Holder Defends Comey Drafting Exoneration Before Completing Clinton Investigation

October 18, 2017

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that former FBI Director James Comey should have been able to come to determinations about the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server before interviewing her.

Holder was appointed attorney general in the Obama Administration and had thus worked with Comey, although he had been replaced by Loretta Lynch by the time Comey was investigating Clinton’s server. As a former head of the Justice Department, Holder took no issue with the fact that Comey was drafting his statement before interviewing Clinton.

"You can make determinations about where an investigation is likely to go before you actually speak to the subject of that investigation," Holder said. "That inquiry had been underway for an extended period of time."

Holder said his "guess" is that Comey understood where the investigation was going after a certain amount of work had been done.

"A lot of resources had been used," he added. "A lot of people had been spoken to. A lot of documents had been reviewed. So you can get to, you know, pretty close to the end of an investigation and understand where you're going to go with it before you actually talk to the subject of the investigation."

Tapper also asked Holder about his criticism of Comey for making a statement exonerating Clinton that nevertheless seemed critical of her. Holder stood by that judgment but said he trusted Comey’s integrity.

"He's an honest guy, and the determination that he made and I think inappropriately announced, I think is based on the facts, based on his interpretation of the law, and it was nothing more than that," Holder said. "It was a good-faith assessment by a person who I think has done a lot for this country."

Previously, Holder said he could not defend Comey’s handling of the investigation.