Attorney General Loretta Lynch and senior officials at the U.S. Department of Justice reportedly made it “abundantly clear” to FBI Director James Comey that they didn’t want him to inform Congress of the agency’s relaunched investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email use.
Lynch objected to the disclosure and urged him to follow DOJ protocol to avoid actions that could influence the outcome of a presidential election, ABC News reported, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.
Comey didn’t listen.
The Hillary Clinton campaign was blindsided on Friday by the letter Comey sent to Congress, which revealed new emails had been uncovered that appear to be “pertinent” to their investigation. The new evidence was reportedly found during the FBI’s investigation into disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal. Officials seized electronic devices belonging to Weiner and his wife, longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Read the letter Comey sent to lawmakers below:
The FBI director is an employee of the Justice Department, therefore, he surely knew directly defying Lynch would be a bold — and even risky — move.
An unidentified source told ABC News some officials felt the disclosure was uncalled for because “no one knows if “there is any ‘there’ there” yet. Comey argued he felt an obligation to inform Congress because he had testified that the investigation had been completed.
The Clinton campaign has attempted to put the burden onto the FBI to disclose more information on the materials they are examining.
“It’s extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said in a statement. “The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different f rom the one the FBI reached in July.”
Clinton echoed Podesta’s statement the day before, claiming she had no idea what new information the FBI might be reviewing.
“Right now, your guess is as good as mine — and I don’t think that’s good enough,” she told reporters during a late press conference on Friday.
Clinton faces fresh scrutiny over her controversial private email use just 11 days from Election Day.