By Miriam Raftery
October 29,2016 (Washington D.C.)—FBI Director James Comey has notified Congress that it is renewing its investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of e-mails on a private server.
The action comes after emails were found on a computer shared by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her estranged husband, ex-Congressman Anthony Wiener. Huma had used the computer to send e-mails to Clinton. The computer was seized as part of an investigation into Wiener for allegedly sexting a teenage girl. It is unclear whether any of the emails were sent by Clinton, or whether they are new or duplicates of e-mails already examined before an earlier probe was dismissed, or if any contained classified material.
Both Democratic and Congressional leaders have called on Comey and on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to promptly provide further disclosure and clarity.
The FBI investigates and makes recommendations, but ultimately decisions on whether to prosecute are up to the Justice Department headed up by Lynch.
Some have suggested the FBI acted improperly by reopening the case just 10 days before the presidential election. The Department of Justice reportedly sought to discourage the announcement; a 2012 DOJ memorandum to contact the department’s public integrity section when faced with questions about timing of investigative steps or charges close to a primary or general election. Comey ignored that guideline.
Legal ethics expert Stephen Gillers at New York University School of Law told the Washington Post, “The FBI’s job is to gather information for and make a recommendation to DOJ lawyers, not to hold press conferences and characterize the evidence. Tolerating that conduct from an FBI director sets a terrible precedent.”
Clinton campaign chair John Podesta called Comey’s announcement “long on innuendo and short on facts” adding, ““There’s no evidence of wrongdoing, no charge of wrongdoing, no indication that this is even about Hillary.”
Republican nominee Donald Trump, Clinton’s rival, speculated on whether any deleted e-mails could be among those found. He added that he is hopeful that “justice”can be properly delivered.”