In one of the more frustrating Senate Judiciary Committee hearings we’ve ever watched, former FBI Director James Comey testified that…well, he apparently doesn’t remember 2016 all that well, and so, you know, he can’t really answer any factual questions about what happened way back then. Comey, who remembered enough about his life to write a comprehensive memoir shortly after being kicked out of government by the president, apparently lost his memory between then and now. He certainly didn’t have any answers for the Republicans grilling him on Wednesday.
Asked by Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) what the FBI had done to verify the material in Christopher Steele’s dossier, Comey replied: “I don’t know.”
Asked by Graham to describe what he knew about former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who has been accused of changing an email to mislead the FISA court about Carter Page’s relationship to the CIA, Comey said: “I know nothing of Mr. Clinesmith.”
As for the FISA warrant itself, Comey said he had nearly nothing to do with it, and would only take responsibility for signing the certification for it. Asked by the committee if he knew where lawmakers should look to find someone to hold accountable for the misleading FISA material, Comey replied, “I do not.”
Sounds like you were running one hell of a tight ship up there, Jim.
Asked by Graham to talk about the dossier itself, Comey once again pleaded ignorance. Graham asked him if he knew that Steele’s source for the dossier was a suspected Russian spy who told the FBI that the information he gave Steele was unreliable, Comey said: “I don’t remember learning anything about Steele’s sources.”
Finally fed up with Comey’s lack of knowledge, Graham asked: “Was this an important case for the FBI or was this a run of the mill thing?”
Of course, the idea that Comey has no knowledge about the FBI’s corruption in this case is idiotic and absurd. This is Comey in full CYA mode; he wants to make sure that no matter how many lower-level FBI agents and officials go down, he’s not among their number. If that means pretending that an investigation into Donald Trump was somehow beneath him in terms of importance, that’s what he’ll do.
Comey’s feigned ignorance is more a statement about how deep the corruption runs than any specific answer he could have given the committee. He’s banking on the hope that Joe Biden will be president in January and all of this will magically disappear.
He lost a bet like that once before. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out for him this time.