Paul Ryan downplays effect of Comey letter in final election stretch

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Story highlights

  • The FBI located additional emails possibly related to Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server
  • But House Speaker Paul Ryan said James Comey's letter would have little effect on the election

(CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan said the latest bombshell letter from FBI Director James Comey issued over the weekend clearing Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing in the bureau's email investigation wouldn't have any major impact in Tuesday's election.

"I think it's baked into the cake," Ryan told Wisconsin radio host Jay Weber on WISN, explaining that the update from the FBI "is just another saga in the Clinton chapter of them living above the rules, treating themselves by a different set of rules -- scandal after scandal after scandal."
    Comey upended the 2016 presidential race just 10 days ago when he sent a letter to Capitol Hill leaders indicating the FBI located additional emails potentially related to its investigation of Clinton's private email server and was reviewing tens of thousands of email messages. Donald Trump seized on the news, and the GOP presidential nominee and other down ballot candidates' standing in the polls tightened in key battleground states.
    But the FBI Director stunned the political world again Sunday, with another letter just two days before the election reporting that the review was complete and he stood by his July decision that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Clinton for improper handling of sensitive material.
    Ryan said concerns expressed by some in his party that Comey might have rushed through a review is "beside the point."
    Instead, he pivoted back to the message he has stressed in recent days of ripping Clinton's behavior and warning about what her win would mean.
    "The point is she mishandled classified information repeatedly. She put national security in jeopardy and why did he do this? So she could treat herself by a different set of rules than everybody else. That is a fact and that's just indisputable and that just shows you the kind of presidency we could have if we have a Hillary Clinton presidency."
    The speaker, who is traveling to nearly every corner of his home state of Wisconsin in the final days to urge people to vote for the entire ticket, stressed bringing Republicans back together, but didn't mention Donald Trump's name during the ten minute interview.
    "I think we need to unify as a party. I think we need to get everybody to the polls."
    Ryan appeared with Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, over the weekend, and told reporters he would have attended a rally in Wisconsin with the billionaire nominee, but it was scrapped.
    He acknowledged that there were some reluctant voters this cycle, telling Weber, "I get why people don't like this election cycle, I can clearly understand it, it's the most bizarre one we've ever seen."
    But Ryan said he warns that Clinton is "sitting on top a party that's run by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. This is not a moderate party -- this is a very, very liberal left progressive party."
    The Wisconsin Republican said even with questions about Trump's ability to win, voters needed to understand the significance of down ballot races on the future of the Supreme Court and other policy priorities."So even if we come up short at the top of the ticket it's really important that we keep the Senate to we can make sure that we have control on what judges go the bench."
    Ryan stressed that he did over 100 political events in October in 45 cities in 17 states in three weeks, but is making the final push in his home state with an emphasis on getting out the vote for GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, saying the contest in his home state is "the proxy race" for control of the Senate.
    "We are just going to leave everything on the field fighting for Ron in these final moments," Ryan said.
    Ryan also told the Charlie Sykes radio show that he plans to run for speaker again.