Obama weighs in on FBI: 'We don't operate on innuendo'
President Obama on Wednesday appeared to criticize the way FBI Director James Comey disclosed a new review of information possibly linked to Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In his first public comments on the decision, Obama told NowThis News he did not want to interfere with the investigation. But he said it’s important that the public’s judgment not be colored by incomplete information.
“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo,” Obama said in the interview published Wednesday. “We don’t operate on incomplete information. We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”
The president noted that Comey himself decided not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information on her private email server as secretary of State.
“When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion … was that, you know, she made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was, you know, prosecutable,” Obama said.
Comey has endured a firestorm of criticism after he sent a letter to Congress last Friday saying that his agency was probing messages that could be linked to the investigation into Clinton’s server.
The disclosure, made less than two weeks before Election Day, boosted the campaign of Donald Trump.
Clinton and other top Democrats have slammed Comey for being vague about how exactly, the messages were linked to the Clinton email investigation.
The messages were reportedly discovered in a sexting investigation of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Democrats have also said Comey is violating Justice Department policy against making investigative decisions that could be seen as influencing the outcome of an election.
Obama would not say specifically whether he believed Comey did so.
“Well, you know, I’ve made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I’m meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments,” the president said.