Comey’s claim to Congress about Clinton aide’s emails wasn’t true

FBI Director James Comey is making a dramatic appearance Monday, March 20, 2017 before the House Intelligence Committee and is expected to publicly reject President Donald Trump's claims that he was wiretapped by his predecessor, Barack Obama. (File Photo)

WASHINGTON — FBI Director James Comey erroneously told Congress last week that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop — and the bureau is looking for a way to clean up the error, according to officials familiar with the matter.

The emails were forwarded to Anthony Weiner’s computer via a backup system for her phone, US officials told CNN last fall. Some, though far fewer than the “hundreds and thousands” Comey described, may have been sent in order to be printed, the officials say.

The emails weren’t marked as classified, though the FBI later found classified information contained in some emails recovered from Weiner’s laptop. The discovery of the emails last October prompted Comey to alert Congress, days before the presidential election, that the FBI had reopened its probe of Clinton’s private email server.

Some Democrats and Clinton herself have blamed her election loss at least partly on Comey’s decision to update Congress about the newly found emails. The FBI ended its investigation of the emails without changing its conclusion that no charges should be brought against Clinton or anyone else.

Nick Merrill, a spokesman for the former secretary of state, compared Comey’s statements to Clinton’s marathon testimony at a 2015 hearing over the Benghazi terrorist attacks.

“Imagine for a moment if Hillary Clinton had said something this inaccurate when she testified for 11 hours,” Merrill tweeted.

CNN has reached out to Abedin for comment.

ProPublica first reported the FBI’s internal debate about whether to correct Comey’s testimony at a Senate hearing.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of emails that Comey incorrectly said were forwarded. It was hundreds and thousands.

CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.