Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch's instruction last year to call the Hillary Clinton email investigation a "matter" "confused" and "concerned" him.
Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.) asked Comey if his decision to make public remarks about the Clinton email investigation last July was influenced by Lynch's private tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton in the midst of the probe.
"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."