Inspector General to Review DOJ, FBI Actions Leading Up to Election
The Department of Justice’s Inspector General announced Thursday that he will be initiating a review of whether top DOJ and FBI officials followed policies and procedures in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
After receiving numerous requests from Congress, various organizations and citizens alike, Inspector General Michael Horowitz has launched “a review of allegations regarding certain actions,” primarily revolving around the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.
Though many early reports focused primarily on FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute letters to Congress and their potential impact on the election, Horowitz’ announcement includes a range of concerns covering both sides of the political spectrum. He identified five key areas of review, with the note that, “if circumstances warrant, the [Office of Inspector General] will consider other issues that may arise.”
Among the matters to be investigated:
- Comey’s public announcement on July 5, 2016 — where he recommended the DOJ take no action against Clinton, even after explaining that Clinton and her aides had sent classified information over an unclassified personal server, that her lawyers had deleted evidence in an attempt to “preclude complete forensic recovery,” and that it was possible “hostile actors” had gained access to her email account. Comey also said that different individuals in “similar circumstances … are often subject to security or administrative sanctions.”
- Comey’s letters to Congress on Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. The first of which announced the re-opening of the Clinton email investigation based on discoveries made on Anthony Weiner’s computer, the second letter reported that nothing was found on the computer that would change the July 5 recommendation not to prosecute. According to Democrats, the last minute letters made much ado out of nothing, left a sour taste in the mouth of voters and handed the election to Donald Trump.
- FBI Deputy Director Andrew McNabe’s participation in the Clinton’s email investigation — a possible conflict of interest, given that his wife received almost $500,000 in donations from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of the Clinton family.
- Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs Peter Kadzik’s possible conflict of interest, as well as his alleged disclosure of non-public information to officials of Clinton’s campaign.
- The timing of an FBI Twitter account releasing dozens of tweets, including one with information on Donald Trump’s father and another resurfacing a 15-year old investigation of the Clinton Foundation.
It’s also worth noting that Inspector General Horowitz uses the phrase “actions leading up to or related to” Comey’s July 5 announcement. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s secret and suspicious tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, the husband of the investigation target, took place June 29. Hillary Clinton herself was interviewed by FBI agents a few days later. Andrew C. McCarthy, among others, has questioned whether the FBI followed proper procedures in the interview, including their decision to allow longtime aide Cheryl Mills to attend, even though she was a witness and potential investigation target herself.
To read the Inspector General’s press release for yourself, please click here.