Comey: It Makes Me 'Mildly Nauseous' to Think We Impacted the Election
FBI Director James Comey defended his decision to send a letter to Congress shortly before the presidential election about potential new evidence in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
In remarks yesterday, Clinton said she believes she would be president right now if not for the Oct. 28 letter by Comey to Congress and "Russian Wikileaks" of emails connected to her campaign.
In a Judiciary Committee hearing this morning, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) questioned Comey on why he released the information publicly, knowing it could impact voters' decisions.
Comey said in his view, it came down to a choice between "speak" and "conceal." He concluded that releasing the information would be "really bad," but concealing the information could have been "catastrophic."
"I said to my team we have to walk into the world of 'really bad.' I have to tell Congress we're restarting this," he said.
"This was terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might’ve had some impact on the election. But honestly it wouldn’t change the decision."
He called on his critics to put themselves in his shoes and understand the difficulty of the choice he faced.
"This has been one of the world’s most painful experiences. I would make the same decision. I would not conceal that on October 28th from the Congress," said Comey.
Comey said his team worked tirelessly to read about 6,000 emails, but found nothing to change the original conclusion from July that there was no "intent" by Clinton.
He then announced on the Sunday before the election that the investigation was concluded. Comey said the newly-discovered emails were forwarded by top Clinton aide Huma Abedin to her husband, Anthony Weiner.
Feinstein appeared to chuckle when Comey emphasized that he did not release the letter publicly, but sent it to top members of Congress.
"I know it's a distinction without a difference in the world of leaks," said Comey.
Feinstein answered by saying it was a "matter of minutes" before the letter to Congress was made public.
"You took an enormous gamble. The gamble was that there was something [in the emails] that would invalidate her candidacy. And there wasn't. One has to look at that action and say, 'did it affect the campaign?' I think most people who have looked at this have said, 'yes, it did affect the campaign, why did he do it?'" she said.
Watch the comments above.