Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said Tuesday on CNN he agreed with James Comey's description of himself as an "honest idiot."
The former FBI Director, responding to Clinton's blistering criticism of his handling of her private email investigation, told USA Today he hoped she'd read the portion of his new book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, defending his actions regarding the probe.
"I think she will walk away saying, ‘You know what? I still think that guy's an idiot, but, you know, he's kind of an honest idiot. He's trying to do the right thing here, and I kind of get actually what he was faced with,'" Comey said.
After Wolf Blitzer played the clip for him and asked what Clinton's response would be, Podesta said, "I think she'll think she's an idiot."
"I've never attacked Mr. Comey for trying to do something that was for a partisan reason," Podesta said. "I think it was to some extent his arrogance that led him to make a very bad error of judgment … I guess I can agree with him that he's an honest idiot, but I thought he was an idiot in the context of this election, and that it was influential in the outcome."
Clinton claims Comey cost her the election with his October 28, 2016, letter to Congress announcing the reopening of her email investigation. Comey said he would still send the letter even if he knew it would help Donald Trump—who he now calls morally unfit to be president—and he's acknowledged Clinton's lead in the polls at the time played a role in his decision-making.
Podesta said he doubted Clinton would read Comey's new book.