
The Clinton campaign called on Mr. Comey to provide information beyond what was put forth in the letter.
“Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the director himself notes they may not even be significant,” said John D. Podesta, the chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
He added: “It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election.”
Asked in an interview on CNN about Ms. Abedin’s involvement, Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, demurred.
“The facts of the matter is stuff that is unknown to us,” Mr. Fallon said.
The “October surprise” confounded leading Democrats who suddenly found themselves on the defensive.
“This is particularly troubling since so many questions are unanswered,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. “It’s unclear whether these emails have already been reviewed or if Secretary Clinton sent or received them. In fact, we don’t even know if the F.B.I. has these emails in its possession.”
Donna Brazile, the interim chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, demanded more information from Mr. Comey about his next steps and expressed concern about the agency interfering with the election.
“The F.B.I. has a solemn obligation to remain neutral in political matters — even the faintest appearance of using the agency’s power to influence our election is deeply troubling,” Ms. Brazile said.
For Republicans who have struggled to defend Mr. Trump amid his comments about women and conspiracy theories about a rigged election, the opportunity to revisit a controversy that has dogged Mrs. Clinton was a welcome gift.
The Republican National Committee cheered the new attention on Mrs. Clinton’s emails as a potential turning point in the race.
“The F.B.I.’s decision to reopen their criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s secret email server just 11 days before the election shows how serious this discovery must be,” said Reince Priebus, the Republican committee chairman, arguing that the Democratic nominee should be disqualified from seeking the presidency. “This stunning development raises serious questions about what records may not have been turned over and why, and whether they show intent to violate the law.”
Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who has been critical of Mr. Trump, assailed Mrs. Clinton and said that she should no longer be allowed to receive classified briefings.
“Hillary Clinton has nobody but herself to blame,” Mr. Ryan said in an emailed statement. “She was entrusted with some of our nation’s most important secrets, and she betrayed that trust by carelessly mishandling highly classified information.”
After defending her email practices for months, Mrs. Clinton sought to put the issue behind her this year, eventually apologizing and acknowledging that using a private server was a mistake. During the presidential debates with Mr. Trump, she tried to avoid the subject and accused Mr. Trump of putting national security at risk by inviting Russian hackers to meddle in the election.
Mrs. Clinton and her staff expressed relief in July when Mr. Comey announced that the F.B.I. had closed the investigation after determining that no one should face criminal charges. But he did criticize Mrs. Clinton and her aides for what he termed the “extremely careless” handling of sensitive information, leaving an opportunity for Republicans to continue hammering her for bad judgment.
The involvement of Ms. Abedin and Mr. Weiner in Mrs. Clinton’s case was an unforeseen twist. Several weeks ago, top Justice Department officials decided that prosecutors in Manhattan would handle Mr. Weiner’s case. After seizing the devices, investigators have been combing them for information.
It remained unclear whether Mr. Comey would reveal more about the contents of the newly discovered emails. In his memo to the F.B.I. staff, it was evident that he is keenly aware of the fraught political backdrop that he faces.
“We don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed,” Mr. Comey wrote. “I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.”
Ms. Abedin separated from Mr. Weiner in August after it emerged that he was exchanging lewd messages with a woman on social media. Such behavior had destroyed his congressional career and his 2013 mayoral campaign.
Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s association with the couple as an example of her bad judgment.
“I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” Mr. Trump said in August. “Who knows what he learned and who he told?”
Correction: October 28, 2016 
An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported when the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, announced that the bureau had closed its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use. It was in July, not September.
Michael S. Schmidt, Matt Apuzzo and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York.
A version of this article appears in print on October 29, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: New Emails Jolt Clinton Campaign in Races’s Last Days. 
NYT

Unhittable? Aroldis Chapman and His 105 M.P.H. Fastball By Tyler Kepner

CHICAGO — Aroldis Chapman threw 13 pitches in his World Series debut on Wednesday in Cleveland. The fastest was clocked at 102.5 miles per hour by Major League Baseball’s Statcast radar gun. The batter, Coco Crisp of the Indians, put it in play.

Nothing much came of it, just a routine groundout to second base. But it underscored the fact that even Chapman, the closer for the Chicago Cubs and the hardest-throwing pitcher in the majors, cannot get hitters to swing and miss on command.

