An unfazed Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey today strongly defended his controversial decision to alert Congress just days before the USA general election about the probe into Hillary Clintons emails, saying concealing the probe developments would have been “catastrophic”.
Investigators had found evidence of thousands of previously undiscovered emails while conducting an unrelated investigation into Clinton’s aide’s husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Comey said he felt he had to inform Congress at the time, after which news of the reopened probe was leaked to the press, because he had previously testified under oath that the investigation had been closed. “If the election were on October 27, I would be your president”, Clinton said.
“It was a hard choice” but he had no other option, said Comey, “I couldn’t hide that”.
Comey was hammered with questions for four hours from the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I think this theory does not hold up when you look at other investigations”. “But I sat there that morning and I could not see a door labeled ‘no action here’”.
“It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election, but honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision”, he said.
She said she’s been going through the “painful” process of reliving the 2016 contest while writing a book. Comey is set to meet with members of the House Intelligence Committee today in closed-door briefings on the FBI’s probe into Russian Federation.
“I don’t know what we’ll say when we’re done, but that’s how we handled the Clinton investigation, as well”, Comey said.
In his remarks, Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ranking Member Senator Diana Feinstein expressed concern over Russian cyber activities.
Barack Obama’s former campaign manager has told Hillary Clinton to “move on” and suggested she should take more responsibility for her defeat to Donald Trump.
But Comey said that other than confirming the Clinton investigation existed, he did not discuss it until after it concluded a year ago.
USA intelligence officials have blamed Russian intelligence services for interfering in the election through the hacking of Democratic email accounts.
“Was it appropriate for you to comment on one investigation repeatedly, and not say anything about the other?” Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Comey maintained that he did not treat disclosures about investigations into Clinton’s emails differently than potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
Graham, a South Carolina Republican, spent roughly seven minutes grilling Comey on Russian influence in the USA government as well as terrorism issues and even ex-congressman Anthony Weiner. “They will nearly always call us before they publish classified information and say, ‘Is there anything about this that is going to put lives in danger?’” Comey said. Comey said he thought he treated the investigations the same because he did not reveal either probe when they initially began.