Hillary Clinton campaign officials blasted FBI Director James Comey in a conference call Saturday afternoon over his decision to notify Congress on Friday that the bureau had reopened its investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
Campaign chairman John Podesta called the reaction to Comey’s announcement “overblown” and campaign manager Robby Mook said Comey’s decision to send the letter was “completely unfair” to Clinton and to voters.
“It’s completely unfair to Sec. Clinton and completely unfair to voters,” Mook said. “There’s no reason he had to send this letter.”
Comey announced that the FBI is now reviewing new documents it said were “pertinent” to the Clinton email investigation. Comey had previously announced in July that the investigation was closed.
The Clinton campaign called on Comey to release more information on what the FBI has.
“By providing selective information, [Comey] has allowed partisans to distort and exaggerate in order to inflict maximum political damage,” Podesta said. “And no one can separate what is true from what is not because Comey has not been forthcoming with the facts. What little Comey has told us makes it hard to understand why this step was warranted at all.”
Comey told Congress that the team in charge of looking into Clinton’s server briefed him Thursday on new emails it found “in connection with an unrelated case.”
Podesta suggested that the emails the FBI has could be duplicates of ones Clinton has already released.
The emails were uncovered after the FBI seized devices belonging to Huma Abedin and her husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, reports said. Prosecutors issued a subpoena for Weiner’s mobile phone and other records in late September amid allegations that he had been sexting with a 15-year-old girl.
“There’s no evidence of wrongdoing, no charge of wrongdoing, no indication that this is even about Hillary,” Podesta said. “It’s hard to see how this amounts to anything and we’re not going to be distracted, and Hillary is not going to be distracted in the final days of this election, over nothing.”
Podesta said the campaign stands behind Abedin, who has cooperated “fully” with the FBI investigation.
Comey has faced criticism for making a statement about the investigation even though the FBI doesn’t typically comment on ongoing investigations. He said in a letter to his employees that he felt an “obligation” to tell Congress about the investigation because he “testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed.”
Podesta blasted the decision.
“Director Comey was the one who wrote a letter that was light on facts, heavy on innuendo, knowing full well what Republicans in Congress would do with it,” he said. “It’s now up to him to give the public answers to the questions that are now on the table.”
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.
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