Former FBI Director James B. Comey admits in his upcoming book that his decision-making on the Hillary Clinton email investigation was affected by politics — specifically, his certainty that Mrs. Clinton was going to win the presidential election.
In his book “A Higher Loyalty,” scheduled for public release next week but excerpts of which were published by news organizations Thursday, he defends his decision to tell Congress in October 2016, just weeks before the election, that the FBI was re-opening its probe of Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified information using a private email server as secretary of state.
He had declined to bring charges that summer, but the Anthony Weiner child-porn probe brought new material to investigators’ attention.
In his book, Mr. Comey said he publicly announced the re-opening of the probe because he feared not doing so could make the future president look “illegitimate.”
“I believed it was my duty to inform Congress that we were restarting the investigation,” he writes about the October 2016 statement. “I would say as little as possible, but the FBI had to speak.”
Mrs. Clinton and her loyalists believe Mr. Comey’s announcement cost her the presidency, even though he re-cleared her before the election.
In a further reflection of how the political winds affected his decision-making, Mr. Comey acknowledges in his 2018 book that he might have handled matters differently had he known Mrs. Clinton would lose.
“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls,” he writes.
“But,” he wonders aloud, “I don’t know.”