The Department of Justice's internal watchdog announced on Jan. 12 it will investigate both the DOJ and the FBI for their handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email scandal.
According to The Huffington Post, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz will look into the following:
- Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations;
- Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters;
- Allegations that the Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters;
- Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information; and
- Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the internal watchdog's decision was not influenced by the Obama administration.
"Decisions that are made by inspectors general across the administration are independent, and this administration has assiduously protected the independence of inspectors general," Earnest said, according to CNN.
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But since Horowitz's tenure in the DOJ ends when President Barack Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the timing of the announcement sparks questions.
"There is a tradition that some presidents allow some inspector generals to stay on and complete. One of the questions that [Trump's nominee for attorney general] Jeff Sessions will surely be asked now ... is will he allow this investigation to continue? Will they appoint a new inspector general?" Toobin said.