The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has secured the mandate for screening newly discovered emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, in another setback to the presumptive frontrunner for the presidency.
The email hell broke loose for Clinton when it looked like she had all but sealed the election. From the cusp of setting history as the first woman president of the world's most powerful country, Clinton has been pushed to the backfoot.
From double digit leads in opinion surveys that the pundits called were impossible to be overturned, she has her back to the wall now and it's all toil, grime, hurt and heartburn left for her in the dying moments of the campaign.
It all looks surreal, and indeed heavily unfair to a woman who worked hard, steadfastly, doggedly and painstakingly for over a decade to reach where she is now. The irony of it is starker when her pain is the gain for Donald Trump, who has been universally derided for the crass views he holds about women.
Here are eight key points:
1. Until now it was Donald Trump who cried hoarse about a 'rigged' election, saying the media and the whole world were conspiring against him. Now it's the turn of the Democrats to scream blue murder, saying the move against Clinton is murky. Whereas, Trump now says probably the election is not that rigged after all.
2. The warrant obtained by the FBI will help it examine if the newly discovered emails are related to the documents the agency probed as part of its investigation into Clinton's private email server during her tenure as the secretary of state. The controversy erupted after FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress disclosing the discovery of Clinton mails that he said would fall under the purview of the investigations.
3. The bunch of emails at the heart of the latest row were discovered during an FBI investigation into former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, who was married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin. Weiner is facing probe in a child molestation case, and the investigators have now obtained the warrant to scrutinize the emails related to Clinton discovered from Weiner's laptop.
4. The democrats have said Comey might have violated the Hatch Act, which bars the use of a federal government position to influence an election. "Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said. Comey's action is "long on innuendo, short on facts," Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said.
5. The Democrats fear that the more time Clinton spends under the shadow the tougher it will be for her to defeat Trump. And even in the case of her victory, the transition might get caught up in legal wrangles.
6. FBI had closed the investigation into Clinton emails and her private server in July. But now the bureau's boss has decided that the newly discovered emails need to be examined to establish if they have any bearing on the probe into Clinton's handling of classified information.
7. The Justice Department had advised Comey not to send the letter to Congress, saying it would prejudice the election at this stage in the campaign.
8. The latest polls show Clinton is locked in statistical dead heat with Trump, who had all but melted away after a series of damning revelations about his sexual behavior were dumped a fortnight ago. The ABC News/Washington Post says Clinton now has a thin 1-point national lead over Trump. The average national lead by Clinton as of Sunday was just 3.4 percent, which the Democrats fear is too weak to defend if there's going to be more bad news for Clinton and no news for Trump.