Yesterday former FBI director James Comey underwent 2 hours of questioning before the Senate Intelligence Committee over his role leading the FBI during the 2016 presidential election season that saw an unprecedented cyber attack by Russia to boost the chances of Republican candidate Donald Trump winning the White House.
Comey admitted that he has no doubt Russia attempted to interfere during the 2016 elections.
“The Russians interfered in our election during the 2016 cycle. They did it with purpose. They did it with sophistication. They did it with overwhelming technical efforts. And it was an active-measures campaign driven from the top of that government.” Comey said.
Comey pointed out the members of Senate Intelligence Committee have seen the intelligence.
When asked if any individual working for the Trump administration, including the Justice Department, had requested him to stop the Russian investigation, Comey replied, “No.”
Comey denied that President Trump was directly under FBI investigation and admitted he did not have a counterintelligence file case open on then-President-elect Trump.
Comey explained that he was confused by the initial explanation Trump offered publicly when he was fired in May along with some mixed excuses given for the reasons behind his firing.
“So it confused me when I saw on television the president saying that he actually fired me because of the Russia investigation and learned, again, from the media that he was telling, privately, other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the Russia investigation.
President Trump’s Attorney Marc Kasowitz gave a public statement following Comey’s testimony, rejecting the basis of his claims about President Trump telling him “to let Flynn go” and requesting him to pledge his loyalty.
“Consistent with that statement, President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr. Comey ‘let Flynn Go’ ” Kasowitz said.
“The President also never told Mr. Comey, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty’ in form or substance” Kasowitz added.
Comey said that President Trump kept coming back to him saying “I need loyalty.” “I expect loyalty.”
Comey denied that he ever had any of those kind of requests made before, from anyone else he’d worked for in the government.
“No, and what made me uneasy was I’m, at that point, the director of the FBI. The reason that Congress created a ten-year term is so that the director is not feeling as if they’re serving at — with political loyalty owed to any particular person” Comey said.
Comey said that FBI has tens of thousands of ongoing investigations, at any time and explained that President Trump has never asked him about any other ongoing investigation.
Flynn FBI Probe
Comey pointed out that General Flynn was in “serious legal jeopardy” when President Trump asked him to let General Flynn go from the FBI probe that was part of the larger FBI investigation related to Russian interference.
“There was an open FBI criminal investigation of his statements in connection with the Russian contacts and the contacts themselves. And so that was my assessment at the time” Comey said.
Asked if the President was trying to obstruct justice, or just seek for a way for Mike Flynn to save face, given he had already been fired, Comey avoided giving an answer and said that a special counsel will try to determine if his intention was sufficient to pursue obstruction of justice.
“I don’t think it’s for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct. I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work towards, to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that’s an offense.” Comey said.
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Here’s my latest You Tube Video where I provide some commentary about Comey’s testimony