Jim Comey says as bad as the outcome was, he still wouldn't have changed his decision to notify Congress about emails found on Anthony Weiner's laptop.
May 3, 2017

It was Chaffetz.

At this morning's Senate intelligence hearings, Dianne Feinstein asked Jim Comey, "Why was it necessary to announce 11 days before a presidential election that you were opening an investigation on a new computer without any knowledge of what was in that computer? Why didn't you just do the investigation as you would normally with no public announcement?"

COMEY: Great question, Senator. Thank you. October 27th, the investigative team thatt that finished the investigation in July focused on Secretary Clinton's e-mails asked to meet with me. They laid out for me what they could see from the metadata on Anthony Weiner's laptop that was seized from another case. What they could see from the metadata is there were thousands of Secretary Clinton's e-mails on that device, including what might have been the missing e-mails from her first three months using a Verizon Blackberry then and that was important. if it fits with evidence she was acting with bad intent --

FEINSTEIN: But they weren't there.

COMEY: Can I finish my answer?


COMEY: They came in and said we can see thousands of e-mails including many many many from the Verizon Clinton domain. The Department of Justice agreed we had to get a search warrant. I agreed. I authorized them to seek a search warrant. and then I faced a choice. I've lived my entire career by the tradition that you can avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to the election that might have an impact. But I sat there that morning and I could not see a door labeled 'no action' here. I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled concealed. Because here's how I thought about it. I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this congress we're done, there's no nothing there, no case there, no case there. To restart in a hugely significant quantity way, potentially finding the e-mails that would inflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an act of concealment, in my view.

So I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be very bad. Concealing would be bad, would be catastrophic. not just to the FBI but well beyond. And honestly, as 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, in a hugely significant way. And the team told me we cannot finish this work before the election. Then they worked night after night and they found thousands of new e-mails, they found classified information on Anthony Weiner. Somehow her e-mails are being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information by her assistant Huma Abedin. They called me and said thanks to the wizardry of our technology, we've only had to personally read 6,000. We think we can finish tomorrow morning. And I met with them, they said we found a lot of new stuff. We did not find anything that changes our view of her intent. we're in the same place as we were in July.

I asked them lots of questions. I said okay if that's where you are, then I also have to tell Congress that we're done.

Look, this was terrible. 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. Everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to Oct. 28 with me and stare at this tell me what you would do, would you speak or would you conceal. I could be wrong, honestly, made a decision between those two choices that even in hindsight -- this has been one of the world's most painful experiences. I would make the same decision. I would not conceal that on Oct. 28 from the Congress. and I sent a letter to Congress.

I didn't make a public announcement. I sent a private letter to the chairs and the rankings of the oversight committees. I know it's a distinction without a difference in the world of leaks but it was very important that I tell them instead of concealing. And reasonable people can disagree. But that's the reason I made that choice. And it was a hard choice. I still believe in retrospect the right choice, as painful as this has been. I'm sorry for the long answer.

Comey also made it clear that he did not release the letter about the new investigation; it was Jason Chaffetz.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.