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Can't touch this: Hillary Clinton's chances unaffected by latest email scandal

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:45 IST

On the last day of October - also known as Halloween - the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began loading around 650,000 emails into a special computer program. The emails belong to a top aide of Clinton, Huma Abedin, and her husband, Anthony Weiner, said FBI director James B. Comey.

According to CNN's sources, the FBI discovered these new emails while investigating Weiner sexting a 15-year-old girl.

The program allows the FBI analysts to see which ones are duplicates (after being referenced with the ones they've already read as a part of the investigation into the use of Mrs. Clinton's private server) and which ones contain classified information. The previous investigation was completed in July and they decided not to file any charges.

No time left

Since there is a treasure trove of emails, and only a week before the general elections, officials say that it'll be near impossible to sift through them and give an opinion before voting day unless of course there are no classified emails. Then it is an open and shut case.

The next question is whether or not the investigation will be complete by inauguration day, i.e., 20 January. Unfortunately for everyone eagerly waiting, the FBI has given no timeline.

Furthermore, if the investigation is complete after Clinton is sworn in (if she defeats The Donald, of course), there is no guarantee she would be impeached. For that to happen, there has to be classified content found in the emails and a court would then have to be convinced that there was criminal intent to share the information, or to purposely mishandle it.

Flaw in the law

No one knows exactly what the constitutional procedure is for a crime that has been committed before taking office. Crimes committed before taking office aren't considered impeachable offences and hence there is little to no chance she would be impeached, if elected.

There is one way out for Clinton, if elected. A sitting president can pardon any person, including the president. This looks like the least likely option as she would be admitting to the deed but taking the easy road out.

Another source of trouble for Clinton would be if the Republicans retain control of the House. The Republicans have promised to pursue multiple investigations into Clinton.

"Thank you, Huma. Good job, Huma. Thank you, Anthony Weiner," Donald Trump pounced on the news. Of course, Trump hasn't failed to note that

Abedin and Clinton's relationship goes back twenty years to when Abedin was an intern at the White House.

"Hillary is the one who broke the law over and over and over again. We can be sure that what is in those emails is absolutely devastating," Trump further said. "I think we hit the mother lode, as they say".

Most forecasts a week out from the elections say that Clinton has about 90% chance of winning. Odds that even an email scandal cannot change.

First published: 1 November 2016, 8:12 IST