Thursday 14 December 2017

Idea that I influenced vote makes me sick - FBI chief

FBI Director James Comey. Photo: Reuters
FBI Director James Comey. Photo: Reuters

Nick Allen

James Comey, the FBI director, said yesterday he felt "nauseous" at the thought that he affected the result of last year's US presidential election by reopening a probe into Hillary Clinton's emails days before the vote.

Eleven days before Donald Trump won the White House, Mr Comey announced the decision to reopen the investigation into Mrs Clinton's use of a private email server, which led to damaging headlines for the Democratic candidate.

Mrs Clinton has since blamed him for costing her the presidency but Mr Comey said it would have been far worse to conceal his decision.

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said: "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.

"I've had a lot of rocks thrown at me but I've done the right thing. I don't have any regrets."

He explained that on October 27 agents presented him with evidence that the 30,000 "golden missing emails" from Mrs Clinton's time as secretary of state could have been found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, husband of Mrs Clinton's assistant Huma Abedin. He told agents to get a warrant for the laptop.

Mr Comey said it was a "hard choice" whether to make the reopening of the email investigation public.

He said: "I was looking at two doors marked 'speak' and 'conceal'. I prayed to find a third door but I couldn't. 'Speak' would be really bad.

"There's an election days away. Lordy, that would be really bad.

"But concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI but well beyond."

A few days after the announcement, the FBI, which is supposed to remain politically neutral, said the new emails had not altered its previous decision to recommend no criminal charges against Mrs Clinton.

But Democrats believe the damage to their standard bearer had already been done. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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