‘That Gave A Me Queasy Feeling’: Comey Uncomfortable With Lynch Directive To Call Hillary E-Mail Probe A ‘Matter’
Former FBI Director James Comey gave his blunt reaction at Thursday’s congressional hearing regarding his earlier disclosure about the then-attorney general, Loretta Lynch, directing him to call the probe into Hillary Clinton‘s e-mail scandal a “matter,” instead of an investigation.
“That gave me a queasy feeling,” Comey said.
Senator James Lankford had noted that the former official “made a comment earlier about the…previous attorney general asking you about the investigation on the Clinton e-mails — saying that you had been asked not to call it an investigation anymore, but to call it a ‘matter.’ And you said that ‘confused’ you.”
The Oklahoma senator then asked, “Can you give us additional details on that?”
Comey replied by outlining that “it concerned me, because we were at the point where we had refused to confirm the existence, as we typically do of an investigation, for months; and it was getting to a place where that looked silly, because the campaigns were talking about interacting with the FBI in the course of our work. The Clinton campaign, at the time, was using all kinds of euphemisms — security review, matters, things like that — for what was going on.”
The former FBI director wondered at the time, “Was she [Lynch] going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation?”
Comey recounted that the former attorney general replied, “Yes, but don’t call it that. Call it a matter. And I said, why would I do that? And she said, just call it a matter.” He soon added, “That concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work; and that’s concerning.”
The relevant portion of the exchange between Senator Lankford and former Director Comey is embedded above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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