James Comey Says He’s ‘Mildly Nauseous’ Over Potentially Swaying Election

But FBI Director says he stands by his decision to announce new Hillary Clinton investigation before election

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In front of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said he doesn’t regret announcing a new investigation into presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails shortly before the 2016 election.

“Look, this is terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” Comes said, according to CNN. “But honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein from California asked Comey why he thought it was “necessary” to make the announcement to Congress without all the proper information.

“Why was it necessary to announce 11 days before a presidential election that you were opening an investigation on a new computer without any knowledge of what was in that computer, why didn’t you just do the investigation as you would normally with no public announcement?” she asked.

Comey said that when looking at Anthony Weiner’s computer for the first time, investigators saw thousands of Clinton’s emails, including what they thought would be the missing emails from her first three months as Secretary of State. The investigators and the Justice Department agreed that they should get a search warrant.

The search was related to an investigation into Weiner’s possible inappropriate communications with a minor. He was married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

That’s when Comey was faced with a tough choice.

“I’ve lived my entire career by the tradition that if you could possibly avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to an election that might have an impact,” he said.

Comey’s argument comes down to how he weighed his two options, which he agreed were both horrible. He ultimately decided that not announcing a significant change in an already-closed investigation would be “catastrophic,” or the lesser of two evils.

Comey added that even with the benefit of hindsight, he would still make the same decision. He added that while there was enormous debate in his ranks, they concluded that not doing so would be “the death of the FBI as an independent institution.”

“You took an enormous gamble,” Feinstein said. “The gamble was that there was something there that would invalidate her candidacy and there wasn’t. So one has to look at that action and say ‘did it affect the campaign?’ and I think most people who have looked at it say yes.”

Clinton agreed with Feinstein. She told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at a Women for Women event that the last-minute interference had a significant impact on her campaign.

“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” she said.

“It wasn’t a perfect campaign — there is no such thing — but I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off,” she added.