Lena Dunham Hits the Campaign Trail for Hillary Clinton Amid New Email Controversy

"Girls" creator went to North Carolina to court the millennial vote.

ByABC News
November 1, 2016, 2:40 PM

— -- The crucial swing state of North Carolina is a bit farther south from the Brooklyn neighborhood Lena Dunham’s "Girls" character normally inhabits, but political activism is right on brand.

Dunham has hit the campaign trail in the battleground state to support Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee's campaign hopes Dunham’s star power will help them court the all-important millennial vote.

"It would be easy for me to walk around New York espousing Hillary Clinton, but I don’t think I need to," Dunham said. "It’s important to go where you’re necessary and your voice may matter."

But getting out the vote is not without its obstacles. The fallout from the latest FBI email controversy has been piling up.

"I think the Hillary base is so sort of sick of these baseless attacks that take away from the primary message, which is that we have a qualified candidate versus a dangerous candidate," Dunham said. "At the end of the day, the stuff with the emails is just a distraction and Hillary supporters don’t want to talk about it anymore."

Back in July, it was Comey himself who told Congress that, after combing through Clinton’s emails, he didn’t have enough evidence to charge her.

But emails found during a different investigation of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who allegedly was sexting with an underage girl, have re-surfaced the issue. Investigators said Weiner shared a computer with his now-estranged wife and top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Dozens of cyber experts are pouring over thousands of emails.

Abedin’s attorney told ABC News that "[Huma] only learned for the first time on Friday, from press reports, of the possibility that a laptop belonging to Mr. Weiner could contain emails of hers. While the FBI has not contacted us about this, Ms. Abedin will continue to be, as she always has been, forthcoming and cooperative."

Comey’s handling of the situation has generated fierce criticism from both Democrats and Republicans and a growing list of former Attorneys General from both sides of the aisle who are coming out against him.

"I think his decision has raised some very troubling questions and is to some degree very puzzling to someone like me," said Republican former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. "People are left to speculate about the possibilities of a criminal investigation and ultimately a criminal conviction of Secretary Clinton, and of course she may be totally innocent."

"I think this was a terrible error in judgment by the director," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

The Department of Justice responded to the criticism with a letter to several lawmakers, saying, "The Department of Justice appreciates the concerns raised in your letter. We assure you that the department will continue to work closely with the FBI and dedicate all necessary resources and take appropriate steps as expeditiously as possible."

Donald Trump has seized every opportunity to pummel his opponent the investigation of these additional emails.

"It’s a Christmas gift [for Trump] for sure," said ABC News' Deputy Political Director Shushannah Walshe. "It feeds the story that she’s not honest, she’s not trustworthy. It’s a storyline she’s been trying to combat this entire campaign."

But in North Carolina, the race isn’t just tightening, it’s "do or die" for Trump. Walshe said North Carolina is a true swing state because in 2008 it went to President Obama, but in 2012 it went to then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Despite the latest email controversy, if only American millennials were to vote today, according to polls and surveys, the election would be a landslide win for Clinton. The real question is, will they show up to vote on election day?

"It's easy for young millennials who are impassioned about what I'll just call the blanket issue of civil rights to lose faith in their government," Dunham said. "But the fact is, our vote is how we change the system."

Other millennial voters have very different ideas about how the system should change. Some college Republicans at UNC-Greensboro said they are supporting Trump because he addresses the issues they believe in.

For UNC-Greensboro student and College Republican member Ilinca Scalco, it’s "abortion, same sex marriage, just the whole idea of being conservative."

"[Trump] wasn’t my first choice," Scalco added. "He’s not a perfect man. We’ve never seen a perfect candidate."

At Duke University, where Dunham spoke at a panel discussion over the weekend to an auditorium of pro-Clinton students, she fielded tough questions about the email controversy from the Clinton faithful.

"We have to be prepared to be protective of the women in our lives," Dunham told the room. "White patriarchy is like a beast in a movie that’s been stabbed and is just dying so slow and screaming as it goes down and I just am afraid of what that’s going to look like."

Dunham says there’s a silver lining for what has been a gray and dreary campaign season for many.

"I've been so excited to see how many kids, how many students I've seen in North Carolina who have been saying that they've voted early," Dunham said. "I think that there’s a sense that the moment is upon us and we have to seize it."

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