WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — Former FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch told him to call the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails “a matter” instead of “and investigation.”

Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said it “concerned” him because “we were at the point where we had refused to confirm the existence, as we typically do, of an investigation for months and it was getting to a place where that looked silly.”

“We were getting to a place where the attorney general and I were both going to have to testify and talk publicly about it and I wanted to know was she going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation and she said ‘Yes, but don’t call it that, call it a matter,'” Comey said. “And I said, ‘Why would I do that?’ And she said, ‘Just call it a matter.'”

“We had an investigation open at the time,” he added. “So that gave me a queasy feeling.”

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He also said one reason he publicly announced his findings in the email case was an impromptu meeting between former President Bill Clinton and Lynch on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport.

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“That was the thing that capped it for me, that I had to do something separately to protect the credibility of the investigation, which meant both the FBI and the Justice Department,” he said.

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Lynch has said he didn’t discuss the email investigation during the meeting.