Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump Thursday blasted FBI Director James Comey’s testimony this week before a congressional panel.
Comey on Wednesday rejected calls to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified material during her tenure as secretary of state — an investigation that ended with the director’s recommendation that Clinton face no criminal charges.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thing like that. It’s an embarrassment … Honestly, it’s a sad time for the United States.”
Comey defended the way his agency conducted the probe and told the House Judiciary Committee that the decision was “not a close call.”
Speaking at a rally in Bedford, New Hampshire, on Thursday, Trump pronounced himself disgusted with Comey’s explanation.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thing like that. It’s an embarrassment,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thing like that in my life … Honestly, it’s a sad time for the United States.”
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Trump seemed to hold out hope that there might be some further development.
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“I think that whole thing has a long way to go,” he said.
Trump then blasted the decision of law enforcement officials to grant immunity to five Clinton aides.
“We’ll call them, really, the FBI Immunity Five,” he said. “Nobody ever saw them. They gave so much immunity, there was nobody left to talk to. There was nobody left. Except Hillary. They probably gave her immunity, too.”
Trump pointed to the eye-popping speaking fees Clinton earned from top Wall Street firms and poked fun at the size of her crowd — about 1,200 — during an appearance the day before in the same state.
“And she doesn’t speak well. Figure that one,” he said. “In fact, they had a very small group of people. Was she here yesterday? Very small crowd. Very, very sad.”
Trump made another play for disgruntled supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who challenged Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Trump’s success at luring some of those voters could make the difference in a close election.
“We’re going to have a lot of Bernie people supporting us, especially because of my views on trade,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot of Bernie people. But he should have never made that deal [to endorse Clinton]. And I bet he wishes he didn’t make that deal.”
Beyond that, Trump settled into his standard stump speech, with a few New Hampshire-specific references sprinkled in. He trails Clinton in New Hampshire by 5 points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.
Trump discussed the heroin epidemic that has grown so pervasive that it became an unexpected issue in the primary campaign in both parties earlier this year.
“New Hampshire has suffered so greatly from the heroin crisis and the drugs pouring across the border,” he said, vowing to stop the flow of narcotics across the southern border. “The rate of heroin has nearly quadrupled in this state. Once again, our politicians have tragically failed this country.”
It is not just drugs — economic malaise also is crippling the Granite State, Trump said. He said one in three manufacturing jobs had vanished from New Hampshire since Bill Clinton signed the North America Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization a few years later triggered another 25-percent job loss, he said.
And Trump gave no credence to Clinton’s stated opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed 12-nation trade pact that she called the “gold standard” when she was secretary of state.
“If she gets the chance, and this 100 percent, she would approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would destroy so much more of your manufacturing in this state,” he said.
Trump reiterated his vow to repeal the Affordable Care Act, fight the Common Core education program, promote school choice, and restore safety to America’s most dangerous neighborhoods. He cited this week’s FBI crime report pointing to a 15-percent increase in homicides from 2014 to 2015 in the country’s large cities — the steepest one-year spike in 45 years.
Trump also repeated his oft-stated promise to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges, and tunnels. Unleashing $50 trillion in untapped energy reserves would create an economic boom that would put people back to work, he said.
“People have given up looking for jobs,” he said. “We’re going to create trillions of dollars in new wealth for our communities and rising wages for every worker in America.”