Hillary Clinton
Hillary ClintonReuters

The Justice Department's internal watchdog announced on Thursday it has launched a probe into the department and the FBI's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, CNN reported.

The announcement follows criticism of the Justice Department's handling of the investigation, particularly on how the public was notified about the controversy, which was a major issue on the 2016 campaign trail.

It will likely mean questions over the role of FBI Director James Comey, who dropped a bombshell when he informed Congress days before the election that the FBI had discovered emails in a separate investigation that could be connected to its investigation of whether Clinton mishandled classified information by using a private email server.

The FBI subsequently said it would not change its initial determination in the Clinton email probe, which was that Clinton should not be indicted.

Clinton, however, claims that Comey’s actions cost her the presidency.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said on Thursday that the decision to initiate a review was prompted by requests from numerous members of Congress and public inquiries.

Horowitz's office said, according to CNN, that the review will examine several allegations, including that DOJ or FBI policies were not followed when Comey publicly stated last July that his bureau would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton; that DOJ and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information; and that the timing of the FBI's release of certain Freedom of Information Act requests right before the election was improper.

The White House said Thursday it wasn't involved in the decision to investigate. A message left with Clinton's office was not immediately returned.

Democrats argue that Comey’s second letter in which he said the agency had not changed its opinion that Clinton should not face criminal charges came too late and that by then, the initial letter stalled her momentum during the final two weeks of the campaign.