FBI director James Comey just opened up about whether he thinks his actions surrounding an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails helped sway the 2016 presidential election.
During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, Comey explained why he decided to send a letter to congressional leaders October 28, revealing the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server back when she was secretary of state. According to the director, it was either "speak" or "conceal" that the agency was looking into a batch of new emails. (Two days later, he concluded that there wasn't anything new or incriminating in the newly discovered emails.)
"Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days. Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI but well beyond," he said. "And, honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team: 'We’ve got to walk into the world of really bad. I’ve got to tell Congress that we’re restarting this, not in some frivolous way — in a hugely significant way.'"
He added, "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. Even in hindsight — and this has been one of the world’s most painful experiences — I would make the same decision. I would not conceal that."
At the Women for Women International's annual luncheon Tuesday, Clinton said she believed Comey's letter is one of the main reasons why she lost the presidency.
"[I was] on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off," Clinton said at the luncheon.
She added, "If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president."
Meanwhile, President Trump took a stab at Clinton's comments, tweeting that Comey "was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton."
FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2017
...Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2017
It's been almost six months since the U.S. presidential election, and we're still re-litigating it, mostly because the main actors can't let it go. (And also because there's an ongoing investigation into possible connections between Russia and the Trump campaign.) It's unlikely anything new will come out of these postmortems — for the time being, anyway.
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