Comey de­fends ’re­ally bad or cat­a­strophic de­ci­sions’

New Straits Times - - World -

WASHINGTON: Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion di­rec­tor James Comey told Congress on Wed­nes­day that re­veal­ing the re­open­ing of the Hil­lary Clin­ton email probe just be­fore elec­tion day came down to a painful, com­pli­cated choice be­tween “re­ally bad” and “cat­a­strophic” op­tions.

He said he’d felt “mildly nau­seous” to think he might have tipped the elec­tion out­come but in hind­sight would change noth­ing.

“I would make the same de­ci­sion,” Comey de­clared dur­ing a hear­ing in which Demo­cratic sen­a­tors grilled him on the seem­ing in­con­sis­tency be­tween the Clin­ton dis­clo­sure and his si­lence about the bureau’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into pos­si­ble con­tacts be­tween Rus­sia and Trump’s cam­paign.

He told the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee that the FBI could take into ac­count how in­ves­ti­ga­tions might ben­e­fit or harm politi­cians.

On Tues­day, Clin­ton partly at­trib­uted her loss to Comey’s dis­clo­sure to Congress less than two weeks be­fore elec­tion day that the email probe would be re­vis­ited.

Comey said he faced two dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions when agents told him in Oc­to­ber that they had found emails po­ten­tially con­nected to the Clin­ton case.

Comey said he knew it would be un­ortho­dox to alert Congress 11 days be­fore Amer­i­cans picked a new pres­i­dent. But while that op­tion was “re­ally bad”, he said he fig­ured it’d be worse to hide the dis­cov­ery from law­mak­ers.

“Con­ceal­ing, in my view, would be cat­a­strophic, not just to the FBI, but well be­yond. And be­tween re­ally bad and cat­a­strophic, I said to my team, we 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.” AP

James Comey

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