DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Hillary Clinton on Saturday escalated her campaign’s forceful pushback of FBI Director James Comey, saying his letter disclosing further investigation of linked emails to her was "unprecedented and ... deeply troubling."
Speaking at a campaign event in Daytona Beach, Clinton said she's asking for Comey to quickly release the "full and complete facts" about the new probe of unspecified emails.
Federal officials told NBC News the emails were found in the course of investigating former Congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Comey's extraordinary move Friday — a week and a half before the Nov. 8 election — sparked a political firestorm.
“It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” Clinton said to huge cheers inside a small community center gymnasium. "In fact, it’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling."
Then, pivoting, Clinton slammed her opponent’s response to the political bombshell.
"Now, of course, Donald Trump is already making up lies about this, and is doing his best to confuse, mislead and discourage the American people,” she said, reading off a teleprompter that would otherwise be unusual at such a small canvass kickoff. “I think it’s time for Donald Trump to stop fear-mongering, stop disgracing himself, stop attacking our democracy. We can’t let him get away with this.”
Despite the FBI review and "no matter what they throw at us in these last days,” Clinton pledged not to get “distracted” or “knocked off course.” She asked her supporters to do the same.
“[That's] because we know how much this election matters. We know how many people are counting on us,” Clinton added.
Clinton’s top aides all but waged war against Comey during a press call earlier in the day.
Campaign manager Robby Mook and chair John Podesta said forcefully that the FBI director “owes” the American people “the full story.”
Comey sent a brief letter Friday to the Senate Judiciary Committee announcing the decision, but did not explain what was behind it, other than emails that had been unearthed in an unrelated case.
Comey hasn't commented since.
"It's been more than 24 hours and we have no real explanation," Podesta told reporters, reiterating Clinton's call a day earlier for Comey to release "the full and complete facts."
"There's no evidence of wrongdoing, no charge of wrongdoing, no indication that this is even about Hillary," Podesta said.
Mook also mentioned a Washington Post report Saturday that said senior Justice Department officials warned the FBI that Comey’s decision to notify Congress was not consistent with department protocol.
"Comey has come under considerable pressure," Mook added.
At a campaign rally Saturday in Golden, Colorado, Trump urged the FBI not to give Abedin immunity in the investigation.
"It seemed that everybody who walked down the sidewalk got immunity. I hope they don't give Huma immunity, because she knows the real story, she knows what's going on," Trump said.
Trump also implied the FBI must have found "what may be some of the 33,000 missing and deleted emails" from Clinton's server — even though no officials have said that.
Regardless, Trump's senior communications adviser, Jason Miller, suggested later Saturday that "something very significant was discovered, otherwise they wouldn't have made this announcement."
"There is no reason they would reopen this investigation with 11 days to go before a presidential race if something big hadn't happened," Miller told MSNBC.