Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates objected to FBI Director James Comey's decision to announce Friday there was new evidence that could raise more questions about Hillary Clinton's private email server, according to sources close to the Obama administration and Justice Department.
According to CNN, both Lynch and Yates objected, but Comey disregarded their wishes and sent the letter Friday anyway, shaking the presidential race 11 days before the election
According to CNN, both Lynch and Yates objected, but Comey disregarded their wishes and sent the letter Friday anyway, shaking the presidential race 11 days before the election and nearly four months after the FBI chief said he wouldn't recommend criminal charges over the Democratic nominee's use of the server.
And Lynch said she did not want Comey to break the department's practice of refusing comment on ongoing investigations, another administration official told the publication, or to take action that could influence the November election, but Comey reported he felt compelled to report the discovery specifically because of the impending election.
Breaking the practice, the Justice Department official said, "impugns the integrity and reputation of the candidate, even though there's no finding by a court, or in this instance even an indictment."
The Justice Department has long advised prosecutors and law enforcement officials to avoid appearances that it was interfering in elections, including holding off on filing charges on present cases.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder four years ago sent a memo to Justice Department employees, notes The New Yorker, warning that officials "must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department's reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship," notes The New Yorker, and said employees facing questions about the timing of charges should consult with officials first.
Matthew Miller, who was the public affairs director under Comey, told The New Yorker that in one case, the department waited to subpoena witnesses, but waited because of a pending election.
"People may think that the public needs to have this information before voting, but the thing is the public doesn't really get the information," said Miller. "What it gets is an impression that may be false, because they have no way to evaluate it. The public always assumes when it hears that the F.B.I. is investigating that there must be something amiss. But there may be nothing here at all. That's why you don't do this."
Friday's letter to House Republicans wasn't Comey's only "original sin," said Miller — that happened in July, when he announced the FBI found no reason to file criminal charges against Clinton, comments that came without a sign off from the Justice Department.
His announcement brought other events, including congressional hearings where Comey defended his decision, and scorn from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, who until Friday had used the decision to add to his "Crooked Hillary" arguments.
Comey himself told Congress in his letter that ordinarily, the FBI would not comment about an ongoing investigation, but in this case, he felt "an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed."
On Friday, Clinton called on the FBI to release the "full and complete facts" about the review, reports CNN, as "voting is underway, so the American people deserve to get the full and complete facts immediately…[it is] imperative that the bureau explain this issue in question, whatever it is, without any delay."
She also said she does not think the emails will change the conclusion Comey reached in July.
GOP nominee Donald Trump reacted to the news, however, by declaring Clinton's "corruption" as being "a scale we've never seen before," during a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire and insisting "we must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office."
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