James Comey, FBI director and seemingly pro-Republican political meddler, has been accused of “withholding crucial information” regarding the ongoing probe by Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. The same committee that is currently investigating the Russian connections alongside—but apparently not with the full cooperation of—the FBI.
After a meeting with Comey, Schiff came away unsatisfied, and had this to say to reporters:
“I would say at this point we know less than a fraction of what the FBI knows…I appreciate we had a long briefing and testimony from the director today, but in order for us to do our investigation in a thorough and credible way, we’re gonna need the FBI to fully cooperate, to be willing to tell us the length and breadth of any counterintelligence investigations they are conducting. At this point, the director was not willing to do that.”
Comey, you will certainly remember, has been vilified by the left for releasing information about Hillary Clinton’s email server just days before the election, which many think swung the outcome to Trump. Whether Comey was right or wrong in dumping that information at the last minute, or whether it actually influenced the vote, is an argument for a different day. What matters now is that he’s perceived as aiding and abetting Republicans, and to be accused by a Democrat of sitting on information that might be damaging to Trump or his administration is a really, really bad look.
Schiff was on the warpath after the unsatisfactory meeting, and continued to hold Comey’s feet to the fire. Via Politico:
Schiff described the House panel’s investigation as “among the most serious that we’ve ever done” but argued that the committee can’t thoroughly do its job if the Justice Department or FBI “is unwilling to tell us what indeed they looked at, what leads they have followed, where they have found substance and where they have not.”
“I’m disappointed we didn’t have that briefing today,” he said.
During the briefing, Schiff said, Comey faced “repeated questions about the scope of any investigation they were doing” and “individuals that may be the subject of any counterterrorism investigation.”
“The director declined to answer those questions,” Schiff said.
Schiff even suggested the possibility that the Department of Justice, headed up by a man in Jeff Sessions who has now (reluctantly) recused himself from any investigation because of his own contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, may have been the ones advising Comey to be less than forthcoming. Which, if it were true, would be an insanely frustrating closed-circle cover-up.
Schiff’s Republican counterparts, of course, are arguing that there’s no concrete evidence of collaboration between Trump’s administration and the Russians. Even when speaking about whether Sessions should recuse himself, House Intelligence committee chair Devin Nunes (R—Cal.) used the same baffling “we shouldn’t investigate because we don’t know what happened” logic that the GOP has been employing now for weeks:
As for Nunes, he said, “I have no idea” if Sessions should recuse himself “because we have no idea what he did or didn’t do.”
As of yet, neither Comey nor the FBI have responded.