If you had any doubt left about whether FBI Director James Comey intentionally helped Trump during the time leading up to the election, you can consider that doubt removed. On Tuesday, Comey came under fire from a Democratic senator for refusing to say if the agency is investigating Donald Trump’s campaign connection to the hacking operation spearheaded by Vladimir Putin.
“As you know, the Russian foreign minister was quoted in various news reports saying that the Russians had had contacts with people associated with the Trump campaign,” Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said during Comey’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Now that may or may not be true … My question to Director Comey is: Has the FBI investigated these reported relationships and, if so, what are the agencies finding?”
“I would never comment on investigation whether we have one or not in an open forum like this,” Comey replied. “I really can’t answer one way or another.”
Unless you have a very short memory, you are probably aware that Comey broke Justice Department protocol when he sent a letter to Republicans last year indicating that the FBI had discovered emails “pertinent” to an investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. After right-wing media and Donald Trump used Comey’s controversial letter to create a false narrative that evidence had been uncovered of some sort of wrongdoing, Comey was forced to admit that Clinton committed no criminal wrongdoing. Unfortunately, the damage was already done.
“Will you provide an unclassified response to these questions and release it to the American people prior to January 20?” Wyden asked.
“Sir, I will answer any question you ask, but the answer will likely be the same as I just gave you. I can’t talk about it,” Comey told the Senator, who had finally had enough of the suddenly evasive Comey — a man who only a little over a month ago was willing to break protocol in what was clearly an attempt to hurt Hillary Clinton:
“I will tell you that I think the American people have a right to know this. And if there is delay in declassifying this information and relaying it to the American people, releasing it to the American people. That doesn’t happen before January 20, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.”
If information is not released before January 20, it is likely that Senator Wyden is correct that it may never happen — and Comey’s evasiveness only lends to the fairly concrete theory that he knowingly interfered with the election by helping Trump build his propaganda campaign.
Watch it happen below:
Featured image via screengrab