HILLARY Clinton slammed former FBI director James Comey — who investigated her use of a private email server on government business — for using a personal email to conduct FBI business.
“But my emails,” Clinton tweeted — playing off the “but her emails” refrain routinely invoked by conservatives who said Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State precluded her from the White House.
According to the New York Post, Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz revealed in a report on Thursday that Comey used a personal Gmail account to conduct agency business on five occasions — a direct violation of regulations.
But my emails. https://t.co/G7TIWDEG0p— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 14, 2018
Comey investigated Clinton’s use of the email server, closed the probe, and then reopened it 11 days before the 2016 presidential election after some of her emails were found on a computer belonging to disgraced politician Anthony Weiner, whose wife Huma Abedin worked on Clinton’s campaign.
COMEY AT FAULT IN CLINTON PROBE
The Justice Department’s watchdog — inspector general Michael E. Horowitz — has found fault with former FBI Director James Comey for breaking with established protocol in his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, but it says his decisions before the 2016 elections were not driven by political bias, according to a person familiar with the findings.
The report from the inspector general also criticises Comey for not keeping his superiors at the Justice Department, including then-Attorney-General Loretta Lynch, properly informed about his handling of the investigation, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity prior to the report being released.
The report represents the culmination of an 18-month review into one of the most consequential FBI investigations in recent history and was expected to criticise the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, while examining how a nonpartisan law enforcement agency became entangled in the 2016 presidential race.
The IG’s criticism of Mr Comey’s actions was first reported by Bloomberg.
US President Donald Trump is looking to the report to provide a fresh line of attack against Mr Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, as he claims that a politically tainted bureau tried to undermine his campaign and, through the later Russia investigation, his presidency.
Mr Trump is certain to try to use the report to validate his firing of Mr Comey last year.
But the report could do more to back Democratic claims that the FBI actually contributed to Mr Trump’s victory, most notably by reopening in the final days of the race its investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information.
That development unfolded as Mr Trump’s own campaign — unbeknown at the time to the American public — also came under FBI investigation for possible co-ordination with Russia.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, a former federal prosecutor appointed by President Barack Obama, prepared the report.
Supporters from both parties regard him as apolitical.
The Clinton report will examine key actions by FBI leaders, including Mr Comey’s decision to publicly announce in July 2016 his recommendation against criminal charges for Mrs Clinton, and his disclosure to Congress days before the election that the investigation was being revived because of newly discovered emails.
An earlier inspector general report criticised Mr McCabe and led to his firing on allegations that he misled internal investigators about his role in a news media disclosure. He denies those charges.
Though Mr Trump has repeatedly lambasted FBI leaders as politically biased against him, the inspector general’s report — no matter how critical — was unlikely to endorse that conclusion, especially since some of the actions being examined broke from protocol in ways that may have harmed Mrs Clinton.
Mr Comey’s news conference in the summer of 2016 disclosing the investigation’s conclusion was unusual since charging announcements are normally made by the Justice Department, not the FBI.
Cases that end without charges are rarely discussed publicly.
In this instance, Mr Comey said that though the FBI found Mrs Clinton and her aides to be “extremely careless” in handling classified material, “no reasonable prosecutor” could have brought a case against her.
Also investigated by the IG was Mr Comey’s decision, against the recommendation of the Justice Department, to reveal to Congress that the FBI was reopening the email investigation following the discovery of additional messages.
The FBI obtained a warrant nine days before the presidential election to review those emails, found on the laptop of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, but ultimately determined there was nothing in them that changed its original conclusion.
Officials from Justice and FBI are expected to testify about the report before congressional committees next week, including the House Judiciary Committee, which has been doing its own investigation into the Clinton probe.
In an opinion piece by James Comey published on Thursday for the New York Times, Mr Comey said he did not agree with all of the IG’s findings, but respects its work and confirms that the report “resoundingly demonstrates that there was no prosecutable case against Mrs. Clinton, as we had concluded.”