Election 2020

Congressman: FBI 'Double Standard' Will Motivate African-American Voters

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) talks with polling station workers at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Oct. 25, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

A member of the Congressional Black Caucus said African-American voters who turned out to propel President Obama to the White House could be driven to vote for Hillary Clinton by feeling the FBI hasn’t given her a fair shake.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) told CNN on Tuesday that Clinton surrogates are taking an “all-hands-on-deck approach” in the final days of the presidential campaign, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee deployed in all the battleground states.

Jeffries campaigned in Ohio and said Pennsylvania was likely the next stop, as the Clinton campaign presses for heavy turnout in urban centers like Philadelphia.

“And we’re going to be making the case that on the issues that the African-American community cares about, Hillary Clinton is the clear choice. She has a plan to deal with these things. She started her campaign delivering a speech in Harlem about the mass incarceration problem that we have,” Jeffries said. “She’s laid out an objective for dealing with inner-city African- American poverty, as well as the pathway into the middle class for those who have been left behind for decades in this country. And as long as we continue to talk about the importance of issues, I think she’s going to be OK.”

They’re also trying to spread the message that Trump’s vow that he’d be better for African-Americans is “a completely absurd statement that has no basis in reality,” the congressman said.

“Donald Trump has a track record of doing everything possible to undermine the interests of the African-American community, whether it goes back to the housing discrimination case that was brought against him in the 1970s by the Nixon Justice Department, of all people, the way he went after the Central Park 5 in New York, and, of course, him leading the racist lie that President Obama was not born in this country,” Jeffries said.

“I think African-Americans are also going to be motivated by the fact that Hillary Clinton is being subjected to a clear double standard in the way in which the FBI is treating her in terms of disclosure, but refusing to discuss the fact that Donald Trump’s allies may be wrapped into this Russian hacking scandal and the attempt to interfere with our election.”

Jeffries attributed the enthusiasm gap for African-American voters between 2012 and today to the historic nature of Obama’s election and re-election.

“It was a defining moment for many African-Americans, one that most people thought that they would never see in their lifetime,” he added. “So it’s understandable that there would be some degree of an enthusiasm gap.”

“But what I have seen over time is that many in the African-American community understand the importance of this election, both as it relates to preserving and protecting the legacy of Barack Obama, building upon the great things that he has done and giving Hillary Clinton the opportunity to take the baton and continue the progress that has been made in this country,” the congressman continued.

“And I think on issues such as reducing mass incarceration, dealing with the college affordability problem, making sure we create an economy that works for everyone, Hillary Clinton is the clear choice for the overwhelming majority of African-Americans who are going to race to the polls to get this done.”

Donald Trump told a crowd in Eau Claire, Wis., on Tuesday, “I’ve been saying a lot and I’ve been saying and speaking very openly about the inner cities and saying to the African-American community, the Hispanic community, I’ve been saying, what do you have to lose? It’s such a disaster. What do you have to lose — thank you.”