James Comey Dodges Senate Russia Hearing as Contradictions, Questions Mount

The Associated Press
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Fired FBI Director James Comey skipped a Wednesday closed-door Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, where top current and former Intelligence Community officials reviewed conclusions about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Former CIA Director John Brennan, Former National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, and Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper attended the hearing.

Comey’s decision not to attend the hearing on Russian interference comes as credibility issues mount for the fired FBI Director, who is still on a media tour promoting his book A Higher Loyalty.

In the House Intelligence Committee’s unredacted report on Russian meddling released May 4th, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe alleged to House members that Comey initiated the “ambush,” of Former national security advisor Michael Flynn. Peter Strzok and a second FBI agent showed up unannounced at the White House to question Flynn. 

According to the House report, “Director Comey testified to the Committee that ‘the agents… discerned no physical indications of deception,” reads the new report.”They didn’t see any change in posture, in tone, in inflection, in eye contact. They saw nothing that indicated to them that he knew he was lying to them.” 

Yet in April, Comey appears to have contradicted himself during an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier, where he denied testifying before the House Intelligence Committee that he was told by the FBI who interrogated Flynn that they believed he was telling the truth. 

“No. And I saw that in the media. I don’t know what, maybe someone misunderstood something I said. I didn’t believe that, and didn’t say that,” Comey told Baier.

Additionally, the curious case of Comey’s friend-turned-attorney Daniel Richman, a Columbia law professor who the fired FBI Director leaked his memos to, has become a source of heartburn. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is currently probing whether the Comey memos were classified.

“My view was that the content of those unclassified, memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded,” Comey told Senate investigators last May.

At the request of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the Justice Department said Tuesday that it will turn over requested documents relating to Richman’s handling of the Comey memos.

Members of the Committee will publish a report on the findings on Russian interference presented in the hearing, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) says.

The House Intelligence Committee announced on March 12th that they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” read the summary.