Watchdog report blames Comey for slow-walking Clinton probe before election

DCNFChris White, DCNF

Federal officials are expected to criticize former FBI Director James Comey for delaying a review of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails two weeks prior to the election, The Associated Press reported Monday.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Clinton supporters blamed Comey’s announcement of a review of emails discovered before the election for her loss. The FBI’s review in November and subsequent decision not to pursue criminal charges against Clinton were disclosed two days before voters were set to make their decision.

Agency officials knew in September 2016 of the emails, but the bureau did not obtain a warrant until a month later, according to an inspector general report from the Justice Department. Democrats believe Clinton’s chances would have improved had the FBI acted quicker.

The IG report is expected to hit Comey and others in the agency for not moving fast enough to examine the trove of emails on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop, sources  familiar with the matter told The AP on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the report.

The FBI discovered Clinton’s emails while conducting an investigation into Weiner’s contact with an under-aged girl in September 2016. The email probe, which had been closed in July 2016, was reopened on Oct. 28. It was closed again on Nov. 6 — two days before the election — after FBI officials determined none of the emails on the laptop would warrant criminal charges.

Comey wrote in his book, “A Higher Loyalty,”  that he learned in early October, not September, Weiner’s laptop might hold a connection to the Clinton email investigation. It wasn’t until Oct. 27 when FBI officials asked his permission to seek a warrant for the Clinton emails, Comey said.

He regained some of his standing among Democrats shortly after President Donald Trump fired the former FBI director.

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