Under fire from Democrats, FBI Director James Comey insisted during repeated questions Wednesday he was consistent in disclosing information about an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails before Election Day while keeping quiet about a probe into possible contacts between Russian Federation and the Donald Trump's campaign.
That matters because FBI Director James Comey's public testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee was seen as a warmup for his closed-session appearance Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee as it reopens its stalled investigation into Russian meddling in last year's US presidential election.
Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California disputed Comey's decisions on the inquiry into Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
But Mr Comey said he thought concealing the discovery of new Hillary Clinton emails would have been "catastrophic". Though officials found many new emails, there was nothing to change the FBI's decision from July not to recommend charges, Comey said.
Democratic senators questioned Comey about why he made public the Clinton investigation but waited until after the election to divulge information about the Russian Federation and Trump probe.
This was awful. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election, but honestly, it wouldn't change the decision. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election.
The emails found on the computer did not change the determination of the FBI's probe, and Clinton went on to lose the election to Donald Trump.
"I don't want to hear that this was the best we could do with what we had", he said.
The about-turn followed the discovery of missing Clinton emails with classified material on the laptop of a former congressman, on October 27 previous year - barely 10 days before the election.
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Comey, who said he cares "deeply" about press freedom, further remarked that WikiLeaks pushes out "information to damage the United States".
"The most important investigation the FBI is now conducting is into Russia's interference in our last presidential election", Sen.
On Wednesday, Grassley asked Comey about a document the FBI obtained that influenced his thinking in the Clinton investigation. "We need the F.B.I.to be accountable because we need the F.B.I.to effective", said Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the committee, Senator Charles Grassley.
Comey said the Russian Federation investigation at the time was in its early stages and classified, unlike the finished Clinton investigation.
Still, what Comey calls concealment the Justice Department calls following standard protocol.
While this is usually a routine, annual hearing, on Wednesday, Comey spent much of his time defending himself against Hillary Clinton's statements Tuesday that she lost because of his interference.
Comey's defense came a day after former Democratic candidate Clinton said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief's move along with Russian meddling cost her the presidency.
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. Which is the reason that House Russia investigators asked Comey to return Thursday for a closed-door briefing where, they hope, he will be able to answer some of their questions.