Recap: Comey Grilled During Senate Hearing

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Discrepancies in Testimony

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Yesterday, September 30th, former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Comey appeared voluntarily, without being subpoenaed, to answer questions that have arisen over the last four years pertaining to his handling of the FBI investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane”. The focus of the questioning was on the document known as the “Steele Dossier”.

Chairman Graham began questioning Comey by asking him specific questions about the validity of the Steele Dossier. The Steele Dossier was the basis of a warrant to electronically surveil Carter Page. Page at one time was associated with the Trump campaign, although not at the time the request for the warrant was made. The FBI had long maintained that the Steele Dossier was merely a small part of the application, but the IG report that came out in December of 2019 said otherwise.

Graham asked Comey about the source of the dossier (Christopher Steele), questioning whether or not he knew that Steele was on record stating that he hated Donald Trump and desperately wanted Hillary Clinton to win the 2016 election. Comey blankly responded that he was unaware of any statements of that nature. Graham then asked him if Bruce Ohr notified the team of the inaccuracies of the report. Comey’s response was “No, not that I’m aware of.”

Watch the following video at 9:48:

Courtesy of Fox News

When asked if he knew that the subsource for the Dossier was a man that had been under investigation for being a Russian intelligence officer, Comey again said he knew nothing about it. In fact, Comey’s testimony was reduced to statements minimizing his role in the investigation, even after Graham reminded him that this could possibly be the most important investigation ever conducted in FBI history.

When the Page application was filed, FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith falsified the document to make it appear as though Page was not working for the CIA when, in fact, he did. When asked about this, Comey, again, looked confused and said that all he knew was what he had seen in the public record. It would be troubling if the director of the FBI knew nothing about this information and only knew what was available to the public, if that were the case. Graham then asked Comey if he knew who was responsible for putting the application together. Once again, he shrugged and said, ”No, all I know is what was in the I.G. Horowitz report.”

A Pounding by Senator Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) continued along the same line of inquiry, asking Mr. Comey if he felt that the investigation into the Trump campaign was handled competently and honestly. Comey responded that the investigation was merely looking into ties between American citizens and Russia, not Donald Trump. When asked about Clinesmith lying on the application, Comey was not in agreement that Clinesmith had lied. Cruz went on to specifically ask Comey regarding when he discovered the Steele dossier was funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign. He responded that all he knew was the dossier was funded by opposition research and not specifically the Clinton campaign.

One must ask how is it possible anyone who is paying attention would not know the document was funded by the Clinton campaign. When asked about this in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News sometime ago, Comey was asked the same question. He responded that he still didn’t know for sure if it was or not.

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Cruz further challenged Comey, asking why they had not included the information about the Clinton campaign. Comey replied that the application did state that it was written by a biased source and that that was sufficient. When Cruz asked him when he found out that the subsource was a Russian operative, Comey replied that has never been informed of that information. Cruz followed up by asking if he was currently aware of that information. Comey, again, replied that he only knew that because he learned of it in the “public sphere”. How can a man who is running the most premier law enforcement in the world, a man with access to classified information not know this information?

Comey’s False Testimony Exposed

Cruz went on to ask Comey if he had done any diligent questioning. He merely responded that he doesn’t know anything about the facts concerning the subsource. Cruz then shifted direction to Comey’s previous testimony in which he testified he never authorized anyone to leak information to the press about the Trump investigation or the Clinton e-mail investigation. He did this while reading testimony from former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that stated Director Comey had authorized him to leak information to the Wall Street Journal and noted that Director Comey directly authorized it.

“You’re Either Corrupt or Incompetent”

Senator Cruz then asked him how, in view of this information, one could discern who was telling the truth? Comey’s response was that he stands by the testimony he has given. This testimony gains importance as next week former Deputy Director McCabe will be testifying before this same committee and will be asked the same question. It will be interesting to see how it will be answered. Cruz concluded by telling Mr. Comey that the FBI investigation was corrupt and that the FBI and DOJ had been weaponized for political reasons. Cruz continued, saying ”Mr Comey, you’re either corrupt or completely incompetent and I don’t think you’re incompetent.”

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) wrapped things up by asking Director Comey why former Attorney General Sally Yates testified that he had “Gone rogue.” Comey replied that apparently she was unhappy that he didn’t consult with her before interviewing Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.
As the session neared its end, Senator Graham asked Comey about the Flynn investigation and the fact the lead investigator in the Flynn case stated that he didn’t feel Flynn had done anything wrong by talking to Ambassador Kislyak. He even went as far to say that the entire team was out to get Trump.

The Democrats echoed the same talking point regarding Inspector General Horowitz’ report, concluding he found there was no evidence of any conspiracy, a point they made repeatedly. However, they omitted that in his report, Horowitz never said there wasn’t a conspiracy, only that he was unable to prove a conspiracy as this would only been possible had someone confessed. The dismissive attitude demonstrated by Mr. Comey was shocking. In fact, Comey seemed to have contempt and disdain for the whole hearing. Over and over he relied on the old adage, “I’m sorry Senator, I have no recollection of these events”. His repeated declaration, “The only information I have is what I read in the press”, was unconvincing.

As of now, the committee has interviewed Rod Rosenstein, Sally Yates and, now, James Comey. Andrew McCabe is scheduled to testify next week. It will be interesting to hear Mr. McCabe’s testimony regarding whether or not Mr. Comey ordered him to leak to the press or not. One can assume that this will lead to more conflicting testimony, affecting the outcome of John Durham’s report on the origins of the Russia investigation. During the past few years, several people associated with the Trump campaign have been prosecuted for lying to the FBI or Congress. We will have to see if these government employees are held to the same standard. If past behavior dictates, the answer will likely be no!

Tom Roberts
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