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.

FLASHBACK: Clinton's final day of campaigning

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Hillary Clinton's final day of campaigning
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Hillary Clinton's final day of campaigning

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addresses supporters at the Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse in Allendale, Michigan November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

Supporters await the arrival of US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and US President barack Obama for a rally on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 07, 2016.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

An elderly woman smiles as Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, not pictured, speaks during a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Clinton leads Donald Trump by three percentage points among likely voters nationally, the latest sign that her campaign's painstaking focus on women, Latinos and blacks could help propel her to the White House.

(Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Audience members listen as U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a campaign rally at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, U.S. November 7, 2016, the final day of campaigning before the election.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Bruce Springsteen performs during a rally in suport of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 07, 2016.

(KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is greeted by her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, at the airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 7, 2016, the final day of campaigning before the election.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

People gather on Independence Mall for a campaign rally with U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 7, 2016, the final day of campaigning before the election.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Recording artist Jon Bon Jovi performs during a campaign event for U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledges the crowd at a campaign rally at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, U.S. November 7, 2016, the final day of campaigning before the election.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Supporters cheer as U.S. President Barack Obama campaigns for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during a rally at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, U.S., November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Madonna holds a rally in NYC to support Hillary Clinton at Washington Square Park on November 7, 2016 in New York City.

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama is embraced by U.S. first lady Michelle Obama as former U.S. President Bill Clinton looks on during a campaign event for U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

People react as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leaves after a rally at the Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse November 7, 2016 in Allendale, Michigan.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton poses for a selfie with supporters after a rally at the Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse November 7, 2016 in Allendale, Michigan.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

People listen as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally outside the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning November 7, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

People are seen in a reflection as they listen to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaking during a rally outside the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning November 7, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Barack Obama campaigns for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during a rally at the University of New Hampshire Durham November 7, 2016.

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

People watch from a nearby building overlooking Independence Mall as people gather for a rally with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former US President Clinton, and US President Barack Obama, November 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Former US President Bill clinton adresses the crowd during a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, on Independence Mall, November 7, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. About 40,000 people flooded Independence Mall in Philadelphia for Hillary Clinton's rally with her husband Bill, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at her side, a campaign aide said. The attendance set a new record for Clinton, with the previous high point a rally in Ohio that drew 18,500 people, a campaign aide told reporters traveling with the candidate.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives for a rally at the Grand Valley State University Fieldhouse November 7, 2016 in Allendale, Michigan.

(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Musician Bruce Springsteen performs at Independence Mall at a campaign rally with U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. November 7, 2016, the final day of campaigning before the election.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is joined by U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) (R) at a campaign rally at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, U.S. November 7, 2016, the final day of campaigning before the election.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

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