Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that she was “stunned” and “dumbfounded” by then-FBI Director James Comey’s letter regarding her emails late in the 2016 election.
Comey, who had led the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, told Congress 11 days before the election that “the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”
The news was quickly leaked, and Comey only announced that no new relevant information had been turned up on Nov. 6, two days before the election. Clinton said “the unprecedented action of the FBI director” was the most significant single factor in her loss to Donald Trump two days later.
“If we put all those factors you just laid out in a pie chart,” “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie asked, after Clinton listed a series of factors she thought played into the electoral outcome, “what’s the biggest cause? What part is Comey? What part is Russia? What part is you? “
“I think the determining factor was the intervention by Comey on Oct. 28,” Clinton said. “It stopped my momentum. It drove voters from me.”
“I was stunned, to be honest,” she added. “I didn’t know what to think about it, because I knew there was nothing there. We had trouble finding out what was really going on. I was just dumbfounded. I thought, ‘What is he doing?’ The investigation was closed. I know there’s no new information. I’d certainly given anything of any relevance to them.”
She added: “And then it became clear, this was not necessary. He could’ve called me up. He could’ve called others involved up and said, ‘Hey, can we look at this new stuff just to make sure it’s stuff we’ve seen before?’ Absolutely, have at it. But no, he had to write letters to Congress, which immediately were leaked. I feel very strongly that he went way beyond his role in doing what he did.”
Clinton is far from the only voice critical of Comey for his unprecedented action so soon before an election. Everyone from longtime Department of Justice employees to President Donald Trump has said the same.
The latter party should be taken with a large grain of salt, though: Trump used Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as an excuse to fire him. Very quickly, however, the President made clear that he had really fired Comey over his handling of the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Clinton had appeared on “Today” to promote her new book on the 2016 election, “What Happened.” In it, she said of Comey’s intervention: “It wasn’t healthy or productive to dwell on the ways I felt I’d been shivved.”
Watch below via NBC: