The transcript of Comey’s closed door testimony to Congress has just been released.
Immediate hot takes follow:
Comey answered “I don’t remember” 71 times, “I don’t know” 166 times and “I don’t recall” eight times
When asked if the FBI had any evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign conspired to hack the DNC server, Comey referred to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as the reason why he couldn’t answer.
“Did we have evidence in July of (2016) that anyone in the Trump campaign conspired to hack the DNC server. 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.”
When Trey Gowdy the “factual predicate” the bureau relied on to launch a counterintelligence investigation, Comey claimed that answering that question would be a “slope” that would ask him to reveal what the FBI “did or didn’t know about Russia activity” as it related to the 2016 election.
Gowdy: You can’t tell us, or you won’t tell us?”
Comey: “To the extent, I recall facts developed during our investigation of Russian interference and the potential connection of Americans, I think that’s a question that the FBI doesn’t want me answering. So it’s both a can’t and a won’t.”
The former FBI director relied on the existence of the special counsel as his defense for offering zero evidence just as Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse had predicted:
Create a Special Counsel investigation – By creating the investigation it is then used as a shield by any corrupt FBI/DOJ official who would find himself/herself under downstream congressional investigation. Former officials being deposed/questioned by IG Horowitz or Congress could then say they are unable to answer those questions due to the ongoing special counsel investigation. In this way Mueller provides cover for officials.
This is only a preliminary evaluation. More to come as we continue to absorb the contents of the report.
Here’s the just released 235-page transcript in its entirety.