- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 3, 2016

The FBI is conducting an internal investigation after one of its Twitter accounts recently directed users toward documents related to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton days before either is elected U.S. president.

The account, @FBIRecordsVault, was dormant for over a year prior to Sunday when it linked to documents concerning the Republican candidate’s father, Fred C. Trump. Two two days, the later announced the release of FBI documents involving the Clinton Foundation, the organization overseen by the Democratic nominee for president and her family.

An automated procedure resulted in the documents being uploaded to the FBI’s website and posted to Twitter, the bureau said Tuesday, but is investigating the sudden activity after receiving a complaint filed by Jonathan Hutson, a former investigative reporter.

“These biased tweets have fueled a growing public perception that the FBI has gone rogue and is not faithfully living up to its values of integrity and impartiality. And there is public concern that FBI officials may be violating the Hatch Act,” Mr. Hutson wrote the FBI, referring to the federal law that prohibits executive branch officials abusing their authority in order to interfere in elections.

“While the Bureau would like to represent this as business as usual, it is not just business. And it is not usual. The Bureau employees in charge of the account must have known what they were doing was wrong because at the same time, they tweeted the Bureau’s ethics guidelines which forbid FBI employees from influencing or affecting the outcome of an election,” Mr. Hutson told The Washington Times on Thursday.

Candice Will, assistant director to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said the matter was being referred to the bureau’s Inspection Division for investigation, according to an email seen by the Times and first reported by Think Progress on Thursday. The assistant director of the FBI’s Inspection Division, Nancy McNamara, confirmed receiving the complaint and said the results of the investigation will eventually be presented back to Ms. Will’s office for adjudication, the email said.

The FBI’s recent Twitter activity occurred in the midst of a backlash brought against its director, James Comey, in the wake of announcing last week that the bureau was reviewing emails that may be related to its probe of a private server used by Mrs. Clinton while secretary of state. Mr. Comey broke from bureau tradition by announcing action concerning a presidential candidate so close to an election, and in doing so drew ire from Democrats backing Mrs. Clinton’s White House bid.

“I am writing to inform you that my office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, wrote in a letter to Mr. Comey last week. “Through your partisan actions, you may have broken the law.”

Attempts to reach the FBI for comment Thursday were not immediately successful. 

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