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Did Jim Comey make any reference to internal people or persons inside the FBI who told him he had a mandate to release the information to the public about the Hillary Clinton probe?

Does anyone have this quote from the hearing? And/or do we know who these person(s) were?

  • 1
    Which information are you referring to? There was some controversy over his unusual editorializing when he released the decision not to prosecute. Then there was controversy over the announcement that he had re-opened the investigation when he didn't have anything new (at that time it was possible that there might be something new) regarding Clinton. In regards to the second, he made a promise to Congress when he testified about the decision not to prosecute, that he'd inform them of any changes to the investigation. – PoloHoleSet Apr 17 '18 at 19:22
  • He was director of the FBI, the top boss... how could anyone else in the FBI pressure him? – tj1000 May 1 '18 at 20:25
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Looks like the answer is no. Assuming that "the investigative team" referenced below is a tactical (non-partisan) team and not a high-ranking official or a member of FBI leadership.

From https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/03/read-the-full-testimony-of-fbi-director-james-comey-in-which-he-discusses-clinton-email-investigation/?utm_term=.a8c0b0226fdb :

COMEY: ... A great question, senator. Thank you. October 27, the investigative team that had finished the investigation in July focused on Secretary Clinton's emails asked to meet with me.

So I met with them that morning, late morning, in my conference room. And they laid out for me what they could see from the metadata on this fella Anthony Weiner's laptop that had been seized in an unrelated case. What they could see from the metadata was that there were thousands of Secretary Clinton's emails on that device, including what they thought might be the missing emails from her first three months as secretary of state.

We never found any emails from her first three months. She was using a Verizon BlackBerry then and that's obviously very important, because if there was evidence that she was acting with bad intent, that's where it would be in the first three months.

FEINSTEIN: But they weren't there.

COMEY: Look, can I just finish my answer, senator?

FEINSTEIN: Yes.

COMEY: And so they came in and said, we can see thousands of emails from the Clinton email domain, including many, many, many from the Verizon Clinton domain, BlackBerry domain. They said we think we got to get a search warrant to go get these, and the Department of Justice agreed we had to go get a search warrant.

So I agreed, I authorized them to seek a search warrant. And then I faced a choice. And I've lived my entire career by the tradition that if you can possibly avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to an election that might have an impact. Whether it's a dogcatcher election or president of the United States, but I sat there that morning and I could not see a door labeled no action here.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here's how I thought about it, I'm not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there's nothing there, there's no case there, there's no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There's an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad. I've got to tell Congress that we're restarting this, not in some frivolous way, in a hugely significant way.

And the team also told me, we cannot finish this work before the election. And then they worked night after night after night, and they found thousands of new emails, they found classified information on Anthony Weiner. Somehow, her emails are being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information, by her assistant, Huma Abedin. And so they found thousands of new emails and then called me the Saturday night before the election and said thanks to the wizardry of our technology, we've only had to personally read 6,000. We think we can finish tomorrow morning, Sunday.

And so I met with them and they said we found a lot of new stuff. We did not find anything that changes our view of her intent. So we're in the same place we were in July. It hasn't changed our view and I asked them lots of questions and I said okay, if that's where you are, then I also have to tell Congress that we're done. Look, this is terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election. But honestly, it wouldn't change the decision.

Everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to October 28 with me and stare at this and tell me what you would do. Would you speak or would you conceal? And I could be wrong, but we honestly made a decision between those two choices that even in hindsight -- and 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, from the Congress. And I sent the letter to Congress, by the way, people forget this, I didn't make a public announcement. I sent a private letter to the chairs and the rankings of the oversight committees.

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  • 2
    This is a best evidence answer and anything else would involve conspiracies, but really that's where we started. I would see him choosing to speak or conceal any assistance in forming this opinion as a very similar choice as he describes here. If someone him frame the problem this way, or even if he asked for advice or was told what he ought to do, it is not touched on here, but neither is it contradicted. – user9389 Apr 16 '18 at 17:44

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