WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSNewYork) – Did a late night of baseball result in a confusing line of inquiry during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing?
Senator John McCain had some interesting questions for former FBI Director James Comey during his appearance in front of the committee on Thursday.
While other committee members focused on meetings and phone calls between President Donald Trump and the former FBI director, McCain harped on a probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“In the case of Hilary Clinton you made the statement that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her although it had been very careless in her behavior, but you did reach a conclusion in that case that it was not necessary to further pursue her. Yet at the same time in the case or Mr. Comey, you said that there was not enough information to make a conclusion. Tell me the difference between your conclusion as far as former Secretary Clinton is concerned and Mr. Trump,” McCain asked.
Comey told McCain that while the Clinton investigation had been wrapped up, the Trump probe was ongoing when Comey was fired.
“The American people have a whole lot of questions out there particularly since you just emphasized the role that Russia played. And obviously she was a candidate for president at the time so she was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news as you just described it ‘big deal’ took place,” McCain continued, “You’re gonna have to help me out here. In other words, we’re complete in the investigation and anything that former Secretary Clinton had to do with the campaign is over and we don’t have to worry about it anymore?”
The former FBI director replied that he didn’t understand the line of questioning.
“I’m a little confused senator,” Comey said.
So were a number of people watching the proceedings who took to Twitter to express their confusion with many wondering what McCain was getting at.
McCain continued to press the point asking again how one investigation could be closed, while another remained open.
“I don’t quite understand how you could be done with that, but not be done with the whole investigation of their (Russia) attempt to affect the outcome of our investigation,” McCain said.
“So you’ve got one candidate that you’re done with, and another candidate that you have a long way to go, is that correct?” he continued.
Comey reiterated that the probes into the Clinton emails and the Trump campaign were separate investigations.
The former FBI director called Russian involvement in the campaign ‘very serious’ but said that there was no investigation as to whether they had coordinated with the Clinton camp.
“So both President Trump and former candidate Clinton are both involved in the investigation, yet one of them you said there are going to be no charges, and the other one the investigation continues. Well, I think there’s a double standard there to tell you the truth,” McCain said.
Following the hearing, McCain acknowledged that his questions “went over people’s heads,” joking that the inquiry was affected by an evening spent watching the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The senator release a statement on Thursday afternoon, in an effort to clear up the confusion.
“What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice. In the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence. I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump—whether or not the President’s conduct constitutes obstruction of justice.”
McCain added that he planned to submit that question to Comey in writing.