WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrat Hillary Clinton heads into the final day of a tight White House race against Republican Donald Trump on Monday with new momentum after the FBI said no criminal charges were forthcoming in an investigation of her email practices.
Both Clinton and Trump will spend the day racing across a handful of battleground states that could swing Tuesday’s election, which polls show is close but tilting toward Clinton.
FBI Director James Comey again sent shockwaves through the race by telling Congress on Sunday that investigators had worked around the clock to complete a review of newly discovered emails and found no reason to change their July finding that Clinton was not guilty of criminal wrongdoing in her use of a private email server while secretary of state.
It was uncertain whether the announcement came in time to change voters’ minds or undo any damage from days of Republican attacks on Clinton as corrupt. Tens of millions of Americans had cast early votes in the 10 days since Comey first told Congress of the newly discovered emails.
“Nothing’s going to change between today and tomorrow to help [Clinton] win back” undecided voters,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Trump, who has not said whether he will respect the results of Tuesday’s election, questioned the thoroughness of the FBI review and said the issue would not go away.
Clinton did not mention the FBI finding during her last two campaign events on Sunday.
“That’s behind us now,” campaign manager Robby Mook told CNN on Monday.
On Monday, Trump will hit five battleground states – Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan – and close with a late-night rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Clinton will make two stops in Pennsylvania and visit Michigan before wrapping up with a midnight rally in Raleigh, North Carolina. She will appear at an evening rally at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, as well as rock star Bruce Springsteen.
Clinton’s Democratic allies hoped the FBI finding would be enough to push her over the finish line and end the uncertainty and Republican attacks on her character that have dogged her campaign since Comey made the new emails public on Oct. 28.
“The FBI’s swift and thorough review should finally close the door on this Republican sideshow,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, adding the election would now be decided “on the merits of the candidates” rather than innuendo.
Republicans kept up their criticism of Clinton.
“She simply believes she’s above the law and always plays by her own rules,” House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, arguing that Clinton’s use of a private email server “compromised our national security.”
U.S. stock index futures rose more than 1 percent after the FBI announcement and the U.S. dollar also strengthened in Asian trading against major currencies.
Markets have tended to see Clinton as the status quo candidate, and news favoring her bid often boosts investors’ risk appetite. Global financial markets slipped last week as opinion polls showed the presidential race tightening.
News of the renewed investigation had appeared to fuel a recent slide in Clinton’s poll numbers. The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll showed Clinton with a 5 percentage point lead over the New York businessman nationally – 44 percent to 39 percent support – while races in the swing states of Florida and North Carolina shifted from favoring Clinton to being too close to call.
Clinton held a 4-point lead in the ABC/Washington Post poll and a CBS news poll released on Monday.
(Additional reporting by Emily Stephenson in Michigan, Amanda Becker in New York, Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken and Bernadette Baum)
IMAGE: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder