The highest-ranking Democratic senator has accused FBI Director James Comey of violating a federal law by sending the letter to lawmakers Friday regarding Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may have violated the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election,” wrote Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the Senate Minority Leader, who will be retiring after his term ends in 2016.
“Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be clear intent to aid one party over another.”
Reid wrote that whereas Comey possesses “explosive information” about “close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his close advisers, and the Russian government … you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information. By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative way possible.”
Moreover, wrote Reid, Comey published the information over the objections of the Justice Department “eleven days before a presidential election, despite the fact that for all you know, the information you possess could be entirely duplicative of the information you already examined which exonerated Secretary Clinton.”
Reid was referencing news reports that indicated that Comey had not yet read the emails in question, as the FBI had not obtained a warrant to review the emails, which it obtained from a laptop involved in an unrelated investigation.
“The clear double-standard established by your actions strongly suggests that your highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group,” wrote Reid.
Later Sunday afternoon, NBC News reported that the warrant was issued.