FBI Director James Comey made headlines during the Presidential Election when he released statements about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
However, last week during a Senate committee hearing, Comey released new details about the investigation – and these details profoundly contradict statements made by Comey to not only the investigative committee but the media.
At the time, Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top aide, supposedly forwarded emails from her husband’s laptop, Anthony Weiner, to her home computer to be printed. James Comey referred to it as hundreds to thousands of emails, says LA Times.
Only now people closer to the investigation are saying that it was a gross misstatement of the number of emails involved.
While the FBI refused to offer a comment on the allegations, further evidence has shown that Comey had drastically overstated those numbers. Now, the FBI is rushing to correct the error and record that Comey made public, reports CNN.
While it is not yet clear why Comey initially exaggerated the numbers during his testimony in front of the investigative committee, some have shared their theories.
Some think it was nothing more than a simple error on Comey’s part, and that he was not expecting the committee to take the numbers seriously. Others feel that Comey screwed up and there is no excuse for his behavior. After all, an honest answer after a lapse in judgment is not excusable for the director of the FBI.
As for Clinton and her allies, the mistake Comey made and his botched handling of the Clinton email investigation is growing out of proportion. Comey’s motives, whether to push the election one way or another, are now coming into question, and Clinton’s investigation might not move forward with so many errors on the public record.
Clinton, during a conversation with CNN last week, stated that Comey’s letter to the members of Congress was the reason she lost the campaign to Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton feels she would have won with the letter not released and the Russian WikiLeaks not cast doubt in the minds of voters.
Trump Supporters Disagree with FBI Influence
Most Trump supporters feel they voted for Trump and would have done so without information about Clinton’s emails. While Clinton continues to blame the FBI and other sources for her loss, Comey states in his hearing that he did not think the contents of his message would influence the voters.
Why Do the Number of Emails Matter Anyway?
Some wonder why the number of emails is such a concern in the committee. While the miscalculation hurts Comey’s nonpartisan reputation, the number also matters because it is the entire reason Comey notified Congress just 11 days before the election. Some top Democrats state that it was unfair to exaggerate the numbers, especially when the election was less than two weeks away, reports The Washington Post.
Two days before the election, Comey did update Congress that the number of emails would not change the FBI’s decision not to charge Clinton; therefore, many believe that the FBI was not attempting to meddle in the election results like the Democrats believe.
Comey is likely to spend the rest of his career, if not his life, defending his decisions. Even though he claims he is “mildly nauseous” to the idea that his testimony and letters would have swayed voters, he makes it clear that he would have done the same either way – and that he stood behind his decision to release that letter to Congress.
Democrats, for now, will just have to deal with Comey’s justification and Comey’s misleading testimony is likely to erase all benefits of the doubt from the Democratic side.