FBI Director James Comey privately argued that the United States government should not name the Russians for meddling in the U.S. elections because it was too close to Election Day.
In fact, this reasoning was so compelling for Comey that he ultimately ensured that the name of his agency was not on the document that the U.S. government released, according to a former FBI official who was interviewed by CNBC.
The official stated that some government insiders are perplexed that Comey would have election timing concerns when it came to the Russian disclosure, yet not with the Huma Abedin email disclosure which he made on Friday.
The Department of Homeland Security and The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued the statement as to the Russian involvement in the hacking of various Democratic groups. In their October 7th statement, the agencies said:
“The U.S. intelligence community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of emails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations. … These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”
The former official added that Comey agreed with the conclusion of the intelligence community: “A foreign power was trying to undermine the election. He believed it to be true, but was against putting it out before the election.” The official said that Comey’s position was that “if it is said, it shouldn’t come from the FBI, which as you’ll recall it did not.”
The official added that “by doing a press conference, and personally testifying and giving his opinion about the conduct, he made this about James Comey and his credibility. You can see why he did it, from his perspective, once he had had that press conference.”
The official also said that FBI investigators can get a “preliminary read” of the new emails that have come to light in a matter of a couple of days, including coming to an initial conclusion about whether there is classified material in the files. “The question is whether they will decide to share that read or not. Normally in the FBI, we would not. But we’re not in normal land anymore.”
Comey’s decision to announce the newly found emails in light of the fact that his agency did not know whether they would be pertinent and even then, whether they are ‘significant’ has been widely criticized by Democrats, former Department of Justice officials, and even some Republicans.
While the Clinton campaign has demanded that in light of the vague disclosure, it is now incumbent upon Comey to come forward with all of the information he has, the Trump campaign has supported Comey’s decision to not provide any more facts so far. To the Trump Campaign, less information is better than more as it allows the campaign to spin the issue into far fetched conspiracies.