DOJ watchdog launches probe into handling of Clinton email investigation

FBI Director James Comey testified at a hearing convened by Republican lawmakers about the agency's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

FBI Director James Comey testified at a hearing convened by Republican lawmakers about the agency's investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog announced Thursday it has launched a probe into the department and the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The announcement, which was expected, comes after criticism of the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation, particularly on how the public was notified about the controversy, which was a major issue on the 2016 campaign trail.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said the decision to initiate a review was prompted by requests from numerous members of Congress and public inquiries.

Horowitz’s office said the review will examine several allegations, including that DOJ or FBI policies were not followed when FBI Director James Comey publicly stated last July that his bureau would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton; that DOJ and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information; and that the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act requests right before the election was improper.

The White House said Thursday it wasn’t involved in the decision to investigate.

“Decisions that are made by inspectors general across the administration are independent, and this administration has assiduously protected the independence of inspectors general,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing.

A message left with Clinton’s office was not immediately returned.