Comey: It Was Appropriate To Comment On Clinton Probe And Not Russia Probe

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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May 3, 2017 11:19 a.m.

The FBI handled its probes into Russia’s meddling to help Donald Trump win the U.S. election and into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in the same way, Director James Comey argued at a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“You said absolutely nothing regarding the investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections into Russia’s illegal efforts to help elect Donald Trump,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) told Comey during the hearing. “Was it appropriate for you to comment on one investigation repeatedly and not say anything about the other?”

“I think so,” Comey replied.

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“I think I treated both investigations consistently under the same principles,” he continued.

Comey noted that the FBI did not confirm the existence of its probe into Clinton’s email server until three months after it began, and then said “not another word, not a peep about it until we were finished.”

Leahy pointed out that Comey announced the discovery of additional emails FBI agents believed could be related to that investigation less than two weeks before Election Day, while making no public comment about the existence of the probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials until after the election.

Comey said he had no choice but to comment on the development in the Clinton probe “because I had testified under oath repeatedly that we were done and finished there.”

“With respect to the Russia investigation we treated it like we did with the Clinton investigation,” he repeated. “We didn’t say a word about it until months into it and the only thing we’ve confirmed so far about this is the same thing with the Clinton investigation: that we are investigating.”

“I don’t know what we’ll say when we’re done, but that’s how we handled the Clinton investigation, as well,” Comey said.

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