President Barack Obama in an interview that aired Friday appeared to question the decision by FBI Director James Comey to inform members of Congress that emails have been found that could be related to the Hillary Clinton investigation.
Obama told MSNBC host Al Sharpton that "Jim Comey is a good man. And I do not believe that he is in any way trying to influence the election one way or another."
But Comey’s decision has been attacked by those who say the letter is vague and open to misinterpretation so close to a pivotal U.S. presidential election.
Obama said that traditionally investigators and prosecutors have been independent of politics and "What I have said is I want all of us to think about maintaining these norms."
"When you are investigating a case then unless you have unearthed something, you need to just do your job,” Obama in Friday’s interview.
"If there are things that you think are worth presenting, then you present them to a prosecutor. The prosecutor then makes a judgment," Obama said. "The prosecutor can make a decision either to file a charge or not to file a charge."
Comey’s letter to Congress failed to specify what relevance, if any, the discovery might have to the probe into Clinton’s use of a private server, but said the emails “appear to be pertinent” to the past investigation.
The Justice Department opposed Comey’s decision to inform members of Congress of the relevation of emails discovered on a laptop used by Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, senior officials familiar with the discussions have said.
The emails were found as the FBI investigated Weiner’s alleged sexting with an underage girl, law enforcement sources have said.
Comey concluded that informing Congress was better than waiting until after the election and hoping in the meantime that the fact of the discovery wouldn't leak, the senior officials said.
"We give enormous power to our law enforcement officials to keep us safe, to do a great job to protect us," Obama said. "But we also put these norms and rules in place, some of them written some of them not, to protect any of us from innuendo or worse."