(WASHINGTON) — A former Justice Department spokesman believes FBI Director James Comey violated agency protocol by revealing that the agency discovered a new batch of emails potentially connected to Hillary Clinton’s private email server less than two weeks before the election.
“I don’t think he’s trying to swing the election to [Donald] Trump, but I think he decided to do this and didn’t care if it would have an impact on the election,” said Matt Miller, a Democrat and former DOJ spokesman, in an interview with ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on their Powerhouse Politics podcast.
Democrats — most notably Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — have accused Comey of violating the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting federal employees from participating in an election, with his letter to Congress Friday revealing the new emails.
In a Washington Post editorial, former Attorney General Eric Holder said Comey broke with department policy of not taking actions close to Election Day, and that his actions “ran counter” to guidance he instituted four years ago for ongoing investigations during election season.
Miller suggested the FBI should “quickly assess” the new tranche of emails and “present to the public some kind of accounting of what the FBI knows and what it doesn’t,” as investigators’ work could extend well beyond the election.
ABC News reporter Mike Levine, who covers the day-to-day workings of the Justice Department, said investigators are now combing through the email tranche, examining them all for classified information.
In examining the emails of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, they will also have to determine whether anyone knew they were sending classified information if any is indeed present in the emails.
“There’s still a lot of steps to go before this is resolved,” Levine said.
While Comey has taken heat for his comments from Democrats and Republicans, “Everyone in the FBI I have talked to on this says they are not aware of any agent that actually worked on this case that felt Comey didn’t make the right decision,” Levine said.
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