Felt nauseous to think I could have influenced US election: FBI chief James Comey

Washington: FBI Director James Comey said that he felt "mildly nauseous" thinking that his investigation of Hillary Clinton could have influenced the 2016 presidential election.

Comey testified for the first time in public on Wednesday, about his decisions during the election campaign, which have brought harsh criticism from Democrats, including Clinton, who on Tuesday said that she was convinced that she would have won the election if the FBI chief had not reopened the investigation.

File photo of FBI Director James Comey. Reuters

File photo of FBI Director James Comey. Reuters

"It was a hard choice, I still believe in retrospect the right choice," Efe news quoted him as saying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I can't consider for a second whose political fortunes will be affected."

He strongly defended his decision to reopen the probe when there were just 11 days left before the vote, saying that he would not change his decision.

To have hidden the fact that the investigation had been reopened would, from his point of view, been "catastrophic", Comey emphasized to the lawmakers.

Comey said that he decided to reopen the probe because FBI agents found "thousands" of e-mails from Clinton on the laptop of former lawmaker Anthony Weiner, who was married to Huma Abedin, one of the Democratic presidential nominee's closest political advisers.

FBI agents found e-mails stemming from Clinton's first three months as the State Secretary on that computer and Comey noted that never before had the agency found e-mails from that time period and that discovery was "obviously very important".

The e-mails — once analyzed — did not change the FBI's opinion and the agency later announced that it still would not file criminal charges against Clinton.

Nevertheless, many Democrats felt that the damage had already been done and, in fact, Clinton on Tuesday blamed Comey for her election loss.

"I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off," the former First Lady said.

Updated Date: May 04, 2017 08:42 AM

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