President Barack Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Florida last week. On Wednesday, Obama was critical of FBI Director James Comey's admission of new Clinton emails that require invetigating. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama criticized FBI Director James Comey's decision Friday to publicly disclose the FBI's renewed interest in Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server so close to an election.
"I do think that there is a norm that, when there are investigations, we don't operate on innuendo, we don't operate on incomplete information, we don't operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made," Obama said in an interview with NowThis News, broadcast online Wednesday.
Democrats have sharply criticized Comey for writing a letter to congressional leaders in which he stated the FBI came across new emails that "appear relevant" to their previously concluded investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information on an unsecured private server, rather than a protected government email system. Comey's letter, released Friday, came a little more than a week before the election and Comey said it may be impossible to know whether there is anything in the new batch of emails that might change his department's finding that Clinton's email use was "extremely careless" but not criminal.
"When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn't anything there that was prosecutable," Obama said.
Obama also reiterated his position from a 2015 interview, before the findings of the FBI investigation were announced, that he does not believe Clinton's private email server jeopardized national security.
"I don't think it posed a national security problem," Obama said at the time, taking a position on an investigation the FBI had not yet completed.
Obama's comments went further than the White House had been willing to go in speaking about Comey and the re-opening of the investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, White House spokesman John Earnest said Obama had no position on the FBI investigation.