President Donald Trump took to Twitter earlier today, December 9, to tear into former FBI director James Comey’s closed-door testimony, which he provided to a House Congressional committee on Friday, December 7.
In a pair of Twitter posts, Trump excoriated the testimony provided to lawmakers by Comey, alleging that the ex-FBI director evaded questioning with vague and forgetful answers a total of 245 times, further claiming that Comey is part of a “Rigged Fraud headed up by dishonest people who would do anything so that I could not become President.”
President Trump is not the only one disappointed by James Comey’s testimony, according to HuffPo. Republican Representative for South Carolina, Trey Gowdy, released a statement claiming that, during the closed-door session, Comey deployed the phrase “I don’t know” 166 times — and “I don’t remember” in at least 71 instances. While the math doesn’t quite add up to Trump’s figure, the numbers claimed remain substantial.
Per Fox News, the entire 235-page transcript of the proceedings has been made publicly available. Within it, James Comey claimed ignorance as to who drafted the document beginning the 2016 Russia probe, now headed by special counsel Robert Mueller — a probe which Trump has repeatedly referred to as a “witch hunt.” The ex-FBI director — who was turfed from his position by Trump in May of 2017, as Reuters details — also denied any knowledge of the case of Peter Strzok, who was involved in said probe from the beginning, and who was also removed from his position. Strzok was fired after anti-Trump texts between him and another FBI agent, Lisa Page, showed them discussing how to “stop” Trump from becoming president, per Fox News.
On 245 occasions, former FBI Director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked. Opened investigations on 4 Americans (not 2) – didn’t know who signed off and didn’t know Christopher Steele. All lies!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2018
Claiming to have forgotten particulars or to simply have been ignorant of them were not the only defensive legal strategies employed by Comey — and his lawyers — during the Friday hearing. He would also shroud certain answers in secrecy, claiming that he could not speak to the matter of whether or not the FBI had any hard evidence that the Trump campaign had conspired to hack the DNC server due to a conflict of interest in the ongoing Russia probe.
“I don’t think that the FBI and special counsel want me answering questions that may relate to their investigation of Russian interference during 2016. And I worry that that would cross that line.”
Reporter asks James Comey: “Did you have total confidence in the dossier when you used it to secure a surveillance warrant and also in the subsequent renewals?”
Comey doesn’t answer the question, calls the notion of FISA abuse "nonsense" pic.twitter.com/bTv9kXloih
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) December 7, 2018
John Solomon of the Hill produced another criticism of Comey’s testimony, alleging that Comey was asleep at his post during much of his “turbulent” tenure as FBI director, failing to remember vital pieces of information. One such piece of information that Solomon highlights in his op-ed is that Comey apparently did not remember that the so-called Steele dossier — named after the embattled British spy, Christopher Steele — went unvetted and unverified by his bureau before being submitted as primary evidence to substantiate the FISA warrant to surveil Trump.
“Comey now has confirmed what Republican lawmakers like Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have warned about for months – that the FBI used an unverified dossier, paid for by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as political opposition research, to justify spying on the duly nominated GOP candidate for president just weeks before Election Day.”
The entirety of the James Comey transcript has been made available by Fox News.