“This is the big leagues,” Chapman said in Spanish. “These are the best in the world. Everyone is prepared, and everyone can hit.”

The Cubs have gone 108 years since winning the World Series, and the Indians have gone 68. One team will soon break a so-called curse, but no player has yet broken the game. Some nearly did before steroid testing, when home run records fell, but no batter has come close to hitting .500 in a full season. And no pitcher has thrown hard enough to be purely unhittable.

Chapman came to the majors from Cuba in 2010 and was an All-Star four times for Cincinnati. He started this season serving a 30-game suspension as the first player disciplined under baseball’s domestic violence policy. The penalty stemmed from an episode in which he fired gunshots into his garage wall after a dispute with his girlfriend.

When he returned to the mound, Chapman resumed his usual dominance, with a 1.55 E.R.A. for the Yankees and the Cubs, and 14 strikeouts per nine innings.

Of his 26 pitches in the regular season that reached at least 104 m.p.h., just one was a swinging strike. Eleven were balls, 10 were fouls, two were called strikes and two were put in play — one for a single by Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli, and the other for a groundout by Baltimore’s Ryan Flaherty, who said there was no way to prepare for a pitch that fast.

“You can’t even find a pitching machine that goes up that high,” Flaherty said. “There’s not much processing that speed. You find yourself swinging way before you normally do. You just start early, get going, try to pick up the ball. It’s milliseconds.”

Yet Flaherty, a .216 hitter in five major league seasons, was able to turn on a 104.9 m.p.h. fastball and make contact. Weak contact, yes, but contact just the same.

The Hall of Famer Ted Williams — the last player to hit .400, in 1941 — believed that hitting a baseball was the hardest thing to do in sports. Hitting a pitch moving at 104 m.p.h. would seem to add another degree of difficulty. But for professional hitters, it is essentially a job requirement.

“I played in the minor leagues; I hit .220-something and now I’m a coach,” said John Mallee, the Cubs’ hitting instructor. “I never had trouble hitting the fastball.”

For most hitters who fail, the reason is something else: poor strike-zone judgment, susceptibility to breaking balls, inability to handle the mental rigors of a game that usually favors the pitcher. But simply being unable to catch up to the fastball? That weeds out amateur players, generally not the pros.

A well-located fastball remains the best pitch in the majors — but the adjective is important. A pitcher who can spot his fastball can get ahead in the count and bait hitters with pitches off the plate, where it is much harder to do damage. No pitcher can rely on velocity alone, a statement widely accepted as fact but still rather astounding.

“The difference between a 102-mile-an-hour fastball and a 92-mile-an-hour fastball, in reaction time, is four and a half feet,” said Ty Van Burkleo, the Indians’ hitting coach. “That’s a lot. It’s unbelievable, because physiologically, the eyes can’t physically track the ball. You get an image in your mind that you think you see it the whole way, but the brain maps it for you.”

Van Burkleo, who had five major league hits in 15 professional seasons, smiled.

“Hitting a baseball’s incredible,” he said.

So it is, and it is worth emphasizing that many fastballs simply overpower hitters, even without excessive movement or a deceptive delivery. But hitters have a way of adapting.

Chase Headley, the Yankees’ third baseman, struck out four times in his first six career plate appearances against Chapman. But in their seventh encounter, in 2014, Headley guessed that Chapman would come up and in with a fastball. He did, and Headley hit a game-winning home run.

A well-located fastball remains the best pitch in the majors — but the adjective is important. A pitcher who can spot his fastball can get ahead in the count and bait hitters with pitches off the plate, where it is much harder to do damage. No pitcher can rely on velocity alone, a statement widely accepted as fact but still rather astounding.

Chapman strides so far that he releases the ball nearly a foot closer to the plate than the average pitcher, adding perhaps another mile an hour of perceived velocity to his pitches. In his brief minor league career, groundskeepers would sometimes complain; Chapman stretched his front leg so far that when his back foot swung around, it would chop up the grass in front of the mound.

Bryan Price, Chapman’s former pitching coach and manager with the Reds, would marvel at the way Chapman bunched his 6-foot 4-inch, 215-pound frame, gathering his weight on his back leg, then uncoiling and launching at the hitter.

“You’re really seeing the transition of energy and power from the inside of his left foot running right up his body, all the way through to his hand — and then it’s just a lightning bolt into the catcher’s glove,” Price said.

