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GOP leaders slam Clinton amid FBI e-mail probe announcement

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House Speaker Paul Ryan.
House Speaker Paul Ryan.(Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Reaction from Republican leaders was swift Friday after the FBI director told Congress that it is investigating whether there is classified information in new emails that have emerged in its probe of Hillary Clinton's private server.

In New Hampshire, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a rally that ''perhaps finally justice will be served.''

Trump said that ''Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before'' and said that ''we must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.''

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Clinton has ''nobody but herself to blame.''

''She was entrusted with some of our nation's most important secrets, and she betrayed that trust by carelessly mishandling highly classified information,'' Ryan, R-Wis., said in a statement. ''This decision, long overdue, is the result of her reckless use of a private email server, and her refusal to be forthcoming with federal investigators. I renew my call for the Director of National Intelligence to suspend all classified briefings for Secretary Clinton until this matter is fully resolved.''

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the FBI's decision reinforces the committee's view that the more that is learned about the server, ''the clearer it becomes that she and her associates committed wrongdoing and jeopardized national security.''

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Former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee took to Twitter to offer his response.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who is locked in one of this year's closest Senate contests, said in a statement that he believed the American people deserve to have a full accounting of "Clinton's practices and a complete picture of her actions" while she served as secretary of state.

"We should allow this to go through the complete processes, this time including all of the e-mails on Clinton's server," said Burr.

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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said on CNBC that he believes Comey is acting "with an abundance of caution" so Republicans don't say the day after the election that it was rigged. But House Democrats haven't been briefed by the FBI at all, according to House aides, leaving them with no more information beyond Comey's terse three-paragraph letter.

Republicans and the Trump campaign quickly seized on Comey's statement to attack the Democratic presidential nominee. Comey said he couldn't say how long the review would take, raising the possibility that voters will go to the ballot box with the new probe unresolved and still hanging over Clinton's campaign.

The Trump campaign also demanded the bureau provide additional details about what it found.

"We call on the FBI to immediately release all emails pertinent to their investigation. Americans have the right to know before Election Day," Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, wrote on Twitter.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he's asked for a briefing from the FBI "as soon as possible."

"The letter from Director Comey was unsolicited and, quite honestly, surprising. But it's left a lot more questions than answers for both the FBI and Secretary Clinton," Grassley said. "Congress and the public deserve more context to properly assess what evidence the FBI has discovered and what it plans to do with it."

Republican Representative Peter King of New York, a former chairman of the Homeland Security panel, told MSNBC that Comey needs to brief the relevant congressional leaders about what he called a "totally unprecedented" development.

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Representative Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said there can be little doubt that something pertinent has emerged.

"Something must be there or they wouldn't make this announcement this close to the election," Jordan said on CNBC, adding that "as much as the American people can know, they should know."


Material from Bloomberg News was used in this report.