James Comey’s testimony before Congress shed few new details about Russian hacking of the U.S. election to help Trump win.
Tense moments erupted between members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Several accusations of collusion with Russia were made against Roger Stone, Rex Tillerson, and Carter Page.
No testimony from Comey or NSA Director Mike Rogers, who was also present to testify, was offered to corroborate these claims.
During the hearing, Comey made overly broad statements about Russia. One of these was that Putin and the Kremlin denigrated Hillary and tried to help Trump win.
Comey and Mike Rogers also accused Russia of interference in the election through cyber hacking and dissemination of “fake news.”
Both responded to multiple questions from Congress with the answer: “I can’t provide you with that information.”
While discussing specifics of hacking, congressional representatives pressed the FBI on exactly what “tools” Russia used.
Mike Rogers responded: “We can’t get into that.”
Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) tried to clarify with Comey that the Kremlin “preferred” Trump, but Comey would not address specifics. Schiff pressed him on why the Kremlin wanted a Trump presidency and, perhaps, whether it had to do with Trump’s flimsy support for NATO. Comey responded that Russia wanted a U.S. president who would be tough on Ukraine. Comey also confirmed “Putin wanted to see more Brexits” and that Putin “prefers” electing business leaders because they are open to striking deals.
James Comey said: “I Can’t Answer That”
Congressional Representative Terri Sewell claimed Michael Flynn lied to Vice President Michael Pence and asked if Comey was going to investigate Flynn. Comey did not respond. Sewell also accused RT news network of Russian propaganda and linked them to Flynn. She accused him of accepting $35,000 in compensation from RT.
Comey responded: “This isn’t something I can comment on.”
James Comey also declared that Russia is an enemy and intends to do “harm” to the United States. Comey claimed that Russia took a multifaceted approach to infiltrate the American election, yet refused to offer any specific details.
Congressional representatives asked Mike Rogers if the NSA was required to stop collecting the communications of an incoming administration that may have interacted with a foreign government under surveillance. Rogers said no, which means that the NSA could have easily participated in the wiretap of Donald Trump.
They also asked Comey if he had ever briefed President Obama about inadvertent collection of communication from any member of the Trump campaign.
Comey refused to answer.