Newly emboldened, Donald Trump is campaigning in traditionally Democratic states after the recent discovery of more emails that may be relevant to the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's private system.
Clinton enters the final full week of the presidential race on defense once again, but Trump's campaign manager said Monday the Republican presidential candidate won't make Clinton's emails the "centerpiece" of his campaign against Clinton.
Trump, who had been trailing Clinton nationally and across key battleground states, campaigned with new vigor over the weekend as he seized on the news in an effort to boost his struggling candidacy. Trump headed to Michigan for a pair of rallies Monday — a state that last voted for the Republican nominee for president in 1988.
"Hillary wants to blame everyone else for her mounting legal troubles, but she brought all of this on herself," he said in Warren, urging his followers to "get out and vote by the millions, and we won't have to worry about what's taking place behind the scenes."
Trump spent a significant portion of his rally talking about Clinton's legal issues, though his campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said earlier on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Trump plans to focus on health care, the fight against the Islamic State group, job creation and "certainly ethics."
"We don't plan on making the Comey investigation the main centerpiece of our messaging," Conway said. And on On CBS' "This Morning," Conway said the Trump campaign doesn't want to "politicize the FBI."
At Trump's second Michigan rally, he touched briefly on Obamacare but soon launched into his Clinton email rhetoric again.
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"Obamacare is not her biggest problem, is it?" he asked the crowd. "As you know, the FBI has reopened this investigation into Hillary Clinton."
The FBI has not officially reopened any investigation, but the agency is looking at some newly discovered emails to determine whether they are relevant to Clinton's use of a home server to exchange communications with staff and other officials while she was secretary of state. Trump said the Democratic candidate is "a terrible example for my son and the other children in this country."
He touched on the news of interim DNC chair Donna Brazile's separation from CNN, which reportedly came after the network heard unconfirmed rumors that Brazile had provided Clinton information about debate questions before a primary event in March. "If they fired Donna Brazile, why aren't they firing Hillary Clinton, why is she allowed to run?" he asked, saying she is "unfit" to be president.
Retired NCAA men's basketball coach Bobby Knight introduced Trump at both of his Monday rallies, and partway through both of Trump's speeches, Knight came on stage to give Trump "a little bit of rest" and talk about support for veterans and the military.
Some national polls indicate a tightening race, but with more than 23 million early voting ballots already cast, winning left-leaning Michigan still presents a tremendous challenge for the GOP candidate.
Clinton's advisers and fellow Democrats, furious over the vague letter sent by FBI Director James Comey to Congress Friday, have been pressuring him to release more details about the emails, including whether Comey had even reviewed them himself. The emails were found on a computer that appears to belong to disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's closest advisers.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who's been featured in an ad for Clinton's campaign, described Comey's actions as "deeply troubling" and a violation of "longstanding Justice Department policies and tradition," in an article published in the Washington Post on Monday.
A law enforcement official confirmed late Sunday that investigators had obtained a search warrant to begin the review of Abedin's emails on Weiner's computer. The official has knowledge of the investigation, but was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity. The official said investigators would move expeditiously but would not say when the review might be complete.
Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, said Comey owed it to the public to be more forthcoming about the emails under review by the FBI with the days ticking down to the Nov. 8 election. Calling Comey's announcement "extremely puzzling," Kaine said that if Comey "hasn't seen the emails, I mean they need to make that completely plain."
Comey's actions Friday have roiled the White House race, energizing Trump as polls had shown him sliding and unnerved Democrats already worried about the presidency and down-ballot congressional races.
In a letter to Congress on Friday, Comey said the FBI had recently come upon new emails while pursuing an unrelated case and was reviewing whether they were classified.
Federal authorities in New York and North Carolina are investigating online communications between Weiner and a 15-year-old girl.
A law enforcement official said Sunday that FBI investigators in the Weiner sexting probe knew for weeks about the existence of the emails that might be relevant to the Clinton email investigation. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Comey said he was briefed Thursday about that development and told Congress on Friday that investigators had found the emails. A second law enforcement official also said the FBI was aware for a period of time about the emails before Comey was briefed, but the second official wasn't more specific.
Trump once again praised Comey for his decision, saying Monday "it took guts" and that "be brought back his reputation."
Conway said Comey was in "an impossible spot" when he acknowledged the FBI was looking into the messages. "Had he sat on the information, one can argue that he also would be interfering in the election," by failing to disclose the review, Conway said.
The controversy over Clinton's email practices while she served as secretary of state has dogged her for more than a year.
Meanwhile, the campaigns continued their early voting push, with Democrats claiming an edge in Nevada and Colorado. New reports from the weekend found that more than 20 million voters had already cast ballots.