Fired FBI Director James Comey testifies that he doesn’t remember key facts stated in IG report
Former FBI Director James Comey testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today that he didn’t remember being told about many of the red flags that were cited by the Inspector General report. The facts in question, of course, were the reasons used by the FBI for beginning and continuing the FBI investigation into possible collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
An Inspector General report found that evidence that would have exonerated one key figure in the Trump investigation, Carter Page, and evidence that cast doubt on the main document used to start the investigation, the Steele Dossier, was suppressed by FBI, in some cases illegally.
Comey, responding to inquiries by Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC), instead said that the investigation was called-for under the circumstances.
“In the main it was done by the book, it was appropriate and essential,” said Comey.
But when pressed repeatedly about evidence cited by the Inspector General that cast doubt on the charges, Comey came up blank, either not remembering that information or saying he couldn’t speculate on matters he has no knowledge of.
In the least-credible exchanges for Comey, he said he couldn’t remember being warned that either Russia had manufactured some information contained in the dossier as part of a disinformation campaign or being briefed by colleagues about signs that the Russia investigation was being used by the Clinton campaign as a distraction.
“Do you recall getting an inquiry from the intelligence community in September 2016 about a concern that the Clinton campaign was going to create a scandal regarding Trump and Russia?” asked Graham about an emerging revelation that the FBI was warned early on about a Clinton plan to distract from her own troubles caused by illegal use of a private email server.
“I do not,” said Comey.
Graham then read a report that stated the intelligence community forwarded information to Comey and the FBI’s Deputy of Counter Intelligence, Peter Strozk, in September 2016 regarding a warning of a Clinton plan to use Russia to distract people from the email investigation.
“That’s doesn’t ring a bell with me,” said Comey simply, shrugging his shoulders.
Previously, Comey had told the committee that he had a duty to investigate any wrong-doing of which the FBI became aware.
“Did you have any duty to look at any allegations regarding Clinton and Russia?” asked Graham.
“I don’t know what you mean,” said Comey looking confused.
Graham then laid out a memo from the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe that the intelligence community had information shared with Comey in September 2016 alleging that in July 2016, Hillary Clinton approved a plan “claiming Russian interference” in the U.S. election with the collusion of the Trump campaign.
“I can’t answer that,” said Comey. “I haven’t read Mr. Ratcliffe’s letter, which I have trouble understanding.”
Graham cast doubt on Comey during his testimony, noting it was strange that Comey seemed so ill-informed on many aspects of the most important investigation in the history of the FBI, if not the country.
PHOTO: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images
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