Comey calls House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation ‘a wreck’
Former FBI director James Comey on Sunday called the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election “a wreck” and deemed its report a “political” document.
In a conversation about his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Comey said the report, released by House Republicans on Friday, did not represent his “understanding of what the facts were” before he left the FBI. Comey was fired by President Donald Trump in May.
“The most important piece of work is the one the special counsel is doing now,” Comey told anchor Chuck Todd. “This (the House committee report) strikes me as a political document.”
Comey said he did not think that the House Intelligence Committee served a useful investigative purpose with regards to the probe of Russia’s influence operation.
Partisanship “wrecked the committee,” he said. “And it damaged relationships with the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court, the intelligence communities. It’s just a wreck.”
Trump has praised the report, saying it proved that “there’s no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated or conspired with Russia.” Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a rebuttal of the report and charged that their Republican colleagues ended their work prematurely in a “systematic effort to muddy the waters and to deflect attention away from the President.”
The redacted version of the committee’s final report accuses the intelligence community of “significant intelligence tradecraft failings.” It details contacts among Trump campaign officials, Russians and Russian intermediaries but concludes that investigators found “no evidence that the Trump campaign colluded, coordinated, or conspired with the Russian government.”
The report also accused the FBI of failures in how the bureau responded to Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Senate Intelligence Committee is pursuing its own investigation.
Trump and Comey continue to snipe at each other publicly. During an appearance Thursday on “Fox and Friends,” Trump called him “leaking, lying Comey.” In a tweet on Friday, Trump called Comey “either very sick or very dumb.” At a campaign rally in Michigan on Saturday night, Trump referred to Comey and “the way he lies. “
“I did you a great favor when I fired this guy,” Trump told his supporters at the rally.
In response to a question from Todd about whether Trump would be a credible witness in the special counsel’s Russia investigation, Comey said, “I have serious doubts about his credibility.”
“The president of the United States?” Todd asked.
“Yes,” Comey responded.
“Whether he were under oath or not?” Todd asked.
“Correct,” Comey said.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get all the day's most vital news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.