Former FBI Director James Comey gave the media enough to work with during Thursday's nearly three-hour Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. Still, what stole the show was Sen. John McCain's very odd line of questioning.
McCain: Why haven't you concluded your investigation?— Eric Garland (@ericgarland) June 8, 2017
*Ed Note: Comey no longer works at FBI.*
McCain started his participation by referring to Comey's answers concerning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email probe.
During the first part of his special participation, McCain compared the Clinton probe to the Russian interference investigation. Unfortunately, he seemed to get confused by the names of everyone involved. Here's the question in full:
“In the case of Hillary Clinton, you made the statement that there wasn't sufficient evidence to bring a suit against her, although it had been very careless in their 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 of Mr. Comey (sic) 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."
Comey then went on to respond, saying that he had concluded the Clinton probe in early July 2016. Since he had been fired in early May, he was not sure what the status of the Russia investigation was.
McCain didn't seem to understand Comey's answer, so he awkwardly told Comey that the Clinton investigation “was going on” and that the Russia investigation was also still “going on,” and still, Comey “reached separate conclusions,” the senator added.
Somewhat confused, Comey answered: “No. That one was done.”
McCain carried on, saying he still had many questions that were left unanswered after the Clinton probe. So far, so good, but the rant that followed is what left many at a loss of words.
“I'm glad you concluded that part of the investigation, but I think that 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, is a big deal took place. 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?"
Echoing the sentiment shared by us all, Comey then replied simply by saying, “I'm a little confused."
McCain then tried again, asking Comey repeatedly if he was aware of the president or members of his inner circle being at risk of being blackmailed by foreign governments, to which Comey simply said that was a question he could not answer.
Later, McCain told reporters that, thanks to Twitter, he noticed his “line of questioning today went over people's heads.” Well, yes.
In an attempt to clarify his comments, he added:
“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. ... While I missed an opportunity in today's hearing, I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record."
Wow. If all he wanted to ask was exactly what Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) had asked earlier, this whole ordeal seems even more surreal — was the Arizona senator sleeping through the first two hours of the hearing?