Belief Clinton would win election a ‘factor’ in e-mail probe: Comey

WASHINGTON Former FBI chief James Comey said his belief that Mrs Hillary Clinton would be elected president in 2016 "was a factor" in his handling of the probe into her misuse of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

Mr Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump last year, told ABC that a desire to ensure Mrs Clinton's victory was seen as legitimate played a role in his decision to announce the bureau would reopen the investigation, made 11 days before the election.

"I don't remember consciously thinking about that, but it must have been because I was operating in a world where Hillary Clinton was going to beat Donald Trump, and so I am sure it was a factor," he said in the interview aired yesterday.

"I don't remember spelling it out but it had to have been, that she is going to be elected president and if I hide this from the American people, she'll be illegitimate the moment she is elected, the moment this comes out," he added.

His comments echoed a quote from his memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies And Leadership, in which he said it was "entirely possible" his concerns over Mrs Clinton's legitimacy "bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls".

Mrs Clinton has previously noted that announcement played a part in her losing. "After the Comey letter, my momentum was stopped," she told NPR in late 2017. "My numbers dropped, we were scrambling to try to put it back together and we ran out of time."

Mr Trump reacted to the excerpts in a series of tweets. He even undertook a mini-review of Mr Comey's memoir.

"The big questions in Comey's badly reviewed book aren't answered like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn't they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe's $700,000 & more?"

He said Mr Comey threw former attorney general Loretta Lynch "under the bus", an allusion to Mr Comey having criticised Ms Lynch in the memoir for suggesting that he refer to an investigation into Mrs Clinton's use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state as only a "matter".

"Was she promised a Supreme Court seat, or AG, in order to lay off Hillary," Mr Trump asks in another tweet. - AFP