The New York Times takes a detailed look at how FBI director James Comey handled the politically charged investigation of Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails. When he announced last October that he was reopening a probe that had been closed in July, Comey told FBI colleagues that he could not let politics affect his decision, saying, “If we ever start considering who might be affected, and in what way, by what we do, we’re done.” Yet Comey did not say that the FBI also was investigating the campaign of Donald Trump. Only in March, long after the election, did Comey confirm that there was one.
Comey handled the two investigations in “starkly different ways,” the Times says. In the Clinton case, “he rewrote the script, partly based on the FBI’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her.” In Trump’s case, he conducted the investigation “by the book, with the FBI’s traditional secrecy.” The newspaper says Comey’s strategy was shaped by his distrust of senior officials at the main Justice Department, who he and colleagues believed had provided Clinton with political cover. “This was unique in the history of the FBI,” said former bureau official Michael Steinbach. “People say, ‘This has never been done before.’ Well, there never was a before. Or ‘That’s not normally how you do it.’ There wasn’t anything normal about this.”