DOJ to Review FBI’s Handling of Clinton Email Probe

The Department of Justice IG has announced his office will be reviewing how the FBI handled its inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email use around the time of the presidential election.

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General announced today that his office intends to review how the FBI handled its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email use ahead of the 2016 election.

Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that the review was being launched in response to requests from “numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public…regarding certain actions by the Department of Justice (Department) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in advance of the 2016 election.”

Among the items the IG intends to review include:

  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations
  • Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters
  • Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information
  • Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations

A Contentious Situation

The events surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server have generated much debate on both sides of the political aisle.

Even after the FBI announced in July it would not be recommending any charges in the case, House Republicans almost immediately demanded more information as to why the recommendation was made. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), one of the Congressman who made the request at the time, hasn’t given up, saying just this week that he vows to continue the investigation into Clinton’s email case. Chaffetz said today in a tweet, “I support the Inspector General’s review of what happened at the #DOJ and #FBI during the Clinton investigation.”

In October, FBI director James Comey made a surprising announcement that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s use of email, a move that surprised many just 11 days ahead of the presidential election. However, Comey said just a few days later on November 6 that the FBI found no additional information that would warrant any charges against Clinton and subsequently stood by its initial decision not to press charges.

Case Closed?

That wasn’t the end of the story, however.

Comey’s actions stirred debate as to whether or not he violated the Hatch Act by reopening the FBI investigation so close to the presidential election. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) was one lawmaker who contended that Comey was in violation of the Hatch Act.

After the election, Hillary Clinton blamed her loss, in part, on Comey’s letter that was sent so close to the November election date.

As mentioned previously, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has said he planned to continue the investigation.

And now, the Justice Department’s IG has obviously taken an interest in the situation.

Comey said in a statement in response to news of the pending investigation that he is “grateful” for the IG review:

I am grateful to the Department of Justice’s IG for taking on this review. He is professional and independent and the FBI will cooperate fully with him and his office. I hope very much he is able to share his conclusions and observations with the public because everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this matter.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.