“It’s a phenomenal thing to watch. To see a guy that’s bumping 102, 103, 105 — there is a different look to it. There’s a different hand speed, a quickness to the hand and the arm. Every bit of his energy is behind every one of those 100-plus fastballs.”

One thing that helps the hitter, said the Mets’ Neil Walker, is that Chapman has a long arm swing. A hitter can see the ball, at least at the start, and then commit to a certain location. If Chapman throws it there, the hitter has a chance.

Walker is 4 for 10 in his career off Chapman by taking that approach, but the hits are hard-earned. If the human arm has another gear beyond Chapman’s, Walker said, he will leave it to the next generation to handle.

“At what point is it just not possible?” Walker said. “I have no idea. It can’t go up too much more. I feel like we’re getting pretty close to the physical limits, but maybe not. I’m glad I’m 10 years into my career now and I’m not gonna see what comes next, because it’s no fun.”

NYT

Unhittable? Aroldis Chapman and His 105 M.P.H. Fastball By Tyler Kepner

CHICAGO — Aroldis Chapman threw 13 pitches in his World Series debut on Wednesday in Cleveland. The fastest was clocked at 102.5 miles per hour by Major League Baseball’s Statcast radar gun. The batter, Coco Crisp of the Indians, put it in play.

Nothing much came of it, just a routine groundout to second base. But it underscored the fact that even Chapman, the closer for the Chicago Cubs and the hardest-throwing pitcher in the majors, cannot get hitters to swing and miss on command.

“This is the big leagues,” Chapman said in Spanish. “These are the best in the world. Everyone is prepared, and everyone can hit.”

The Cubs have gone 108 years since winning the World Series, and the Indians have gone 68. One team will soon break a so-called curse, but no player has yet broken the game. Some nearly did before steroid testing, when home run records fell, but no batter has come close to hitting .500 in a full season. And no pitcher has thrown hard enough to be purely unhittable.

Chapman came to the majors from Cuba in 2010 and was an All-Star four times for Cincinnati. He started this season serving a 30-game suspension as the first player disciplined under baseball’s domestic violence policy. The penalty stemmed from an episode in which he fired gunshots into his garage wall after a dispute with his girlfriend.

When he returned to the mound, Chapman resumed his usual dominance, with a 1.55 E.R.A. for the Yankees and the Cubs, and 14 strikeouts per nine innings.

Of his 26 pitches in the regular season that reached at least 104 m.p.h., just one was a swinging strike. Eleven were balls, 10 were fouls, two were called strikes and two were put in play — one for a single by Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli, and the other for a groundout by Baltimore’s Ryan Flaherty, who said there was no way to prepare for a pitch that fast.

“You can’t even find a pitching machine that goes up that high,” Flaherty said. “There’s not much processing that speed. You find yourself swinging way before you normally do. You just start early, get going, try to pick up the ball. It’s milliseconds.”

Yet Flaherty, a .216 hitter in five major league seasons, was able to turn on a 104.9 m.p.h. fastball and make contact. Weak contact, yes, but contact just the same.

The Hall of Famer Ted Williams — the last player to hit .400, in 1941 — believed that hitting a baseball was the hardest thing to do in sports. Hitting a pitch moving at 104 m.p.h. would seem to add another degree of difficulty. But for professional hitters, it is essentially a job requirement.

“I played in the minor leagues; I hit .220-something and now I’m a coach,” said John Mallee, the Cubs’ hitting instructor. “I never had trouble hitting the fastball.”

For most hitters who fail, the reason is something else: poor strike-zone judgment, susceptibility to breaking balls, inability to handle the mental rigors of a game that usually favors the pitcher. But simply being unable to catch up to the fastball? That weeds out amateur players, generally not the pros.

A well-located fastball remains the best pitch in the majors — but the adjective is important. A pitcher who can spot his fastball can get ahead in the count and bait hitters with pitches off the plate, where it is much harder to do damage. No pitcher can rely on velocity alone, a statement widely accepted as fact but still rather astounding.

“The difference between a 102-mile-an-hour fastball and a 92-mile-an-hour fastball, in reaction time, is four and a half feet,” said Ty Van Burkleo, the Indians’ hitting coach. “That’s a lot. It’s unbelievable, because physiologically, the eyes can’t physically track the ball. You get an image in your mind that you think you see it the whole way, but the brain maps it for you.”

