Comey defends Clinton investigation announcement: It makes me 'nauseous' to think I impacted the election

FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday defended his decision to announce the relaunch of his investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails less than two weeks before the presidential election.

Comey informed Congress in a letter that quickly became public on Oct. 28, 2016 that the bureau had obtained emails during its probe of Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal that appeared to be pertinent to an earlier investigation into Clinton's handling of her emails and classified information.

His comments defending that move came during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, one day after Hillary Clinton insinuated that his announcement prevented her from winning the White House.

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"I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off," Clinton said on Tuesday, while also acknowledging her own role, Russian involvement and misogyny.

Comey, in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, launched into a passionate explanation of how his team weighed the implications of announcing the investigation.

"This has been one of the world's most painful experiences. I would make the same decision. I would not conceal that on October 28," he said.

Comey acknowledged that he fully recognized that the announcement could impact the election, but insisted that a failure to reveal the investigation could have been construed as concealing the information.

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He said that he weighed the pros and cons of both announcing and not announcing the move, acknowledging that announcing could significantly impact the election, which he described as a "really bad" outcome -- but not the worst decision.

"Concealing in my view would be catastrophic," he said.

Comey added that it made him "mildly nauseous to think" that his decision might have impacted the outcome of the election, but insisted he would not change his mind if asked again.

"It was a hard choice, I still believe in retrospect, the right choice, as painful as this has been," he said.

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He also spoke openly about the conversations his team had as they weighed the decision, noting that one figure openly posed the question that the information might help see Donald Trump elected president -- regardless of whether or not Clinton turned out to be guilty.

Comey faced criticism in the wake of that letter from those who said the announcement broke with Justice Department policy.

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