A US government watchdog says it will examine whether the Federal Bureau of
Investigation followed proper procedures in its probe of Democratic presidential
candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
The inspector general's announcement comes amid outcry from Democrats who say
Clinton's election loss to Donald Trump was in part due to Comey's bringing
Clinton's emails back into the public spotlight less than two weeks before the
The Justice Department's Office of Inspector General said its probe would focus
in part on decisions leading up to public communications by FBI director James
Comey regarding the Clinton investigation, and whether underlying investigative
decisions may have been based on "improper considerations."
Although the FBI ultimately decided not to refer Clinton's case for prosecution,
Comey aroused suspicion that may have diminished trust in Clinton among voters.
The controversy involved Clinton's use of a private email server for official
correspondence when she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama,
including for messages that were later determined to contain classified
Comey publicly announced the status of the agency's investigation into Clinton's
emails two times in 2016.
In July, Comey held a press conference and testified before Congress to explain
why the FBI had decided not to refer Clinton for prosecution, explaining that
she was "extremely careless" but should not be charged with gross negligence or
any other federal crime.
In October, less than two weeks before the November 8 election, Comey said the
FBI was continuing the investigation because of new emails found on the computer
of disgraced former politician Anthony Weiner, the husband of one of Clinton's
On November 6, Comey said the investigation into Weiner's computer produced no
new evidence that would incriminate Clinton.
Brian Fallon, Clinton's spokesman, told MSNBC on Thursday that Comey's actions
"cried out for an independent review."The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails will be reviewed.
DOJ inspector-general Michael Horowitz made the announcement on Friday morning (NZ time). He says the review was prompted by "numerous" requests from the public and members of Congress.
The FBI in particular came under heavy criticism after it first announced Ms Clinton would not be prosecuted over her use of a private server, but then just a week before the election said it was investigating a newly discovered batch of emails.
Nothing of note surfaced in those emails, and the investigation was closed a few days later. Ms Clinton publicly blamed the saga for her election loss to Donald Trump.
The inquiry will look at whether the DOJ and FBI followed proper procedures when investigating Clinton, particularly FBI director James Comey's public statements leading up to the election.
The FBI ultimately recommended against pressing charges, but noted Clinton had been "extremely careless" in using a private server.