John McCain, the 80-year-old Arizona Republican senator and former presidential candidate, concluded the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing into the Donald Trump Russia scandal on Thursday morning with a bizarre and rambling series of questions to former FBI Director James Comey. The strange line of questioning had dozens of observers posting their concern for McCain’s well-being on Twitter, and his name quickly jumped to the No. 2 top trend on the social media platform.
Watch video of the unsettling exchange between McCain and Comey in the video below on this page, courtesy of Fox 10 Phoenix, in McCain’s home state.
McCain was not originally scheduled to question Comey on Thursday. The 2008 Republican presidential nominee is not officially a member of the Intelligence Committee, but due to a Senate rules loophole, as the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee McCain was permitted to sit in on the Intelligence Committee hearing and ask questions of Comey.
Kevin Drum, a political columnist for Mother Jones Magazine, described McCain as appearing “loopy” and wondered if the senator had taken “a little much Nyquil? Or what?”
Even Comey appeared befuddled by McCain’s line of questioning, as can be seen in the video of the odd moment, below.
Twitter pundits had a field day with McCain’s strange performance, though for some, the concern over the five-term senator’s health appeared genuine.
I need a status update on John McCain asap please and thanks. Homeboy was strugglin.
— Rob Abid (@abid_rob) June 8, 2017
Everyone on Social Media is saying John McCain lost his mind but I said give him a break, dementia is a disease!! #sad
— Patti Hurff (@patticakes211) June 8, 2017
I think McCain might be unwell. Hope he's getting checked out.
— Stephanie Fitzhugh (@stephfitzhugh) June 8, 2017
I know this is painful and for many of us who deal with our parents suffering it was a trigger. Get McCain help.
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) June 8, 2017
Not everyone was quite as charitable toward McCain, however, after the exchange in which McCain referred to Trump as “Comey” on multiple occasions — at one point even referring to Trump as “President Comey.”
John McCain walking around the parking garage with his keys in his hand looking for his keys.
— Astros Baw (@ASTROSBAW) June 8, 2017
— MaggieinHamra (@peltier_maggie) June 8, 2017
So what was McCain attempting to say with his seemingly incoherent questions to Comey? According to NBC News, he was attempting to draw some sort of a parallel between Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and Trump’s — asking why the Trump campaign was the only one under FBI investigation for Russia ties.
“McCain spent a long and confusing seven minutes trying to suggest the FBI has a double standard because they weren’t investigating Hillary Clinton while examining Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” wrote NBC correspondent Jane C. Time. “Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian officials, and are at the center of the investigation; there is no evidence or even reports Clinton’s aides or allies did the same.”
Let it not be said that Senator McCain's most embarrassing contribution to our democracy was Sarah Palin.
— Josh Kiem (@JoshKiem) June 8, 2017
McCain struggled to explain why he was pressing Comey on a “double standard” applied by the FBI to the Clinton and Trump campaigns.
“She was clearly involved in this whole situation where, fake news — as you just described it, is a big deal — took place,” McCain said to Comey. “You’re going to have to help me out here. In other words, we’re complete, the investigation of anything former Secretary Clinton had to do with the campaign is over, and we don’t have to worry about it anymore?”
In response, Comey simply said, “I’m a little confused, Senator.”
[Featured Image By Susan Walsh/AP Images]