Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Monday affirmed his belief that Russian-connected hackers stole emails from Democratic organizations and leaders in order to boost President-elect Donald Trump’s chances of winning the election and blamed FBI Director James Comey for politicizing the email hacks.
“In August, there were, even then, reports of Russia being— messing around,” Reid told CNN’s Many Raju in an interview that aired Monday.
Reid referenced a letter he said he sent Comey at the time, which said that “[t]he evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount.” The letter noted that evidence led Michael Morrell, the former Acting Central Intelligence Director, to call Trump “an ‘unwitting agent’ of Russia and the Kremlin.”
“The FBI director didn’t have the decency, the courtesy to even respond to my letter,” Reid told Raju. “It’s obvious he was a partisan in all of this.”
Comey drew harsh criticism from Democrats during the presidential campaign when, just 11 days before Election Day, he announced what he said was a potential development in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. Comey later announced that emails the agency discovered in an unrelated probe into former congressman Anthony Weiner, who is married to close Clinton aide Huma Abedin, ultimately were determined not to be related to the server investigation. That led Reid and others to wonder aloud if Comey’s stunning break with tradition in making the announcement so close to Election Day violated the Hatch Act.
“To show how how awful this situation is, this man ignored a precedent that’s been going on for decade after decade after decade,” Reid said Monday. “The FBI does not get involved in politics, except Comey did.”
“I am saying that the FBI did nothing” to respond to potential meddling from Russia in American elections, Reid said.
“All of the information that we’ve heard in the last couple of weeks, it was available to the FBI. He just ignored it. He did not make it public,” despite repeated requests, Reid added.