The relationship between James Comey and Hillary Clinton was never going to be tension-free, not when Comey's FBI had conducted an election-year criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential candidate's email practices.
But Comey's sudden announcement to Congress that FBI agents would review new emails that may be connected to that dormant investigation revives questions about how Clinton, if elected, would coexist with the independent-minded FBI director. Comey has shown a willingness to break with the White House and has been critical of her handling of sensitive information as secretary of state.
The FBI director is appointed to 10-year terms, to avoid any appearance of political influence. Comey took over in September 2013, meaning he still would be on the job if Clinton is sworn into office in January. That could raise the prospect of an unmistakably fragile dynamic, but it probably would not be any easier if Republican Donald Trump won, given his criticism of the FBI after Comey's recommendation in July against prosecuting Clinton in the email matter.
"There needs to be a mutual trust between a president and an FBI director given the importance of that post," said Jamie Gorelick, deputy attorney general during former President Bill Clinton's administration.