Ahead of former FBI Director James Comey's highly anticipated book release, Axios published a number of excerpts from the book, which detail some of Comey's thoughts and regrets about his handling of the FBI's Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Has Comey ever met Clinton?
According to the former FBI director, he has never met Clinton, though he tried when he was appointed U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Comey says he is unsure why Clinton refused to meet with him, but he believes it had to do with an investigation he was leading at the time.
"After a number of attempts and multiple messages with Clinton’s office, we gave up. It wasn’t a big deal at the time, but I found it odd. To this day, I don’t know why the meeting never happened," Comey writes.
What does Comey regret?
Comey says he intentionally wore a gold tie on July 5, 2016, the day he announced no charges against Clinton because he did not want to appear biased with a red or blue tie. Still, Comey says he has two major regrets about that day.
First, Comey says he regrets teasing the announcement of no charges. His family has since teased him that he was "Seacresting" — a reference to "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, who is known for his dramatic teases.
"My thinking was that if I started with the conclusion that we were recommending no charges, nobody would listen to the rest of what I said," Comey explains. "[I]f I had it to do over again, I would do some things differently. I would avoid the 'Seacresting' mistake by saying at the beginning of my statement that we weren’t recommending charges."
Second, and "most important," Comey says he regrets his choice of language when describing Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state.
"More important, I would have tried to find a better way to describe Secretary Clinton’s conduct than 'extremely careless,'" Comey says in his book.
However, from the Axios report, it's not sure if Comey elaborated and believes the language was too strong or not strong enough.
Would Comey do anything different?
Comey says he is satisfied with his leadership in the situation and writes that he wouldn't do much different if he could.
"I think different choices would have resulted in greater damage to our country’s institutions of justice, but I’m not certain of that. I pray no future FBI director is forced to find out," Comey says.
Indeed, according to Comey, former President Barack Obama, who appointed Comey to be FBI director, shares Comey's sentiment. Comey details an interaction he had with Obama in the Oval Office after the election where Obama said he didn't regret appointing Comey despite everything that had happened.
From Comey's book:
In late November, after the election, I was in the Oval Office for a national security meeting with the president and other senior leaders. As the meeting broke up, he asked me to stay behind. I sat on the couch, back to the grandfather clock. He sat in his normal chair, back to the fireplace. The White House photographer Pete Souza lingered to record the moment, but the president shooed him away. Within seconds, it was just the two of us.
President Obama then leaned forward, forearms on his knees. He started with a long preamble, explaining that he wasn’t going to talk to me about any particular case or particular investigation.
Obama then said: "I just want to tell you something ... I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability ... I want you to know that nothing — nothing — has happened in the last year to change my view."
Comey's book, "A Higher Loyalty," releases Tuesday.