Comey defends ’really bad or catastrophic decisions’
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