Comey has said what everyone outside of Trump’s pocket expected he would say.
FBI Director James B. Comey on Monday said there is “no information” that supports President Trump’s claims that his predecessor ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the election campaign.
“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ said Comey, testifying at the House Intelligence Committee’s first public hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,’’ and agents found nothing to support those claims, he said.
Spicey is currently busy composing variations on the theme “But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” but everyone outside of Trump’s pocket knows that if there had been such evidence for Trump’s libelous assertion the FBI would have it. The fact that the FBI doesn’t have it is good reason to think Trump doesn’t have it either.
Of course Spicey could always just say Comey is lying, but that would have dangers of its own.
Under questioning from the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), Comey said no president could order such surveillance. He added that the Justice Department had asked him to also tell the committee that that agency has no such information, either.
I wonder if Comey now wishes he hadn’t handed the election to Trump back in October.
Comey also acknowledged the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.
Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”
The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”
Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.
Would that be the case if Sessions hadn’t recused himself?
The Republicans, the Post says, are more worked up about the leaks to the press. They’re especially bothered about the Post story reporting that Flynn talked about sanctions with Kislyak before Trump’s inauguration.
As the hearing was going on — in an apparent dig at Comey and carrying the suggestion that Obama administration officials were behind the leaks — Trump’s presidential Twitter account tweeted out “FBI Director Comey refuses to deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia.”
Dignified and appropriate as always.