House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for an investigation into Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election, in addition to whether Rudy Giuliani, one of Donald Trump’s reported picks for secretary of state, had any prior knowledge of the FBI’s handling of its probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“Something is not right in this picture,” Pelosi said in a wide-ranging Thursday press conference.
U.S. intelligence agencies believe that hackers tied to the Russian government carried out cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee’s servers this summer. Radical transparency organization WikiLeaks published hundreds of these hacked communications, as well as emails hacked from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, in a huge embarrassment to the Democratic Party.
“I think that the American people deserve an investigation into how a foreign government had an impact on our election,” Pelosi told reporters.
She noted that the hacks only targeted Democrats, which she said should have been a tip-off for intelligence officials and the press.
“Wasn’t that a clue that they want us to look bad?” she asked.
The House minority leader said FBI Director James Comey played a key role in damaging Democrats’ chances in the 2016 election. Comey reportedly refused to sign onto a letter from U.S. agencies formally accusing Russia of responsibility for the cyberattacks because he feared swaying the presidential race, yet he notified Congress just eleven days before Election Day of the discovery of emails potentially relevant to Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
“Comey’s letter really just changed everything,” Pelosi said, criticizing the FBI director for his inability to “take the heat” from Republicans hungry for Clinton to be punished for her handling of the email server.
Pelosi said that there should also be an investigation into whether Giuliani “knew two days before” Comey’s letter that “something was coming.”
Giuliani bragged on Fox News before the letter came out that voters should expect “a surprise or two that you’re going to hear about in the next few days.”
Though he later denied prior knowledge of the letter, Giuliani had intimate ties to the FBI’s New York office, which discovered the emails Comey wrote to Congress about, and was in touch with former agents there.
Pelosi was asked if she was concerned that Giuliani’s business dealings, which include consulting work for the governments of Qatar and Venezuela, presented conflicts of interest if he were to be chosen as secretary of state.
“I think everyone has to be vetted,” she replied.
Confirmation hearings “will reveal what his exposure is,” she added.
Pelosi also expressed dismay at the outcome of the election, saying she was “more than disappointed” with the results.
She warned President-elect Donald Trump that his loss in the popular vote should serve as a signal that he does not have a mandate from the American electorate.
“After winning the presidency—the electoral college—but losing the popular vote, I think that says to President-elect Trump that he has a responsibility to try to bring people together, not continue to fan the flames of division and bigotry,” Pelosi said.