Comey: Upcoming election spurred relaunched Hillary probe
Reopening the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server, FBI Director James Comey explained to his agency that his decision to not follow the protocol of alerting lawmakers about the new probe was spurred by the matter’s political sensitivity – with the upcoming election.
Comey communicated to the FBI in an internal memo obtained by Fox News that his bureau was breaking from custom by telling the public about reopening the case, says one source from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). He justified his change of mind – to move forward with the investigation that he controversially called off earlier this summer – by insisting that Clinton’s White House run and the impending November 8 election warranted the renewed probe.
Sudden change of heart?
Under fire by Trump and other conservatives for prematurely ending the FBI investigation of Clinton’s tens of thousands of emails several months ago, Comey said in the memo that he had a change of heart over the issue.
“Of course we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so, given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed,” Comey wrote in the letter, according to Fox News. “I also think it would be misleading to the American people – were we not to supplement the record.”
Comey went on to address how he was also prompted to change his mind by alluding to the fact that he has come under suspicion of colluding with Clinton in some sort of cover-up – of which many accused him over his previous decision to close the highly contentious matter of looking further into the former secretary of state’s private email scandal.
“At the same time, however, given that we do not know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression,” the beleaguered director added in his note to fellow FBI members. “In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter, and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.”
It was further divulged by the media that the recent discovery of previously undisclosed emails made the decision to reopen the probe inevitable.
“The bombshell revelation that newly discovered emails had prompted a new look into whether Clinton or those around her had broken the law my mishandling sensitive information rocked the race for the White House Friday,” Fox News reported. “Comey informed key Republican and Democrat lawmakers that new emails had surfaced that were relevant to the investigation, and warranted a new look.”
Comey’s recent announcement comes as an extreme about-face from his earlier decision to wrap up the probe that many thought had only uncovered the tip of the iceberg concerning Clinton’s illegal dealings as secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term.
“Comey announced in July that the FBI had wrapped up a year-long investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business and concluded that while she was ‘extremely careless,’ he could not recommend that the Justice Department seek an indictment,” Fox News’ Malia Zimmerman and Adam Housley informed. “The decision was blasted by Republicans [and reports earlier this month indicated] that career DOJ and FBI workers were furious.”
Early last year, news about the former first lady’s private email server – that she operated from her home in Chappaqua, New York, to conduct government business from 2009 to 2013 – made national headlines. Clinton maintained under oath before the court that she turned over all of her emails having anything to do with her work as secretary of state while seriving at the State Department.
Subsequently, however, the enormity of Clinton’s offense was divulged, as confidential information that could potentially jeopardize national security was found on the email server – despite numerous reported attempts by the former New York Senator to conceal or destroy the evidence.
“The FBI investigation determined that thousands of messages that would later be marked classified by the State Department retroactively were on the server,” Zimmerman and Housley reported. “Federal law makes it a crime for a government employee to possess classified information in an unsecure manner, and the relevant statute does not require a finding of intent.”
Even though Trump and other leading Republicans formerly blasted Comey and the FBI for allegedly covering up and prematurely concluding the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal, the billionaire praised the director’s decision to reopen the probe while addressing the crowd at a rally he held on Friday.
In his stump speech at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the vocal businessman proclaimed that the emails in the ongoing Clinton scandal have uncovered “a most egregious criminal offense” that he said is unfolding to become “the biggest political scandal since Watergate.”
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