President Obama breaks silence on Comey for first time -- "We don't operate on innuendo" ... Here's what he said: https://t.co/zEp13uqCrR
- Jason Morrell (@CNNJason) November 2, 2016
President Obama briefly addressed the FBI's reopened probe into Hillary Clinton's email practices for the first time, saying in an interview posted Wednesday that the agency does not "operate on innuendo."
"I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don't operate on innuendo, and we don't operate on incomplete information, and we don't operate on leaks," Obama said in the interview with NowThisNews, which was filmed Tuesday. "We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly last time the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn't anything there that was prosecutable."
FBI Director James B. Comey's surprise announcement Friday that agents would suddenly review thousands of emails potentially related to the Democratic presidential nominee that were discovered as part of a separate inquiry into former congressman Anthony Weiner has prompted strong criticism of the FBI. Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have questioned whether Comey violated Justice Department policies by making a decision so closed to Election Day that risked shaking up a political campaign.
Obama has been reluctant to weigh in on an active FBI investigation over concerns that he would be perceived to be politicizing the case. This week, press secretary Josh Earnest said the White House would neither "defend nor criticize" Comey's actions. Earnest also referred to the FBI chief as a man of integrity and good character.
"The president doesn't believe that [Comey] is secretly strategizing to benefit one candidate or one political party," Earnest said. "He's in a tough spot, and he's the one who will be in a position to defend his actions in the face of significant criticism from a variety of legal experts, including individuals who served in senior Department of Justice positions in administrations led by presidents in both parties."