The Inspector General of the Justice Department announced Thursday that he’s investigating the way FBI handled probing into Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server during the election campaign.
Democrats have argued that Comey played a role in swinging the election in Trump’s favor by his action during the Presidential election campaign. The decision to probe his actions revived the arguments of the Democrats. James Comey is also at the center of events with his involvement in the most sensitive story at the moment; briefing the President-elect about allegations that Russia has compromising information on him.
The probing by the Inspector General will focus on public disclosures by James Comey. It will also investigate whether James Comey followed the protocols of FBI and Justice Department when he made a public statement about why the Bureau wouldn’t pursue criminal charges against Clinton. It was in that statement; Mr. Comey said Clinton was “extremely careless” in her handling of emails.
The probe will also focus on the public letter sent to the members of Congress by Comey claiming FBI had discovered new emails potentially linked to Clinton’s email server probe. Although the FBI announced later that it wouldn’t change its July recommendations, Democrats argue that the damage had been done already.
Democrats are disappointed, but they see a ray of hope with this probe that their argument could be proved.
The question of Comey’s resignation is surfacing, but he hasn’t indicated any plan to do so. He, for his part, welcomed the investigation and said:
“Everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this matter.”
Other political firestorms are engulfing the FBI director. Comey responded to the inconsistencies of his responses during different investigations in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee this week. Comey neither confirmed nor negated reports that FBI has been probing potential contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, arguing that a pending investigation can’t be confirmed or denied, especially in a public forum.
Sen. Angus King replied incredulously, “The irony of your making that statement here, I cannot avoid.”
Mr. King is an independent who caucuses with Democrats played with the fact that Comey acted differently during Clinton’s email server probe. Comey reiterated that he spoke about the issue when the investigation into Clinton’s email server was closed.
Although Comey wasn’t alone in deciding to provide a two-page synopsis to President-elect Trump of an unsubstantiated report alleging that Russia had compromising financial and personal information about Trump, it is said that he was the one who briefed the President-elect one-on-one on the sensitive issue last Friday.
The decision to brief the President-elect – and provide the same document to President Obama – has come under criticism. Mike Morell, former CIA acting director, called it “unprecedented” and said that he was “a bit surprised that our intelligence community would take a private document and summarize it for the President and President-elect if they didn’t know anything about the credibility of the information in it.”
Trump has lambasted the information as “totally made-up facts by sleazebag political operatives.”