WASHINGTON: The FBI director’s making public a new trove of emails connected to Hillary Clinton on Friday departed from decisions in recent months to keep quiet two separate investigations, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
James Comey has come under fierce criticism for his letter informing Congress about the bureau’s decision to effectively reopen an inquiry into the Democratic presidential candidate’s emails after a new trove of hundreds of thousands of emails were apparently found on a laptop taken from Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin, in a separate inquiry.
“Those emails should be reviewed because they could be relevant to an earlier probe into Clinton’s use of a private server to send emails while she was secretary of state.” Comey said in his letter.
His decision departed from longstanding policy not to publicize investigations that had the possibility of affecting major elections.
They included a probe last summer into Republican nominee Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his secretive business dealings in Ukraine, and another investigation into Clinton’s relationships with donors to her family’s foundation, the Times reported.
“Against that backdrop, Comey’s letter has plunged the FBI and the Justice Department directly into the election, precisely what Justice officials were trying to avoid,” the paper said.
FBI agents are currently racing to review the new batch of emails in search of potentially incriminating evidence in their high-pressure probe before the election on November 8.
However, it is increasingly unlikely the FBI will complete its email review before Election Day, officials said, adding that they may offer updates before then.
The impact of the FBI’s bombshell discovery is already reverberating in the neck-and-neck race for the White House, with the latest poll on Tuesday showing Republican nominee Donald Trump edging ahead of Clinton for the first time since May.-APP