Comey’s Gamble To Defend FBI’s Reputation

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FBI director James Comey’s decision to hold yesterday’s news conference on the Hillary Clinton email investigation came after bureau leaders decided after weeks of discussion that the FBI couldn’t simply conduct its probe behind closed doors and then kick the decision across Pennsylvania Avenue to what’s known as “Main Justice.” To defend the FBI’s independence and future credibility and avoid the perception that its investigation had been politically influenced, he had to account for its own work, Politico reports.

Comey’s extended comments were a gamble: He understood that if he backed the FBI’s investigation forcefully with his own reputation, he could likely blunt harm to the bureau’s long-standing stature as an apolitical investigator. Clinton critic Rush Limbaugh praised him in April, saying that Comey “really is a guy with impeccable integrity, especially measured against most people in Washington.” Comey understood that he had to address fears within the bureau that the agency was giving a pass to someone who broke the law.


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