FBI Director James Comey diverged from Justice Department protocol when he decided to send a letter to Congress announcing the bureau had found emails "pertinent" to its previous investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server and that it would be reviewing the messages. The New Yorker reported early Saturday that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had advised Comey to maintain the department's "longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise."
Comey insisted he had promised members of Congress he would keep them updated, and said that the upcoming election made it all the more important to inform the public. However, in a letter to Congress, Comey admitted the FBI did not "know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails," and noted he did not "want to create a misleading impression." At a press conference in July, Comey announced he would not recommend criminal charges in connection to Clinton's email investigation.
As an employee of the Justice Department, Comey's announcement appears to contradict a memo sent by former Attorney General Eric Holder in March 2012 advising department employees to be "particularly sensitive" about investigations happening "near the time of a primary or general election."
A former senior Justice Department official told The New Yorker, "you don't do this" because it "impugns the integrity and reputation of the candidate, even though there's no finding by a court, or in this instance even an indictment." "It's aberrational," the former official said. "It violates decades of practice."