The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing Tuesday grilling FBI director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on issues of terrorism, border security, and the threat posed by Hillary Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State.
Intentionally or not, the hearing provided factual support for some of the hot-button issues that Donald Trump tried to raise in Monday night’s debate.
Islamic State On The Rise
Trump hammered Clinton in the debate on her inability to stop the Islamic State. The White House has claimed that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is in retreat. But Committee chairman Sen. Ron Johnson got some amazing answers out of Jeh Johnson, who admitted some weakness on the Southern border in the government’s efforts to stop Middle Eastern illegal aliens “from the other hemisphere,” as Jeh Johnson called them.
“We haven’t reduced their capability. The diaspora has already begun,” Sen. Ron Johnson stated, referring to the Islamic State. “We’re poking the hive. We’ve done some damage to it but the killer bees are leaving the hive. They’re setting up new hives.”
Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, also offered testimony that pushed back on the notion that the Islamic State is not on the rise.
Hillary Clinton’s emails
Donald Trump was the only one of the three debate participants — moderator Lester Holt included — who brought up the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Trump challenged Clinton to release the 33,000 emails that she deleted from her private server.
Sen. Ben Sasse, a #NeverTrumper no less, was particularly interested in getting Comey to talk about why Hillary Clinton was not indicted, and why her top aide Cheryl Mills was granted immunity.
“The immunity was, we will not use, the Department of Justice, anything against you on this laptop,” Comey told Sasse. “This was, in the negotiation, a tool to get the laptop.”
“Well it’s a lawyer’s laptop,” Comey added. “By June of this year I wanted that laptop…This was the way to get it.”
The Deportation-to-Citizenship Mistake
The U.S. federal government accidentally gave citizenship to more than 700 illegal aliens who were set to be deported. Donald Trump strained to get the issue into the debate, citing it in his hurried closing remarks before Lester Holt cut him off at the end.
Republican senators had more time to grill Jeh Johnson on the issue. Sasse took the lead.
“I’d have to check. I don’t know sitting here right now, sir,” Jeh Johnson said when Sasse asked him if any of the lucky illegals hailed from Syria, Iran, or Libya.
“It’s a knowable fact. I can get you the information. Sitting here right now, I don’t have the list in front of me. And I don’t want to be wrong,” Johnson continued. “Just sitting here right now, I cannot give you the answer to the question.”
“Not offhand. I can’t give you that breakdown offhand,” Johnson stated.
“I have no basis to believe that any of them were terrorists or suspected terrorists,” Johnson added.