In last minute twist, FBI clears Clinton on emails
CLEVELAND (AP) — In an extraordinary last-minute twist to a volatile campaign, FBI director James Comey lifted the cloud he had placed over Hillary Clinton, saying Sunday the bureau had found no evidence in its hurried review of newly discovered emails to warrant criminal charges against her.
Comey’s move capped a stunning chapter in the bitter, deeply divisive contest between Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. The director’s initial decision to make a renewed inquiry into Clinton’s emails public on Oct. 28 upended the campaign at a crucial moment, sapping a surging Clinton’s momentum and giving Trump fresh ammunition to challenge her trustworthiness.
Clinton’s campaign, furious at Comey’s handling of the review, welcomed Sunday’s announcement. Communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters, “We’re glad this matter is resolved,” though Clinton herself did not mention the issue during a rally in Ohio with basketball superstar LeBron James.
The new review involved material found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. While Comey was vague in his initial description of the inquiry, he said Sunday that the FBI reviewed communications “to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state.”
Based on that review, Comey told lawmakers the FBI was not changing the conclusion it reached this summer. Then, Comey said, “no reasonable prosecutor” would recommend Clinton face criminal charges for using a private email system while at the State Department.
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:
1. FBI LIFTS CLOUD OF UNCERTAINTY OVER CLINTON
Agency head James Comey abruptly announces that the Democrat should not face criminal charges related to newly discovered emails from her tenure at the State Department.
2. ANOTHER FRONT OPENED IN WAR AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE GROUP
Kurdish-led Syrian forces begin an offensive to liberate the extremists’ de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria.
Black pastors issue urgent plea to voters at Sunday services
DETROIT (AP) — At Sunday services, in rallies and on social media, black pastors urged congregants to vote, hoping to inspire a late flood of African-American turnout that could help propel Democrat Hillary Clinton to victory in critical swing states on Tuesday.
In Detroit, a pastor spoke of voting and citizenship. In Philadelphia, the minister reminded congregants others had died for their chance to cast a ballot. The Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke to a few hundred people in front of City Hall in Tallahassee, Florida, before they marched a block over to the county courthouse to vote early.
Along with women and Hispanics, African-Americans are seen as critical to Clinton’s chances against Republican Donald Trump. However, early voting data from key states indicate turnout will not be as high this year as it was four years ago, when Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, was on the ballot. Sunday’s efforts were aimed at minimizing that decline.
Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Texas megachurch The Potter’s House, tweeted on a red, white and blue backdrop, “Make sure your voice is heard. Vote on Nov. 8.”
“Preachers are trying to strike a moral nerve and somehow penetrate the fog of indifference and try to remind people what’s at stake this year,” said the Rev. James Forbes, retired pastor of The Riverside Church, in New York, which hosted a national get-out-the-vote telecast Sunday night called “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution in Values.”
Magnitude 5.0 earthquake shakes central Oklahoma.
CUSHING, Okla. (AP) — A sharp earthquake centered near one of the world’s key oil hubs Sunday night triggered fears that the magnitude 5.0 temblor might have damaged key infrastructure in addition to damaging buildings in an Oklahoma prairie town.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said it and the Oklahoma Geological Survey were investigating after the quake, which struck at 7:44 p.m. and was felt as far away as Iowa, Illinois and Texas.
“The OCC’s Pipeline Safety Department has been in contact with pipeline operators in the Cushing oil storage terminal under state jurisdiction and there have been no immediate reports of any problems,” the commission’s spokesman, Matt Skinner, said in a statement. “The assessment of the infrastructure continues.”
Oklahoma has had thousands of earthquakes in recent years, with nearly all traced to the underground injection of wastewater left over from oil and gas production. Sunday’s quake was centered one mile west of Cushing — and about 25 miles south of where a magnitude 4.3 quake forced a shutdown of several wells last week.
The U.S. Geological Survey said initially that Sunday’s quake was of magnitude 5.3 but later lowered the reading to 5.0.
Syrian Kurds begin campaign to oust Islamic State from Raqqa
BEIRUT (AP) — Kurdish-led Syrian forces began an offensive Sunday to liberate the Islamic State group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, clashing with the extremists north of the Syrian city and warning neighboring Turkey not to interfere in the operation.
The United States, France and Britain said they would provide air support for the offensive, which was announced at a news conference in Ein Issa, north of Raqqa, by a coalition of Kurds and Arabs known as the Syria Democratic Forces. But it lacked details on how the group dominated by Kurds plans to oust the militants from the city, home to nearly 200,000 mostly Sunni Arabs and an estimated 5,000 IS fighters.
Unlike several successful military efforts to drive Islamic State militants out of cities in Iraq, the Raqqa offensive faces several political obstacles and is likely to be much more complex.