Van Burkleo, who had five major league hits in 15 professional seasons, smiled.

“Hitting a baseball’s incredible,” he said.

So it is, and it is worth emphasizing that many fastballs simply overpower hitters, even without excessive movement or a deceptive delivery. But hitters have a way of adapting.

Chase Headley, the Yankees’ third baseman, struck out four times in his first six career plate appearances against Chapman. But in their seventh encounter, in 2014, Headley guessed that Chapman would come up and in with a fastball. He did, and Headley hit a game-winning home run.

A well-located fastball remains the best pitch in the majors — but the adjective is important. A pitcher who can spot his fastball can get ahead in the count and bait hitters with pitches off the plate, where it is much harder to do damage. No pitcher can rely on velocity alone, a statement widely accepted as fact but still rather astounding.

Chapman strides so far that he releases the ball nearly a foot closer to the plate than the average pitcher, adding perhaps another mile an hour of perceived velocity to his pitches. In his brief minor league career, groundskeepers would sometimes complain; Chapman stretched his front leg so far that when his back foot swung around, it would chop up the grass in front of the mound.

Bryan Price, Chapman’s former pitching coach and manager with the Reds, would marvel at the way Chapman bunched his 6-foot 4-inch, 215-pound frame, gathering his weight on his back leg, then uncoiling and launching at the hitter.

“You’re really seeing the transition of energy and power from the inside of his left foot running right up his body, all the way through to his hand — and then it’s just a lightning bolt into the catcher’s glove,” Price said.

“It’s a phenomenal thing to watch. To see a guy that’s bumping 102, 103, 105 — there is a different look to it. There’s a different hand speed, a quickness to the hand and the arm. Every bit of his energy is behind every one of those 100-plus fastballs.”

One thing that helps the hitter, said the Mets’ Neil Walker, is that Chapman has a long arm swing. A hitter can see the ball, at least at the start, and then commit to a certain location. If Chapman throws it there, the hitter has a chance.

Walker is 4 for 10 in his career off Chapman by taking that approach, but the hits are hard-earned. If the human arm has another gear beyond Chapman’s, Walker said, he will leave it to the next generation to handle.

“At what point is it just not possible?” Walker said. “I have no idea. It can’t go up too much more. I feel like we’re getting pretty close to the physical limits, but maybe not. I’m glad I’m 10 years into my career now and I’m not gonna see what comes next, because it’s no fun.”

NYT

Unhittable? Aroldis Chapman and His 105 M.P.H. Fastball By Tyler Kepner

CHICAGO — Aroldis Chapman threw 13 pitches in his World Series debut on Wednesday in Cleveland. The fastest was clocked at 102.5 miles per hour by Major League Baseball’s Statcast radar gun. The batter, Coco Crisp of the Indians, put it in play.

Nothing much came of it, just a routine groundout to second base. But it underscored the fact that even Chapman, the closer for the Chicago Cubs and the hardest-throwing pitcher in the majors, cannot get hitters to swing and miss on command.

“This is the big leagues,” Chapman said in Spanish. “These are the best in the world. Everyone is prepared, and everyone can hit.”

The Cubs have gone 108 years since winning the World Series, and the Indians have gone 68. One team will soon break a so-called curse, but no player has yet broken the game. Some nearly did before steroid testing, when home run records fell, but no batter has come close to hitting .500 in a full season. And no pitcher has thrown hard enough to be purely unhittable.

Chapman came to the majors from Cuba in 2010 and was an All-Star four times for Cincinnati. He started this season serving a 30-game suspension as the first player disciplined under baseball’s domestic violence policy. The penalty stemmed from an episode in which he fired gunshots into his garage wall after a dispute with his girlfriend.

When he returned to the mound, Chapman resumed his usual dominance, with a 1.55 E.R.A. for the Yankees and the Cubs, and 14 strikeouts per nine innings.

Of his 26 pitches in the regular season that reached at least 104 m.p.h., just one was a swinging strike. Eleven were balls, 10 were fouls, two were called strikes and two were put in play — one for a single by Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cervelli, and the other for a groundout by Baltimore’s Ryan Flaherty, who said there was no way to prepare for a pitch that fast.

