Speaking on Capitol Hill Thursday morning in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI Director James Comey revealed former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to call the probe into former Secretary of State and then Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton a “matter,” not a criminal investigation.
“She [Lynch] told me to call it a matter, which confused and concerned me. But that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the [Justice] Department if we’re to close this case credibly,” Comey said. “We had an open criminal investigation.”
“Yes. In an ultimately conclusive way, that was the thing that capped it for me, that I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the FBI and the Justice Department,” Comey said.
“Were there other things that contributed to that that you can describe in an open session?” Burr asked.
Comey said the one he could speak out about was an unusual directive from Lynch.
“At one point, the attorney general had directed me not to call it an investigation but instead to call it a matter, which confused me and concerned me,” Comey said. “But that was one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude I have to step away from the department if we’re to close this case credibly.”