Comey Letter Energized Trump To Win Election, Lewandowski Says

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Corey Lewandowski said Wednesday that the vague letter FBI Director James Comey sent less than two weeks before Election Day about a potential development in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server had “energized” Donald Trump to win the election.

“With eleven days to go, something amazing happened,” the former Trump campaign manager told the crowd at an Oxford Union debating society event, according to The Telegraph.

“The FBI’s director James [Comey] came out on a Friday and he said they may be reopening the investigation into Crooked Hillary’s emails,” Lewandowski said, referencing Comey’s announcement that emails which “appear to be pertinent to our investigation” had surfaced during another probe, later reported to be an investigation into former congressman Anthony Weiner.

Lewandowski had been fired from his role as campaign manager in June, and was a paid commentator on CNN when Comey’s letter was released.

“What that did was remind people that there are two different rules in Washington–those of the elites, and the privileged and those for everybody else,” Lewandowski said. “When Comey moved forward with that investigation… it allowed the campaign a little spring in their step, and for them to redouble their efforts.”

That announcement energized the Trump campaign, Lewandowski said, which “went from four campaign states a day to five or seven or eight.”

“In those last last eleven days Mr. Trump was exceptionally disciplined. He used a teleprompter, and he did less media. The team used social media like no campaign in history,” Lewandowski said. “And then, Donald Trump won the election campaign by the largest majority since Ronald Reagan in 1984.”

Lewandowski’s electoral analysis is incorrect: Bill Clinton won the presidency with 370 electoral votes in 1992 and 379 in 1996, a margin far greater than Trump’s 2016 tally of 290 electoral votes. Hillary Clinton is expected to win the popular vote in 2016.

But his analysis of the effect of Comey’s announcement on the race agrees with Clinton’s: In a call with Democratic donors just days after Election Day, Clinton reportedly blamed Comey’s letter for “raising doubts that were groundless, baseless, proven to be, stopped our momentum.”

Two days before Election Day, Comey sent a second letter to members of Congress, in which he concluded that the newly-discovered emails had “not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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