Deep divisions inside the FBI and the Justice Department over how to handle investigations dealing with Hillary Clinton will probably fester even after Tuesday’s election and pose a significant test for James Comey’s leadership, the Washington Post reports. The internal dissension exploded into public view with leaks about a feud over the Clinton Foundation, an extraordinary airing of the agency’s infighting that comes as the bureau deals with an ongoing threat of terror at home and a newly aggressive posture from Russia. Comey is direct fire for his decision to tell Congress that agents were resuming their investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server, a revelation that put him at odds with his Justice Department bosses and influenced the presidential campaign.
“He’s got to get control of the ship again,” said Robert Anderson, a former senior official in the FBI who considers Comey a friend. “There’s a lot of tension in the organization, and there’s a lot of tension in Congress and the Senate right now, and all that counts toward how much people trust the FBI.” Comey has been under fire fom lawmakers in both parties and even President Obama for his decision to inform Congress of the new developments in the email probe just 11 days before Election Day. Yesterday, insiders said Comey had learned three weeks earlier of the discovery of new emails potentially relevant to the case, but did not take action to resume the email probe until he was formally briefed last week. Clinton notably declined to say whether, if elected, she would ask the FBI director to resign. Comey was confirmed to a 10-year term in September 2013. While the law allows a president to remove an FBI director, the step is rarely taken out of respect for the independence of the position. President Bill Clinton removed Director William Sessions in 1993 amid allegations of ethical improprieties.