John Podesta, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, says that FBI director James Comey may have caved to anti-Clinton “forces within the FBI” prior to the election by reopening the federal investigation into her emails just days before the election.
Podesta offered the theory at an event hosted by NewCo with Bloomberg News’ John Heilemann.
“I think there’s sort of two possibilities,” Podesta said when asked why he believes Comey reopened the investigation in October after closing it in July.
“There are at least forces within the FBI that wanted her to lose. I’m not sure they really understood the alternative, but they wanted her to lose. I think that’s one possibility.”
“I think the other is it’s just become a cover-your-ass organization, and there was pressure coming up from underneath [Comey], and he succumbed to that pressure,” added Podesta, whose hacked emails were released by WikiLeaks before the election.
Podesta has been heavily critical of Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation. The Obama appointee did so after federal agents discovered emails from Clinton’s account on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Weiner’s wife is Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide who frequently emailed with the former secretary of state.
Podesta has also publicly lamented what he says has been a double standard regarding the FBI probe of Clinton’s emails and its investigation into potential links between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
“It’s inexplicable,” Podesta said of the differences in the investigations.
“But he made a bad judgment, and I think virtually anybody who has opined on the topic — including Republicans who served in both Bush administrations and the Reagan administration — have said it was a terrible mistake of judgment,” argued Podesta.
“And I think it did terrible damage to us. If you look at the polling at that period time, that’s when the race began to tighten in that week.”