Comey makes a decision above his authority: FBI Director Comey Preempts Justice Department By Advising No Charges for Hillary Clinton
Alex Emmons reports in The Intercept:
FBI Director James Comey took the unprecedented step of publicly preempting a Justice Department prosecution when he declared at a press conference Tuesday that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.
The FBI’s job is to investigate crimes; it is Justice Department prosecutors who are supposed to decide whether or not to move forward. But in a case that had enormous political implications, Comey decided the FBI would act on its own.
“Although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case,” he said. Prosecutors could technically still file criminal charges, but it would require them to publicly disagree with their own investigators.
One of Comey’s likely motivations was avoiding the appearance that Department of Justice lawyers had biased the investigation due to their desire to avoid prosecuting a major party’s presidential nominee. He repeatedly assured the audience that “no outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.” Comey’s announcement also satisfied the public’s desire for a resolution sooner rather than later.
But Matthew Miller, who was a spokesman for the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder, called Comey’s press conference an “absolutely unprecedented, appalling, and a flagrant violation of Justice Department regulations.” He told The Intercept: “The thing that’s so damaging about this is that the Department of Justice is supposed to reach conclusions and put them in court filings. There’s a certain amount of due process there.”
Legal experts could not recall another time that the FBI had made its recommendation so publicly. . .
UPDATE: This article gives a plausible explanation of why he did it.