President Obama on Wednesday appeared to criticize the way FBI Director James Comey disclosed a new review of information possibly linked to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCommunion vote puts spotlight on Hispanic Catholics Trump's biggest political obstacle is Trump The Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them MORE’s private email server.

In his first public comments on the decision, Obama told NowThis News he did not want to interfere with the investigation. But he said it’s important that the public’s judgment not be colored by incomplete information.


“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo,” Obama said in the interview published Wednesday. “We don’t operate on incomplete information. We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.” 

The president noted that Comey himself decided not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton for mishandling classified information on her private email server while secretary of State.  

“When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion ... was that, you know, she made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was, you know, prosecutable,” Obama said. 

Comey has endured a firestorm of criticism after he sent a letter to Congress last Friday saying that his agency was probing messages that could be linked to the investigation into Clinton’s server. 

The disclosure, made less than two weeks before Election Day, boosted the campaign of Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald Trump Pence said he's 'proud' Congress certified Biden's win on Jan. 6 Americans put the most trust in their doctor for COVID-19 information: poll OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Biden administration to evacuate Afghans who helped US l Serious differences remain between US and Iran on nuclear talks l US, Turkish officials meet to discuss security plans for Afghan airport MORE.

Clinton and other top Democrats have slammed Comey for being vague about how exactly, the messages were linked to the Clinton email investigation. 

The messages were reportedly discovered in an unrelated investigation of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Democrats have also said Comey is violating Justice Department policy against making investigative decisions that could be seen as influencing the outcome of an election. 

Obama would not say specifically whether he believed Comey did so. 

“Well, you know, I’ve made a very deliberate effort to make sure that I don’t look like I’m meddling in what are supposed to be independent processes for making these assessments,” the president said. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday Obama believed Comey was not intentionally trying to tip the scales in the election. 

Earnest called Comey “a man of integrity” and a “man of good character” but acknowledged that “he’s in a tough spot” when it comes to the Clinton email probe.

The FBI probe has added discomfort to Obama’s final-week push for Clinton’s presidential campaign, which includes stops in seven cities in three battleground states over five days.

But the president said he has “absolute confidence” in his former secretary of State’s judgment and integrity. 

“I trust her,” Obama said. “I wouldn’t be supporting her if I didn’t have absolute confidence in her integrity and her interest in making sure young people have a better future.”

Obama also called the controversy surrounding her email server overblown.  

“The fact of the matter is that Hillary Clinton, having been in the arena for 30 years, oftentimes gets knocked around and people say crazy stuff about her,” he said. “And when she makes a mistake, an honest mistake, it ends up being blown up as if it’s just some crazy thing.”

Updated at 11:41 a.m.