The arrest of a high-level FBI agent on Russia-tied corruption charges raises stunning new questions about how Trump really won in 2016.
by Will Bunch, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer
Published Jan 29, 2023
It was arguably the most consequential “October Surprise” in the history of American presidential elections. In the waning days of the 2016 race, with polls showing Hillary Clinton clinging to a lead over Donald Trump, two last-minute stories broke that rekindled on-the-fence voters’ ethical doubts about Democrat Clinton and quashed a budding scandal around her GOP rival.
Except the “October Surprise” was no surprise to one key player: Rudolph Giuliani, the ex-New York mayor and Trump insider who later became the 45th president’s attorney. Late that month, Giuliani told Fox News that the trailing Republican nominee had “a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises.”
Just two days later, then-FBI director James Comey revealed the bureau had reopened its probe into Clinton’s emails, based on the possible discovery of new communications on a laptop belonging to disgraced New York politico Anthony Weiner. The news jolted the campaign with a particularly strong boost from the New York Times, which devoted two-thirds of its front page to the story — and the notion it was a major blow to Clinton’s prospects.
It was later reported that Comey was motivated to make the unusual announcement about the laptop because he feared leaks from the FBI’s New York field office, which, according to Reuters, had “a faction of investigators based in the office known to be hostile to Hillary Clinton.” Indeed, Giuliani bragged immediately after that he had sources in the FBI, including current agents.
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