Justice Department advised FBI against Clinton email letter
AFP PhotoThe U.S. Justice Department officials have cited the proximity of the elections as a reason the FBI should not alert Congress to the unexpected discovery of emails potentially related to its investigation of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server, The Associated Press reported.
A government official said Justice officials advised of the FBI’s intention to notify Congress about the discovery expressed concern that the action would be inconsistent with department protocols designed to avoid the appearance of interference in an election.
The official said FBI Director James Comey acted independently when he sent several members of Congress a letter about the emails on Oct. 28. The official was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Comey had told Congress the bureau is looking into a batch of new emails that appeared pertinent to its investigation into Clinton’s private email system.
Clinton on her side called the actions of the FBI just days ahead of the presidential election “deeply troubling,” telling reporters in Florida on Oct. 29 that Comey should put out the “full and complete facts” about the FBI review.
“It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” Clinton said.
She accused her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, of using the issue to confuse and mislead voters in the final leg of the campaign for the Nov. 8 election.
Trump said it was all part of a huge political scandal and was hoping to raise new doubts about Clinton’s trustworthiness.
Speaking at a rally in Phoenix on Oct. 29, where the crowd cheered “Lock her up!” at the mention of Clinton’s name, the billionaire accused the Justice Department of doing everything it can to protect the Democratic nominee in another example of what he claims is a “rigged system.”
“Now it’s reported that the Department of Justice is fighting with the FBI. That’s because the Department of Justice is trying their hardest to protect the criminal activity of Hillary Clinton,” Trump said, offering no evidence for the assertion.
The Clinton campaign declared Oct. 29 that it was firmly behind Huma Abedin, the longtime aide and Clinton confidante whose emails showed up on a computer seized by law enforcement officials investigating husband Anthony Weiner’s online contact with a minor. The FBI decision to review the new emails, as part of its investigation into Clinton’s private email server, breathed new life into Clinton’s own email woes.
“We of course stand behind her,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told reporters, saying Abedin has “completely and voluntarily complied with and cooperated with the investigation.”
Abedin is the best-known member of Clinton’s insular band of loyalists. Glamorous and fashionable, she has long been a recognizable figure among Clinton supporters and political opponents.
Republican nominee Donald Trump was perhaps the first to raise the concern that Abedin’s marriage might be a problem for Clinton, tweeting more than a year ago that Weiner was “a major security risk as a collector of info.”