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Story highlights

The FBI director said the investigation was carried out without giving Clinton special treatment

"You can call us wrong, but don't call us weasels," James Comey said

(CNN) —  

FBI Director James Comey’s agents aren’t weasels, he told lawmakers Wednesday.

Comey was defending his agency’s actions regarding a federal probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The investigation drew criticism from Republicans for not recommending charges against the Democratic presidential nominee.

“You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels,” he told the House Judiciary Committee. “We are not weasels, we are honest people and we did this in that way.”

RELATED: FBI releases notes from Clinton email investigation

He added that the investigation was carried out without giving Clinton special treatment, with the bureau adhering to strict policies while conducting the probe.

“We do not carry water for one side or the other. That’s hard for people to see because so much of our country we see things through sides,” he said. “We are not on anybody’s side. This was done exactly the way you would want it to be done. That said, questions are fair, feedback is fair.”

Comey has long defended the bureau’s investigation – which has since been closed – into Clinton’s private email server, saying in July that though the former secretary of state had been “extremely careless” with her emails, there was no clear evidence that she or her staffers had violated any laws.

This story has been updated.