- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 1, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - The country needs to heal after the divisive 2016 political campaign, regardless of who wins the presidential election or which party controls the Senate, both of Ohio’s U.S. senators said Tuesday.

Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman also said they expect the Senate to move forward on confirming a new Supreme Court justice no matter who’s in the White House.

“We need to heal a divided country,” said Portman, following remarks he made at a conference highlighting the impact of the addictions epidemic on children.

“Regardless of who wins this election we need to figure out how to bring our country back together and solve the big problems we face,” he said.

It’s up to the winner of the presidential race to help in the healing, “but the loser needs to at least play it straight and say, ‘It was a fair election,’ ” said Brown, who said he believes Hillary Clinton will win the presidency. Brown attended the same addictions conference.

Republican Donald Trump has not said he would accept the results if he loses and has been warning the election could be rigged, something both Democrat and Republican elections officials say is not possible in the country’s voting system, which is operated on the state level. Portman rescinded his endorsement of Trump after a video emerged in which Trump boasted of groping women.

Also Tuesday, Brown said he disagreed with FBI director James Comey’s decision to reveal the existence of another cache of emails potentially important to the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email practices.

The emails were found on a computer seized during an unrelated investigation involving the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner. He is being investigated in connection with online communications with a teenage girl.

One result of the action is it could put pressure on Comey to release information about other investigations, such as Russian interference in the White House race, Brown said.

“It’s just not what should be part of an election,” Brown said.

Portman said Comey was doing what he thought was best, noting he didn’t criticize Comey when he said in July that the FBI was ending its email investigation without filing charges.

Comey said then that Clinton and her aides had been “extremely careless” in using her email system for communications about government business.

If Comey had not revealed the new emails, “he would have been criticized also, because the investigation would have become public and people would have said, ‘Why didn’t you say something before the election?’ ” Portman said.


Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/andrew-welsh-huggins

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