In Iraq, a U.S.-led coalition is working with the government in Baghdad, but Washington and its partners in Syria are relying on a hodgepodge of local Arab and Kurdish opposition groups, some of which are fierce rivals. The tensions are exacerbated by Russian and Syrian forces on one side and Turkish forces on another.
Still, the start of the Raqqa offensive, which aims initially at isolating and encircling the city, increases the pressure on the Islamic State group, making it harder for its fighters to move reinforcements between Syria and Iraq. The city, which has been under IS control since early 2014, is home to some of the group’s top leaders and is seen as the key to defeating the group militarily.
Q&A: A look at the offensive against IS-held Raqqa
BEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-backed Syrian forces on Sunday said they would march on the northern city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State group’s self-styled caliphate.
The offensive promises to divert IS fighters from Mosul, the much larger extremist-held city in northern Iraq, which has been the target of a massive operation launched by Baghdad last month. But long-running tensions between Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish-led forces leading the assault on Raqqa could complicate the battle and buy IS more time.
A closer look at what the new offensive means:
WHO IS LEADING THE OFFENSIVE?
The Kurdish-dominated Syria Democratic Forces have emerged as one of the principal players in the country’s multi-sided civil war. They are recognized by the U.S. as one of the most effective fighting forces against IS and have captured large swaths of northeastern Syria from the extremists.
Mosul battle rages as IS bombings elsewhere in Iraq kill 20
MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraq’s special forces worked Sunday to clear neighborhoods on the eastern edge of Islamic State-held Mosul as bombings launched by the extremist group elsewhere in the country killed at least 20 people.
The Mosul offensive has slowed in recent days as Iraqi forces have pushed into more densely populated areas, where they cannot rely as much on airstrikes and shelling because of the risk posed to civilians, who have been told to stay in their homes.
“There are a lot of civilians and we are trying to protect them,” said Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Timimi. “This is one of the hardest battles that we’ve faced till now.”
Some civilians are fleeing the combat zone, while IS militants are holding others back for use as human shields, making it harder for Iraqi commanders on the ground to get approval for requested U.S.-led coalition air strikes. Iraq’s special forces are some of the country’s best troops, but they still largely rely on air support to clear terrain.
Iraqi forces first entered the eastern edge of the city on Tuesday. On Friday, forces began pushing into Mosul proper, but so far have advanced just over a kilometer (mile) into the city.
Captive’s rescue leads to break in grisly quadruple slaying
CHESNEE, S.C. (AP) — For 13 years, the relatives came together periodically to grieve one of South Carolina’s grisliest mass shootings and compare leads with stumped investigators.
On Sunday, they gathered again on the anniversary of the crime — this time in a Spartanburg courtroom after an unexpected break led to the man who, authorities say, confessed to the quadruple slayings.
The victims’ relatives sat a few feet away from Todd Kohlhepp as he was denied bond on the murder charges. It was their first chance to face the man accused of killing their loved ones.
After the hearing, Magistrate Judge Jimmy Henson thanked the families for their civility and composure.
“I know there’s a lot of hurt … beyond what a lot of people understand,” he said.
Justin Bieber wins 3 MTV EMA Europe music awards
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers” helped turn him into the biggest winner Sunday at the MTV EMA European music awards. Again.
Bieber, who carried away the most silverware at the MTV EMAs last year with five awards, won Best Song this time around for his smash “Sorry,” and also took away the title of Best Canadian Act. His army of so-called Beliebers earned him his third crown of the night, Biggest Fans, in online voting via Twitter and Instagram that closed shortly before the show started.
Bieber was one of the many winners on the night who did not attend the show.
Just two days ahead of the U.S. presidential election, veteran punk rockers Green Day closed the raucous show with their anti-establishment anthem “American Idiot.”
“It is nice to be out of America just for a second because of this horrendous election that is going on right now,” lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong said.
Several rivalry games headline NFL’s Week 9 slate
The Raiders and Broncos are a fitting Week 9 headliner, playing in prime time with first place in the AFC West on the line.
And matchups between the Steelers and Ravens as well as the Eagles against the Giants are giving this week a rivalry feel.
The Lions also visit Minnesota, where the Vikings have enjoyed one of the league’s more lopsided rivalries. The teams haven’t played in Minnesota’s new stadium, though.
Detroit-Minnesota, Pittsburgh-Baltimore and Philadelphia-Giants are among the games scheduled for the early start at 1 p.m. Eastern time, along with the Jets visiting Miami, the Jaguars playing the Chiefs and the Cowboys facing the Browns.
The late afternoon games include: New Orleans at San Francisco, Carolina at Los Angeles, Indianapolis at Green Bay and Tennessee at San Diego.