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James Comey. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In a Tuesday interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, former FBI Director James Comey conceded that his decision to announce in October 2016 that the FBI was reopening an investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server may have helped Trump win the election, but defended it as "the least terrible option."

Amanpour: "Do you ever think that you might be responsible for the election of President Trump? Does that keep you up at night?"
Comey: "Sure. And I hope someday somebody proves that we were irrelevant. ... I hope we had no impact. I hope it's proven that it was irrelevant. But all it does is increase the pain. It doesn't change how I think about the decision. My view and the view of my team was: I cannot conceal from the American people that the investigation we told them, and fought to tell them, is done, is done, is done — is not done, and the result could change."

What else: Comey also said Attorney General William Barr "deserves the benefit of the doubt" with respect to redacting certain parts of the Mueller report before releasing it. "Give him a chance to show us what he feels like he can't show us," Comey said during the interview.

  • Last week, Comey pushed back against Barr's decision not to pursue obstruction charges against Trump. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has indicated that he plans to question Comey in a new probe of the FBI's decision to open an investigation into Trump.

Go deeper: Comey calls Mueller's position on Trump obstruction charges "confusing"

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump’s friends worry legal pick for N.Y. case lacks experience

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Close associates and advisers to Donald Trump tell Axios they're concerned by his decision to use a relatively inexperienced New Jersey attorney, Alina Habba, in his high-stakes legal fight against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why it matters: A former president typically has access to the country's most prestigious experts, including lawyers. Trump has turned to the former general counsel for a parking garage company, who works from a small law office near his Bedminster, N.J., country club.

U.S. charges 4 Belarus officials with air piracy in journalist's arrest

A Boeing 737-8AS Ryanair passenger plane from Athens, Greece, that was diverted to Minsk, Belarus, in May. Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Thursday charged four Belarusian government officials with conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy as part of an operation to arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist.

Why it matters: Prosecutors say the officials fabricated a bomb threat aboard a Ryanair flight carrying the journalist Raman Pratasevich last May, forcing it to land in Minsk, Belarus instead.

40 mins ago - World

What Putin's Ukraine options look like

Russia President Vladimir Putin confers with defense minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty

The Biden administration is framing Russian escalation in Ukraine as almost a foregone conclusion, but the Russians are still at the table and Vladimir Putin may be seeking concessions from the West rather than a military confrontation with Kyiv.

Driving the news: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Friday in Geneva, contended in a speech Thursday from Berlin that Putin's intentions are clear: "He's laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation."