Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey has been accused of breaking the law over his announcement of an inquiry into fresh emails, in connection with Hillary Clinton's use of a private server. The FBI had earlier said they would not press charges against the Democratic presidential candidate in the case. Comey has been attacked as his announcement to the Congress came just 11 days before the United States presidential election.

According to AP, justice department officials had advised the bureau against announcing the inquiry into Clinton's new emails, which were found while they were investigating ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner for sending lewd emails to an underage girl. Weiner is separated from Clinton's longtime aide Huma Abedin. Clinton called the FBI's move unprecedented and deeply troubling, and said, "It is pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election."

Senate minority leader Harry Reid, in a letter, said, "Your [Comey's] actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another." Comey was earlier a registered Republican, a fact Clinton had mentioned in her campaign after the FBI had cleared her.

Clinton's rival Donald Trump had lauded the FBI's move. "Perhaps, finally, justice will be done," the 70-year-old New York businessman had said.

Moreover, the FBI has procured a warrant to investigate Clinton's new email, which the agency believes may be relevant to her private server case, a law enforcement official said. The FBI wants to re-examine the emails to check whether they were handled following protocol and whether they contained classified information, according to AP.

The matter was first reported in March that Clinton had used personal email addresses connected to a privately-owned server, rather than a government email, during her tenure as President Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state. Comey had said that Clinton and her aides were "extremely careless" while handling classified and sensitive information.

Tightening race

Following the FBI's announcement, a Washington Post-ABC poll has Republican candidate Donald Trump inching closer to Clinton's poll of 46% with just one point short at 45%. The poll, conducted via telephone from October 25 to 30 with a random sample of respondents, found only one-third of voters surveyed swaying from their support for her, after she had earlier led polls by 12 points.

The country will vote for its new president on November 8.