FBI Director James B. Comey said Wednesday that he is not letting political events dictate a deadline for completing the bureau’s investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information involving Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t tether to any particular external deadline,” Comey said during a roundtable with reporters.
Comey said there was “pressure” to do the investigation promptly and well.
“In any investigation, especially one of intense public interest . . . we want to do it well, and we want to do it promptly,” he said. “So I feel pressure to do both of those things. . . . But as between the two, we will always choose well.”
The FBI is investigating the security of a private email server used by Clinton and whether the former secretary of state or her aides mishandled classified information.
Investigators have found scant evidence tying Clinton to criminal wrongdoing, although they are still working on the case and charges have not been ruled out, officials have said.
They have also been interviewing former aides to Clinton, including Cheryl Mills, who served as chief of staff while Clinton was secretary of state.
Prosecutors and FBI agents hope to be able to interview Clinton as they try to wrap up the investigation. There is no indication that a grand jury has been convened in the case.
On Wednesday, Comey generally declined to address questions related to the investigation, but he did say he was unfamiliar with the term “security inquiry,” which the Clinton campaign has used to describe the probe.
“We’re conducting an investigation,” he said. “That’s the bureau’s business. That’s what we do. . . . It’s in our name.”
A Washington Post analysis of Clinton’s publicly released correspondence found that as secretary of state, Clinton wrote 104 emails that she sent using her private server and that the government has since said contain classified information. The Post also found emails with classified information written by about 300 other people inside and outside the government.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Ellen Nakashima