The U.S. Justice Department says it will probe a Federal Bureau of Investigation decision to announce it was reopening an inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s emails shortly before the November presidential election, a move the Democrat has blamed as a factor in her defeat.
Reuters reports the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General says its probe would focus in part on decisions leading up to public statements by FBI Director James Comey regarding the Clinton investigation and whether underlying investigative decisions may have been based on “improper considerations.”
Although the FBI ultimately decided not to refer Clinton’s case for prosecution, Comey aroused suspicion that may have diminished trust in Clinton among voters.
The FBI and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
The controversy involved Clinton’s use of a private email server for official correspondence when she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama, including for messages that were later determined to contain classified information. Comey publicly announced the status of the agency’s investigation into Clinton’s emails two times in 2016.
Asked about the probe, the White House said the review, like any by a government inspector general, was an independent decision.
Trump, who will be sworn in Jan. 20, will not have the power to dismiss the probe. But it is within presidential authority to appoint or dismiss inspectors general for federal agencies.