The F.B.I. recommendation on Tuesday not to file charges against Hillary Clinton for what the director James Comey called her “extremely careless” email practices has set off a debate over whether there was any partisan influence in the case.
The issue came to the fore last week when news broke that former President Bill Clinton had boarded Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s plane. Though both sides insisted they had not discussed the case against Mrs. Clinton, the resulting furor prompted Ms. Lynch to vow to accept the recommendation of career prosecutors and the F.B.I. on whether to file charges.
In his announcement of the recommendation, which is likely to be endorsed by prosecutors at the Department of Justice, Mr. Comey said that the investigation had not been subject to outside influence.
Mr. Comey’s claim carries credibility given his status as a Republican who served in the George W. Bush administration. The case was also extraordinary in its level of importance and scrutiny — which may have created pressure to avoid any appearance of affecting the November election — and may not fit previous patterns. However, the historical record suggests that politically sensitive cases are often not immune from politics, especially in the timing of when they are resolved.