James Comey: Reopening Clinton email investigation before election was ‘least terrible option’
Former FBI director James Comey said Tuesday announcing investigations being reopened into former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails so close to the 2016 presidential election was the “least terrible option,” responding to criticism his actions influenced the final vote.
The former FBI director said there were two “norms” being pit against each other in October 2016: potentially influencing the election or being completely transparent.
“What do you do eleven days before an election when you have a choice between those two norms? Do you break one and speak in a way that might have an impact on an election or do you conceal that what you told Congress all summer long is not true and by that... is to essentially lie to Congress and the American people,” Mr. Comey said on CNN’s “Right Now” program.
“It wasn’t a question of me trying to take a flame thrower to norms, it’s trying to figure out in an agonizing situation which is the least terrible option. Even in hindsight, I think I chose the least terrible option,” he added.
Many have said Mr. Comey’s announcement in the weeks prior to the election gave President Trump a push to win the presidency, with Mrs. Clinton saying in May 2017 his announcement was a factor that, “raised doubts in the minds of people who would have voted for me but got scared off.”
Mr. Comey agreed his announcement could have led to Mr. Trump’s election but said it only increases the pain and “doesn’t change” his thoughts on the decision.
The former FBI director was fired by the president in May 2017 for his handling of both Mrs. Clinton’s email controversy, in which she faced controversy for storing top-secret emails on her family’s private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State.