U.S. Justice Dept eyes spring to release
findings on FBI handling of Clinton email probe
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[November 16, 2017]
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The internal
watchdog at the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday he hopes to
complete his review by early spring into whether the Federal Bureau of
Investigation erred when it announced it was reopening its investigation
into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's emails ahead of the 2016
"We have interviewed dozens of people. We are not at the 100 level yet,
but we're in the dozens range. We've reviewed about 1.2 million records
in the course of the investigation," Justice Department Inspector
General Michael Horowitz said, in testimony before a U.S. House of
"We are aiming to release the report in late winter/early spring, so
hopefully in that March-April time period."
After a deluge of congressional requests, Horowitz's office earlier this
year announced it would review the pre-election decision-making at the
At the heart of the review is whether former FBI Director James Comey
improperly made a series of public statements about the status of the
bureau's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server for
official correspondence while she was Secretary of State.
Comey, who was fired in May by U.S. President Donald Trump, had also led
an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to
influence the 2016 election.
The FBI does not typically discuss its investigations publicly.
In the case of Clinton, however, Comey decided in July 2016 to hold a
press conference and explain why the FBI had declined to refer Clinton
for prosecution. He said at the time her actions were careless, but did
not rise to criminal behavior.
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A general view of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) building
in Washington, U.S. May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Comey in October 2016 sent Congress a letter saying the FBI needed
to re-open its investigation after it uncovered new emails on the
computer of former Representative Anthony Weiner, who had been
married to one Clinton's top aides.
Then on Nov. 6, 2016 - two days before the presidential election -
Comey said the FBI had not uncovered any new evidence.
Comey's various public disclosures stirred a lot of controversy with
some questioning whether he had violated the Hatch Act, which bars
government employees from interfering with U.S. elections.
Republicans have also complained about why former U.S. Attorney
General Loretta Lynch did not recuse herself from the matter after
it was revealed she had met with former President Bill Clinton on
board a plane while the investigation was still ongoing.
The issues have recently prompted a handful of committees in the
Republican-led U.S. Congress to open their own reviews into the same
set of facts being probed by Horowitz's office.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, editing by G Crosse)
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