Comey hearing: FBI chief defends 'right choice' on handling Clinton email probe

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FBI Director James Comey defended his decision to disclose the agency was restarting its probe into Hillary Clinton's email use just days before last year's election while not disclosing a separate probe into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

In four hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey delivered his most impassioned defense yet of a decision that many Democrats believe cost them the White House: telling Congress 11 days before the November 8 election that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had uncovered a new trove of Clinton-related emails.

Under fire from Democrats, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday it would have been "catastrophic" to keep Congress in the dark about developments in the Hillary Clinton email investigation that emerged close to Election Day.

Comey's remarks were his first public comment on his decision to reopen the Clinton email investigation, which came after FBI agents discovered new communications connected to the former secretary of state's private server.

Mr Comey told the Senate panel he felt he had to speak out previous year about the email probe because he had repeatedly told Congress the investigation was over.

The FBI obtained a warrant to search the laptop and sifted through thousands of emails, Comey said, including ones with classified information that had been forwarded to the laptop by Abedin to be printed out.

On March 20, Comey had disclosed during testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was investigating whether members of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign had colluded with Russian intelligence to help tilt the election in their favor, according to The New York Times.

Comey tried to convince senators he made the right choice.

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Comey also made it clear in the hearing that Russian Federation, which USA intelligence agencies concluded hacked Democratic operatives' emails to aid Trump's campaign, remains a threat.

Comey indicated that he was already moving towards a decision to announce the investigation's conclusion on his own because he believed top DOJ officials couldn't do it and be viewed as impartial. "I just want to know what is going on here", Graham said Tuesday.

"A huge portion of WikiLeaks has nothing to do with legitimate news-gathering and is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States", Comey said.

He said that the FBI does not expect to divulge anything about the Russian Federation investigation until it is completed.

"If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president", she said in NY on Tuesday, referring to the day before Mr Comey notified Congress of the discovery of new emails. Comey says that other than revealing the Trump investigation exists, no other information would be discussed until it is closed. It was then that Comey revealed that the FBI had launched a counterintelligence investigation that could result in criminal charges against members of Trump's campaign.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told Comey he had a different take on the Clinton email investigation. He likened what the website does to "intelligence porn".

Conaway's role in the March hearing was most notable for his use of a Texas Tech-Texas football analogy to describe Russian meddling on behalf of Trump.

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