“You can’t even find a pitching machine that goes up that high,” Flaherty said. “There’s not much processing that speed. You find yourself swinging way before you normally do. You just start early, get going, try to pick up the ball. It’s milliseconds.”

Yet Flaherty, a .216 hitter in five major league seasons, was able to turn on a 104.9 m.p.h. fastball and make contact. Weak contact, yes, but contact just the same.

The Hall of Famer Ted Williams — the last player to hit .400, in 1941 — believed that hitting a baseball was the hardest thing to do in sports. Hitting a pitch moving at 104 m.p.h. would seem to add another degree of difficulty. But for professional hitters, it is essentially a job requirement.

“I played in the minor leagues; I hit .220-something and now I’m a coach,” said John Mallee, the Cubs’ hitting instructor. “I never had trouble hitting the fastball.”

For most hitters who fail, the reason is something else: poor strike-zone judgment, susceptibility to breaking balls, inability to handle the mental rigors of a game that usually favors the pitcher. But simply being unable to catch up to the fastball? That weeds out amateur players, generally not the pros.

A well-located fastball remains the best pitch in the majors — but the adjective is important. A pitcher who can spot his fastball can get ahead in the count and bait hitters with pitches off the plate, where it is much harder to do damage. No pitcher can rely on velocity alone, a statement widely accepted as fact but still rather astounding.

“The difference between a 102-mile-an-hour fastball and a 92-mile-an-hour fastball, in reaction time, is four and a half feet,” said Ty Van Burkleo, the Indians’ hitting coach. “That’s a lot. It’s unbelievable, because physiologically, the eyes can’t physically track the ball. You get an image in your mind that you think you see it the whole way, but the brain maps it for you.”

Van Burkleo, who had five major league hits in 15 professional seasons, smiled.

“Hitting a baseball’s incredible,” he said.

So it is, and it is worth emphasizing that many fastballs simply overpower hitters, even without excessive movement or a deceptive delivery. But hitters have a way of adapting.

Chase Headley, the Yankees’ third baseman, struck out four times in his first six career plate appearances against Chapman. But in their seventh encounter, in 2014, Headley guessed that Chapman would come up and in with a fastball. He did, and Headley hit a game-winning home run.

A well-located fastball remains the best pitch in the majors — but the adjective is important. A pitcher who can spot his fastball can get ahead in the count and bait hitters with pitches off the plate, where it is much harder to do damage. No pitcher can rely on velocity alone, a statement widely accepted as fact but still rather astounding.


Chase Headley, the Yankees’ third baseman, struck out four times in his first six career plate appearances against Chapman. But in their seventh encounter, in 2014, Headley guessed that Chapman would come up and in with a fastball. He did, and Headley hit a game-winning home run.
Chapman strides so far that he releases the ball nearly a foot closer to the plate than the average pitcher, adding perhaps another mile an hour of perceived velocity to his pitches. In his brief minor league career, groundskeepers would sometimes complain; Chapman stretched his front leg so far that when his back foot swung around, it would chop up the grass in front of the mound.

Bryan Price, Chapman’s former pitching coach and manager with the Reds, would marvel at the way Chapman bunched his 6-foot 4-inch, 215-pound frame, gathering his weight on his back leg, then uncoiling and launching at the hitter.

“You’re really seeing the transition of energy and power from the inside of his left foot running right up his body, all the way through to his hand — and then it’s just a lightning bolt into the catcher’s glove,” Price said.

“It’s a phenomenal thing to watch. To see a guy that’s bumping 102, 103, 105 — there is a different look to it. There’s a different hand speed, a quickness to the hand and the arm. Every bit of his energy is behind every one of those 100-plus fastballs.”

One thing that helps the hitter, said the Mets’ Neil Walker, is that Chapman has a long arm swing. A hitter can see the ball, at least at the start, and then commit to a certain location. If Chapman throws it there, the hitter has a chance.

Walker is 4 for 10 in his career off Chapman by taking that approach, but the hits are hard-earned. If the human arm has another gear beyond Chapman’s, Walker said, he will leave it to the next generation to handle.

“At what point is it just not possible?” Walker said. “I have no idea. It can’t go up too much more. I feel like we’re getting pretty close to the physical limits, but maybe not. I’m glad I’m 10 years into my career now and I’m not gonna see what comes next, because it’s no fun.”

NYT

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