Testifying before the House Intelligence Committed today, 56-year-old Director James Comey played his cards close to the vest, responding to most of the partisan questioning with “I’m not going to answer that.” Comey refused to answer whether or not the Obama Justice Department or any intel agency requested a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] Court to investigate president Donald Trump or any of his current or past campaign staff. Comey and 57-year-old Director of National Intelligence Mike Rogers gave no new information on any ongoing investigations into current or past Trump officials. When asked by ranking members Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to respond to Trump’s specific tweets about former President Barack Obama ordering a wiretap, Comey gave the predicable answer, “I have no evidence.” Schiff cleverly asks the wrong questions.
Schiff didn’t ask Comey whether or not Trump or any of his current or past campaign officials were currently under investigation by the FBI or any other U.S. intel agency. That question was answered by the New York Times Jan. 19, 20, 2016, confirming surveillance on Trump or current or past his campaign team. When questioned by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), Comey came closest to admitting that Obama and former Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch knew of the FBI investigation into Trump officials begun in July 2016. Comey told Turner “he couldn’t remember” whether or not he notified Obama and Lynch about the FBI investigation into Trump officials. All other answers, Comey either said he “wouldn’t comment” or “couldn’t comment” because of the ongoing FBI investigation. Comey’s response that he couldn’t recall informing Obama or Lynch tells the whole story.
Comey and Rogers had an easy time at the hearing, essentially listening to partisan Democrats make their best case for impeaching Trump. Speculating about Trump’s past transactions with Russia gave Democrats the best platform to prosecute their case against the Trump’s White House. Neither Comey nor Rogers to got beyond former National Security Agency Director James Clapper’s March 5 statement, based on a multi-agency declassified report, that he “saw no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.” While Schiff tried to rescue that point by pointing out the FBI investigation was ongoing, Democrats spent their time making their best case against Trump for collusion with Russia. Schiff never asked Comey whether or not the FBI was actively involved with other intel agencies in electronic surveillance of Trump and his current and former campaign staff.
Getting Comey to admit he had no evidence of Trump’s literal tweet that Obama ordered the wiretap of Trump Tower, diverted attention away from the ongoing electronic surveillance of current and past Trump campaign officials. Failing to confirm or deny a FISA Court warrant on Trump or any of his campaign staff, Comey and Rogers continues the wild speculation dominating the headlines. Schiff cleverly asked only one question off Trump’s literal tweet, eliciting a predictable answer from Comey: He found no evidence of Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. Showing how partisan the hearing became, Rep. Dennis Heck (D-Wa.) read verbatim allegations against Trump compiled by former MI6 agent Michael Steele for former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. Responding to rhetorical questions based off Steele’s dossier, Comey said he had “no comment.”
If there’s anything that came out of today’s hearing, it’s that Democrats seek to use a bipartisan investigation to impeach Trump. Putting Steele’s highly partisan dossier into the record shows that Democrats only want to feed the anti-Trump press with more incendiary talking points. Comey said his view had not changed about the FBI and CIA’s assessment that Putin favored Trump in the presidential election. While saying there was zero evidence that Putin impacted the election’s outcome or that Russia tampered with any voting systems, Comey still insisted that Russia tried to influence the election. Neither Comey nor Rogers said a thing about Hillary winning nearly 3 million more popular votes than Trump Nov. 8, 2016. Not one Democrat or Republican on the committee questioned how Putin influenced Hillary to win nearly 3 million more votes than Trump.
Conducting another partisan dog-and-pony show, today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing shed no light on Democrats’ claim of Russian tampering in the 2016 election. Several Democrats on the Intel Committee got Comey and Rogers to agree that Russia used hacking, disinformation, propaganda and fake news to undermine the U.S. democracy. While listening to Democrats make their best case for Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, neither Comey nor Rogers would confirm that speculation. If there was anything significant out of the five-hour hearing, it involved Rep. Mike Turmer getting Comey to admit he couldn’t remember if he notified Obama or Lynch about the FBI’s ongoing electronic surveillance of Trump and his current and past campaign associates. Democrats spent their time spreading more Hillary campaign talking points attacking Trump.