Comey: I Announced Review Of Clinton Emails To Protect Legitimacy Of Election

Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America

Former FBI Director James Comey said on Sunday that his belief that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 election played a role in how he handled the FBI’s probe of her use of a private email server when she was working for the Obama administration.

Comey cleared Clinton of any criminal charges in July 2016, but told Congress just days before the 2016 election that the FBI was looking at additional Clinton emails. He said Sunday he didn’t consciously make the decision to protect Clinton from being an “illegitimate” president if she were elected, but told ABC News Sunday that that rationale must have played a role in his decision to announce the email review. In early November 2016, he told Congress that the email review did not require any further action.

“I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been,” he said, responding to questions about his motivation for the additional review. “I don’t remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been. I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump. I’m sure that it was a factor. I don’t remember spelling it out, but it had to have been. That she’s going to be elected president, and if I hide this from the American people, she’ll be illegitimate the moment she’s elected, the moment this comes out.”

Clinton has said in the past that Comey’s letter to Congress in October 2016, announcing the reopening of the email investigation, was part of the reason she lost the election. Former Clinton campaign Manager Robby Mook told CNN on Monday that it was helpful to learn the truth.

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