Comey admits it's 'possible' that election polls may have influenced his handling of the Clinton email investigation

  • Former FBI Director James Comey says in his memoir it's possible polls influenced his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

  • Comey writes that polls showing Clinton in the lead may have caused him to fear making her an "illegitimate president" by concealing the FBI's restarted investigation.

  • Comey has previously defended his disclosure of the investigation and said he'd make the same decision again.

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted in his memoir, "A Higher Loyalty," that it's possible his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails was swayed by polls that showed she was likely to win the 2016 presidential election.

"It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls," Comey wrote, according to The New York Times.

"But I don't know," he added.

Some, including Clinton herself, believe that Comey's decision to publicly announce that the FBI had reopened its investigation ultimately cost her the presidency.

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Comey wrote to lawmakers just 11 days before the election to inform them that the FBI was reviewing more emails that could be pertinent to its earlier investigation into Clinton's private email server, which it closed months earlier.

The disclosure was widely criticized due to the FBI's longstanding policy of keeping its investigations secret — as it did during the early stages of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible ties to the Trump campaign.

But Comey has defended his decision to disclose the reopened Clinton email investigation and said he would make the same decision again.

He testified last year before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and argued he was forced to choose between the "really bad" option of announcing the reopened investigation and potentially influencing the election, and the "catastrophic" option of concealing it from Congress.

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