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Why FBI Director James Comey Says He’s ‘Mildly Nauseous’

“Look, this was terrible”

Image via Flickr/Rich Girard

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, defending his decision to broadcast the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails just days before voters cast their ballots for president last November. Apparently, Comey was fully aware reopening the investigation so close to November 9 would affect election results, and while that would be disastrous, not disclosing changes in the investigation would be worse for the bureau’s reputation, The New York Times reports.

According to NPR, Comey said in his testimony, “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.” He added, “concealment, in my view, would have been catastrophic,” even knowing disclosing changes in the investigation would be “disastrous for me personally.”

Still, what Comey calls concealment the Justice Department calls following standard protocol. It’s worth a reminder that, typically, the FBI does not publicly confirm or deny ongoing investigations. And as many might recall, the Justice Department strongly urged Comey not to move forward with his decision to inform the public about a controversial, open investigation—particularly because of its timing with the presidential election.

But, as Nate Silver from the now infamous blog FiveThirtyEight put it more bluntly on Wednesday, “Hillary Clinton would probably be president if FBI Director James Comey had not sent a letter to Congress on Oct. 28.” Sure, Silver didn’t accurately predict the winner leading up to Election Day, but in retrospect, his vision seems to be 20/20.

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