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DOJ Says Comey Acted Independently to Pursue Clinton Email Investigation

10-29-2016
FBI Director James Comey

Attorney General Loretta Lynch and other Justice Department officials reportedly objected to FBI Director James Comey's decision to notify Congress about renewing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Comey told lawmakers the bureau is investigating new emails related to the Clinton investigation after FBI officials obtained electronic devices shared by former Rep. Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife and Clinton top aide, Huma Abedin.

According to The Washington Post, senior Justice Department officials said Comey's decision to notify Congress is not consistent with long-standing practices of the department.

The officials told the FBI "we don't comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don't take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election."

"Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership," the official said. "It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it."

Lynch's objection reached Comey hours before the director sent a letter to lawmakers, USA Today reports. An official told the publication that Lynch was standing by long-held Justice Department policy that federal authorities should not take any action that may interfere with an election.

Shortly after sending the letter to Congress, Comey released a memo explaining his decision to FBI employees that said he felt "an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed."

"Of course, we don't ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record," Comey wrote.

Clinton's campaign is criticizing the FBI, as there could be significant fallout for her campaign. Campaign Chairman John Podesta told reporters Comey's letter to Congress about the new emails was "long on innuendo" and "short on facts."

"There's no evidence of wrongdoing," he said. "No charge of wrongdoing. No indication this is even about Hillary."

Comey has suggested that the new discovery is "pertinent" to the Clinton email investigation, but did not explain how.

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