President Obama made his first public comment on the recent FBI/Clinton email hijinks, just days before the election.
"We don't operate on incomplete information," Obama said in an interview with NowThis News, released online today. "We don't operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made."
"I've made a very deliberate effort to make sure I don't look like I am meddling", President Barack Obama of the FBI's ongoing review of Hillary Clinton's emails.
"When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the F.B.I., the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn't anything there that was prosecutable," Mr. Obama said.
The president did not mention F.B.I. director James Comey, but it's clear who Obama was talking about.
'We don't operate on innuendo' — President Obama discusses Hillary, emails, and the FBI in an exclusive interview with NowThis pic.twitter.com/0J6tJyEYSh
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 2, 2016
From subsequent coverage of Obama's comments in this video interview, over at the New York Times:
White House officials later downplayed Mr. Obama's remarks about the F.B.I. and insisted he had not meant to criticize Mr. Comey.
"The president went out of his way to say he wouldn't comment on any particular investigations," Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, told reporters on Air Force One while Mr. Obama was en route to North Carolina to campaign for Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Schultz characterized Mr. Obama's remarks as mirroring those made in recent days by the White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, who had said that while the White House would not criticize Mr. Comey's decision to update Congress on the status of an ongoing investigation, Mr. Obama believed that rules intended to keep such investigations confidential were good ones and should be followed.