Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. The main focus of the hearing is the investigation of Russian ties to President Donald Trump‘s campaign and November’s election, as well as Comey’s own interactions with Trump. One surprising revelation, however, had to do with Trump’s opponent in the election, Hillary Clinton, and the investigation of her private email server.
Comey made waves when he publicly discussed the reasons for not recommending charges against Clinton, and when he announced that the FBI was reopening the investigation after Comey previously recommended not to charge Clinton. During the hearing, Comey was asked what led to his decision to speak about the investigation, instead of leaving that to the Attorney General’s office. Comey acknowledged that his decision was based on a desire to protect the credibility of the investigation.
Part of that had to do with a private meeting between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on a private plane. That meeting caused controversy, as the public began to question whether Lynch was favoring Hillary Clinton.
But there was one more incident that Comey described that concerned him. “At one point,” Comey said, “the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation, but instead to call it a “matter,” which confused me and concerned me.” Clinton herself came under fire for her semantics during the campaign, when she refused to use the word “investigation,” using other terms, like “security review.”
Comey said that this, among other things, led him to feel that he had to “step away from the department” in order to maintain the integrity of the Clinton investigation and how it was closed.
[Image via CNN screengrab]