FBI Director James Comey said he attempted to strike a “balance” in how he reopened the investigation on classified information in Hillary Clinton‘s emails because “there is significant risk of being misunderstood” so close to the Nov. 8 election.
Normal procedure during an ongoing investigation was circumvented when he informed lawmakers Friday of the renewed probe, Comey told his staff, because he felt obligated to tell them after testifying under oath earlier this year that his agency’s year-long investigation was over and recommended in July that no charges be brought against the former secretary of state.
“Of course we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed,” Comey wrote in an internal memo obtained by Fox News Friday evening. “I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record.”
Comey added that the nature of the emails is still unknown, and that cautioned that his announcement Friday could lead to a false interpretations, which he said he wanted to avoid.
“At the same time, however, given that we do not know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression,” Comey said. “In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter, and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.”
In a letter he sent to eight congressional committee chairmen on Friday, Comey said investigators are examining newly discovered “emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.” It was later reported by the New York Times that the new material was discovered on devices belonging to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, as part of a separate investigation into her estranged husband, former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner.