Orlando, Nov 3 The FBI operates on "concrete decisions" and not on incomplete information or leaks, US President Barack Obama has said as he spoke for the first time on the reopened investigation against Hillary Clinton's alleged email scandal by the country's top domestic intelligence agency.
Obama appeared to be critical of FBI director James B Comey in his remarks even though the White House refuted that the president's statement gave any such impression.
"I do think that there is a norm that, you know, when there are investigations, we don't operate on innuendo. We don't operate on incomplete information. We don't operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made," he said yesterday.
Declaring that he had made a deliberate effort to make sure that it did not look like he was "meddling" in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments, Obama also expressed his confidence in Hillary.
"Setting aside the particulars of this case. I know that she is somebody who has always looked out for the interest of America and the American people first," Obama told NowThis in an interview.
Citing the conclusions of FBI, Justice Department and repeated congressional investigations he said, Hillary had made some "mistakes" but there was not anything there that was prosecutable.
The White House, however, refuted that the Obama's weighing in on the issues reflected that he was critical of the FBI's decision in this regard.
"Nothing changed. If you read the full transcript of the President's remarks, you will see that the President went out of his way that he wasn't going to comment on any specific investigation. The President said that a couple of times," White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters travelling with the President.
"We are not going to be in a position to defend or criticise the FBI Director. That is our view. But what is also true, and what Josh said on Monday and what the President reiterated yesterday, is that we do take seriously these longstanding norms and customs that historically limit the sort of public speculation and public discussion of facts and materials that are collected in the context of a law enforcement investigation," Schultz said.
What the President was talking about was the importance of adhering to those norms and practices that have governed the rule of law for a long time now, he stressed.
"I'll also say that the President believes these customs shouldn't only apply to someone who's famous or if an election is around the corner, but these are principles worth upholding no matter the circumstances surrounding any particular investigation," he asserted.
Obama arrived in Miami, Florida yesterday evening for addressing several election rallies scheduled for today.