So much so, that Comey wrote in his new book that he anxious the FBI, Justice Department and Clinton's potential presidency would face intense criticism if he hadn't announced the reopening of her private email server probe less than two weeks before the election.
Comey, who was sacked by Republican President Donald Trump last May, is doing a series of media interviews that coincide with the release next week of his book, "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership". But he said he also believed Clinton would still prove victorious.
Comey writes: "Assuming, as almost everyone did, that Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States in less than two weeks, what would happen to the FBI, the justice department or her own presidency if it later was revealed, after the fact, that she still was the subject of an FBI investigation?" But in a controversial move, Comey told Congress just days before the election that the FBI was reviewing additional emails in relation to the investigation.
As described in excerpts highlighted by The Washington Post, he said she took a "tortured half-out, half-in approach" to the Clinton email investigation.
What Comey did next - following a July news conference in which he branded Clinton's handling of classified material "extremely careless" - has left him vulnerable to accusations of having swayed the election.
Former FBI Director Comey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington Thomson Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former FBI Director James Comey said his assumption that Hillary Clinton would win the 2016 presidential election was a factor in opening an inquiry into her emails, according to part of an ABC interview broadcast on Saturday. In his new book, Comey admits he has some regrets about Clinton's private email server investigation. "It is entirely possible my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls". I don't know. I honestly don't know.
The belief that Clinton couldn't lose is the only way to make sense of what a lot of people said and did in October of 2016.