FBI Officials Admit Comey Misstated Facts About Clinton Investigation
Not since J. Edgar Hoover has an FBI Director played such an outsized role in American politics as James Comey has over the past calendar year. And like Hoover, Comey's handling of his position constantly generates controversy. Just last week, Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that his decision to go public with information about Hillary Clinton's emails found on Former Congressman's Anthony Weiner's laptop was "one of the world's most painful experiences". But according to ProPublica, Comey's testimony included a "false claim" and the Bureau is unsure how to respond at the moment.
The genesis of his misstatement comes from an exchange with Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) about the emails found on the computer, which Comey felt compelled to make public less than two weeks before the election. When Kennedy asked who sent the emails to Weiner, Comey responded:
His then spouse, Huma Abedin, appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding e-mails to him, for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the Secretary of State.
He went on to tell Senator Ted Cruz (D-TX) that Abedin "forwarded hundreds and thousands of e-mails, some of which contain classified information."
FBI: This was 'Inaccurate' and We Don't Know What to do About It
Sources inside the FBI tell ProPublica that their director grossly overstated the emails forwarded to Weiner. According to the report:
Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.
FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found. On Monday, the FBI was said to be preparing to correct the record by sending a letter to Congress later this week. But that plan now appears on hold, with the bureau undecided about what to do.
The sources tell ProPublica that "only a handful of Clinton emails" were forwarded from Abedin to Weiner. Furthermore, Abedin didn't make "a regular practice" of sending them to her then-husband. The Associated Press has also confirmed the discrepancy:
BREAKING: AP source says Huma Abedin did not forward "hundreds and thousands" of emails to husband's laptop, as FBI chief testified.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) May 9, 2017
In the absolute best case scenario for Comey, he was grossly incompetent. The discrepancy between "a handful" and "hundreds and thousands" would be labeled erroneously on Sesame Street. Under oath before congress, it might be called something much worse.
The FBI Director went on to tell the committee that he felt "mildly nauseous" that he may have impacted the election. Unlike the scope of the email investigation, there doesn't seem to be any overstatement here. The October 28 letter from Comey is widely believed to have swayed the election towards Donald Trump.
Trust us, Director — there's nothing mild about the nausea that we feel over it.
Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images
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