FBI email disclosure broke a pattern followed even this summer

The New York Times reports: The F.B.I. and Justice Department faced a hard decision in two investigations this past summer that had the potential to rock the presidential election. The first case involved Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and secretive business dealings in Ukraine. The second focused on Hillary Clinton’s relationships with donors to her family foundation.

At the urging of the Justice Department, the F.B.I. agreed not to issue subpoenas or take other steps that would make the cases public so close to the election, according to federal law enforcement officials.

Against this backdrop, the decision of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to send a letter to Congress last week about a renewed inquiry concerning Mrs. Clinton’s emails is not just a departure from longstanding policy; it has plunged the F.B.I. and the Justice Department directly into the election, precisely what Justice officials were trying to avoid.

Mr. Comey’s letter, which he sent over the objections of the Justice Department, stirred outrage across party lines. It unleashed a torrent of news that laid bare the government’s internal deliberations and exposed the infighting and occasional mistrust between rank-and-file F.B.I. agents and senior department officials.

Since Mr. Comey’s revelation, the F.B.I. has hurried to analyze a cache of emails belonging to one of Mrs. Clinton’s aides, Huma Abedin. It is increasingly unlikely that the review will be complete by Election Day, F.B.I. officials said, although they said there was a chance they could offer updates before Nov. 8.

The mood at the F.B.I. is dark, and nobody is willing to predict what the coming days will bring, particularly if agents and analysts do not complete their review of Ms. Abedin’s emails by Election Day. Officials said it would take something extraordinary to change the conclusion that nobody should be charged. But the absence of information has allowed festering speculation that the emails must be significant. [Continue reading…]

ThinkProgress reports: Tuesday afternoon, the FBI Records Vault Twitter account abruptly shared records “from the FBI’s files related to the William J. Clinton Foundation” on Twitter. The 129 pages of heavily redacted documents appear to pertain mostly to “a 2001 FBI investigation into the pardon of Marc Rich,” which was closed in 2005 without any finding of wrongdoing.

Though some of the records portray Bill Clinton in a less than flattering light, the documents released Tuesday reportedly contain little new information. Eyebrows were raised, however, by the Bureau’s decision to share them just seven days before Election Day and at the same time controversy is swirling around FBI Director James Comey’s decision to resurrect the Hillary Clinton email case. (Though he was appointed by President Obama, Comey told Congress this summer that he has been a registered Republican “for most of his adult life.”) [Continue reading…]

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