Washington: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has accused the US Justice Department of protecting his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in her email probe.
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) is trying so hard to protect Hillary,” said Trump on Saturday at a rally in Colorado over media reports that DOJ had warned the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against announcing less than two weeks before the Election Day the finding of new emails that appeared to be linked to the FBI’s Clinton email probe completed in July, Xinhua news agency reported.
(Also Read: Hillary Clinton slams FBI chief’s email probe)
According to the US daily The Hill which cited US government sources, the DOJ did not agree with FBI Director James Comey’s decision to inform the Congress of the existence of possibly new emails linked to Clinton’s email probe at the moment.
“The AG’s (attorney general) position is consistent with the department’s position not to take investigative steps that would influence an election so close to an election and to not comment on ongoing investigations,” the official told The Hill.
“Director Comey decided to operate independently of that guidance by sending that letter to the Hill,” the official added.
Comey said in a letter sent to the US Congress on Friday that new emails had emerged recently that appeared to be linked to the FBI’s Clinton email probe completed in July.
“I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation,” said Comey in the letter.
However, Comey said the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant”, adding that he could not predict how long it would take investigators to complete the “additional work”.
The Clinton campaign on Friday afternoon issued a statement urging the FBI to provide the public more information than is contained in the letter sent to the Congress.
“Already, we have seen characterizations that the FBI is ‘reopening’ an investigation but Comey’s words do not match that characterization,” said John Podesta, chairman of the Clinton campaign in a statement.
The controversy surrounding Clinton’s email practices again burst into public view in August 2015 after the inspector general for the intelligence community revealed that two of the thousands of emails held by Clinton contained top-secret information.