WASHINGTON • Mrs Hillary Clin- ton's running mate Tim Kaine has suggested that some officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are "actively working" to support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The Democratic vice-presidential candidate made the claim on Saturday in an interview with Fusion, a Miami-based television network targeting bicultural millennials.
The comments mark an escalation in the Clinton campaign's response to the FBI's renewed inquiry into her inappropriate use of a private e-mail server when she served as United States secretary of state.
Mr Kaine called the FBI a "leaky sieve" and criticised director James Comey for breaking agency protocol by discussing a politically sensitive case so close to an election.
He dismissed former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani's decision to back off claims that he was given advance notice of the FBI's plans to possibly reopen the Clinton probe, saying: "I don't think Giuliani's walk-back is credible. I think the FBI sadly has become like a leaky sieve."
Mr Giuliani, a prominent Trump supporter, told Fox News in the days before Mr Comey alerted lawmakers to the FBI's renewed inquiry that there would be a "big surprise" coming from the agency.
Asked about his claims again on Friday, Mr Giuliani told Fox's Fox And Friends programme: "You're darn right I heard something." But he pulled back on Saturday, saying he was aware only of "tremendous anger" from former FBI agents upset with Mr Comey's decision.
Mr Kaine said Mr Comey's decision to alert Congress about his review of the Clinton case "suggests that it's probably more likely explained that (Mr Comey) knew that the FBI is not only a leaky sieve but there were people within the FBI actively working - actively working - to try to help the Trump campaign".
"This is just absolutely staggering, and it is a massive blow to the integrity of (the FBI)," said Mr Kaine, adding that he thinks Mr Comey was under pressure to release information to Congress because "subordinates would do it if he didn't".
The FBI decided to review the Clinton case after finding new e-mails potentially relevant to the original investigation. Senior FBI officials were told of the e-mails, obtained in relation to an investigation of former congressman Anthony Weiner at least two weeks before Mr Comey notified Congress, said federal officials familiar with the investigation.
The Clinton campaign has publicly questioned Mr Comey's motives and fitness to serve, despite praising his leadership after he said in July that the FBI would not recommend the e-mail case for prosecution.