Updates From Hearing:
On his decision to announce the re-opening of the Hillary investigation:
In response to the very first question from Senator Feinstein, Comey explains his thought process leading up to his October 28th announcement that the FBI would be re-opening its investigation into Hillary's email scandal after 1,000s of new emails were found on Anthony Weiner's computer. While he said that the idea that his decision had any impact on the election makes him "mildly nauseous," he would make the same decision today.
"I could see two doors, one was labeled 'speak' and the other was labelled 'conceal'."
"Because here's how I thought about it, having repeatedly told this Congress 'we're done and there's nothing there, there's no case there. To restart, in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning, and not speak about it would require an act of 'concealment' in my view."
"Look, this is terrible. It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we have had some impact on the election. But, honestly, it wouldn't change the decision."
FBI Director James Comey explains his reason for notifying Congress of new investigation days before 2016 election https://t.co/S0VIAvn8g0— CNN (@CNN) May 3, 2017
"In my view, a huge portion of WikiLeak's activities has nothing to do with legitimate news gathering, informing the public...but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States of America. It's 'intelligence porn'...just push it out in order to damage."
On whether Comey has ever been an "anonymous" source for media reports:
Grassley: "Director Comey have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports in matter relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?"
FBI Director Comey says he's "never" been anonymous source in news reports on matters related to Trump investigation, Clinton investigation. pic.twitter.com/VppAq5ccKZ— ABC News (@ABC) May 3, 2017
On whether anyone within the FBI disclosed information regarding the Clinton investigation to Rudy Giuliani:
"I don't know yet, but if I find out that people were leaking information about our investigations, whether it's to reporters or private parties, there will be severe consequences."
On whether anybody from FBI had contact with Rudy Giuliani, Comey says, "I don't know yet," but if so "there will be severe consequences." pic.twitter.com/1mB1ZWzQSZ— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) May 3, 2017
And here is Lindsey Graham still trying to start a war with Russia:
Comey says Russia is still involved in American politics; Russia is “the greatest threat of any nation on Earth” to our democratic process pic.twitter.com/4ZJX9ufBVj— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) May 3, 2017
Meanwhile, this gentleman succinctly summed up how most of us feel about these hearings, at this point, by simply taking a nap.
* * *
FBI Director James Comey will be thrust back into the public spotlight over the next couple of days as he is scheduled to provide testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today followed by a closed-door session with the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow.
Just last week we got a sneak peak of some of the fireworks that are expected at today's hearing when Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Comey pressing him on “inconsistencies” in his testimony on the infamous dossier containing incendiary, but unverified, allegations about Trump's connection to the Kremlin. Here are some excerpts from Grassley's press release:
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley today pressed the FBI director ahead of next week’s oversight hearing for details of the FBI’s involvement with Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy who authored the unsubstantiated anti-Trump dossier on behalf of opposition research firm Fusion GPS. In the limited details provided to the committee on the matter, the FBI’s description of its relationship with Steele appears to be materially inconsistent with Justice Department documents later revealed to the committee.
Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein first raised questions in mid-February about the resignation of National Security Advisory Michael Flynn and the leaks of classified information involving him. Grassley then sought details from the FBI on reports that it offered to pay Steele in connection with the unsubstantiated dossier. As a result of the FBI’s failure to respond to the Flynn letter, Grassley publicly pledged to suspend action on the nomination for the Deputy Attorney General position pending a response to his questions. FBI Director James Comey briefed Grassley and Feinstein the following day. While the briefing substantially addressed questions in the Flynn inquiry, it covered only a few the questions in the Steele inquiry. The FBI attempted to claim after the briefing that it had adequately responded to the Steele questions, yet many remain unanswered. Importantly, portions of Comey’s description of the FBI’s relationship with Steele appear to be in conflict with Justice Department documents reviewed by the committee following the briefing.
“Whether those inconsistencies were honest mistakes or an attempt to downplay the actual extent of the FBI’s relationship with Mr. Steele, it is essential that the FBI fully answer all of the questions from the March 6 letter and provide all the requested documents in order to resolve these and related issues,” Grassley said today in a letter to Comey.
The committee is also expected to question the role of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in the Hillary email investigation. Republicans have repeatedly argued that McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton investigation following reports a Clinton ally donated to his wife’s political campaign. The donations are also under investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
Of course, all of this comes just one day after Hillary Clinton laid all of the blame for her 2016 election loss squarely at the feet of James Comey and 'Russian' WikiLeaks, saying "I was on the way to winning before Jim Comey's letter and 'Russian' Wikileaks... scared off late voters" (full post here).
Should be a fun hearing with plenty of theatrics and grandstanding.