Watch­dog to probe FBI’s ac­tions be­fore elec­tion

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NATION/WORLD - By KEN THOMAS

WASH­ING­TON — In yet an­other after­shock from the chaotic pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, the Jus­tice De­part­ment in­spec­tor gen­eral opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion Thurs­day into de­part­ment and FBI ac­tions be­fore the elec­tion, in­clud­ing whether FBI Direc­tor James Comey fol­lowed es­tab­lished poli­cies in the email in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Democrats have blamed Comey’s han­dling of the in­quiry into Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate email server, and his late-Oc­to­ber pub­lic let­ter about the case, in part for her loss to Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump.

Work­ers are now putting fi­nal touches on prepa­ra­tions for next week’s In­au­gu­ra­tion Day fes­tiv­i­ties, and the new probe will not change the elec­tion re­sults. But it re­vives ques­tions of whether the FBI took ac­tions that might have in­flu­enced the out­come.

In­spec­tor Gen­eral Michael Horowitz, the de­part­ment’s in­ter­nal watch­dog, will di­rect the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which comes in response to re­quests from mem­bers of Congress and the pub­lic.

Comey said he would co­op­er­ate fully with the in­spec­tor gen­eral.

“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,” he said in a state­ment.

Robby Mook, who served as Clin­ton’s cam­paign man­ager, said it had raised con­cerns when Comey com­mented on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and said the re­lease of his let­ters in the days be­fore the elec­tion was “ex­tremely de­struc­tive and ended up amount­ing to noth­ing what­so­ever.”

“It’s a trou­bling pat­tern that the FBI seems to have cho­sen a horse in this elec­tion, and we wel­come this in­ves­ti­ga­tion so this doesn’t hap­pen again,” Mook said.

Dur­ing a Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee brief­ing on Rus­sian hack­ing, Comey was pressed by law­mak­ers of his han­dling of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Comey “de­fended it very well … he put the facts out there, and hind­sight be­ing 20/20, he said th­ese are the facts I had to deal with, and th­ese are the de­ci­sions I made, I’m sorry if some­one takes of­fense.”

“He ex­plained to us that he was faced with two de­ci­sions — one with very bad con­se­quences and the other with dis­as­trous con­se­quences,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.

As­so­ci­ated Press

FBI Direc­tor James Comey tes­ti­fies Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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