Multiple Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Reform committees strongly denounced former FBI Director James Comey’s smug and duplicitous performance after his second closed-door testimony in front of their committees on Monday.
Reps. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) blasted the “corrupt” and “sanctimonious” Comey in separate Fox News segments Tuesday evening, while Reps Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) shared some of Comey’s problematic answers on Twitter.
During an appearance on “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” Rep. Ratcliffe said Comey’s self-assured demeanor came across as “a witness who [thinks he’s] always right.”
Ratcliffe slammed Comey for telling the press after his interview that he was irritated by Republicans’ continuous questions regarding Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, arguing that it was important to compare the FBI’s email investigation to the Russia investigation.
“We continued to focus on the disparity and the dichotomy in which the same conduct was treated differently by Jim Comey’s FBI in the Hillary Clinton investigation versus the Trump-Russia investigation,” Ratcliffe explained.
He told MacCallum that Republicans spent a lot of time probing Comey about why virtually all the departures from FBI protocols seemed to work in favor of Hillary Clinton and her team, but to the detriment of Donald Trump and his team.
“It’s hard to argue with a witness like Jim Comey who’s always right,” Ratcliffe said sarcastically. “The same conduct was treated differently by Jim Comey’s FBI in Hillary Clinton’s investigation than in the Trump investigation.”
Ratcliffe said he used to respect Comey, but he has since come to realize he is “duplicitous and sanctimonious.”
The Texas congressman added that Comey neglected to ask Clinton about her husband’s infamous meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch aboard a plane at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix in 2016, days before Comey exonerated her.
Clinton “didn’t get a single question about … Lynch … [or about] her communications with President Obama on an … unclassified server,” Ratcliffe complained.
Ratcliffe shared a transcription of one of his exchanges with Comey that drives home his point about the FBI’s more lenient attitude toward Clinton:
Yes, this is the real transcript of my exchange with Jim Comey. No, I didn’t make this up. pic.twitter.com/bRc4U2Tda4
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) December 19, 2018
Later on Fox News, Issa told Jeanine Pirro — who was filling in for Sean Hannity — that it was clear that Comey had just one intention: “To get to Donald Trump.”
“You can see it in everything he did,” Issa said. “He didn’t keep Flynn from being the national security adviser, which he potentially could have done with this transcript, if it was so volatile.” He argued that the FBI director could have told Trump that Flynn was misleading or lying to people, and he would have been immediately fired. Instead, he set up a perjury trap.
“James Comey from day one has been a corrupt cop trying to get to the president and it shows in everything he’s done, including what he failed to do, which was to be honest to both Barack Obama and to President Trump when he was talking about what he knew, when he knew it, and what should be done in the name of national security.”
When Pirro expressed frustration that the Trump administration has been stuck in defensive mode for two years while the potential criminal violations of the Obama administration go unanswered, Issa said: “I think the insurance policy that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok talked about has been working for two years. For two years, the American people have been distracted from the real accomplishments of this president and he has been forced to both do the work of the president and to deal with these endless assaults.”
Issa argued that the reason Comey didn’t inform Trump about Flynn is because he wanted to indict the president. “It is now two years later and he still doesn’t have a case, even with a special prosecutor, essentially his buddy, Mueller,” Issa said.
House Oversight member Rep. Jordan focused on the former FBI director’s lack of candor with the president about Flynn:
1/24/17: FBI interviews Gen. Flynn.
3 days later: Comey has dinner w/ the President.
They discuss Flynn BUT Comey doesn’t tell @POTUS that Flynn lied to VP and FBI.
If the National Security Advisor is misleading the VP and FBI, shouldn’t the Commander in Chief be told?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 18, 2018
After Comey attacked the GOP following his testimony on Monday, House Oversight Chairman Mark Meadows clapped back with a tweet deriding the former FBI director for taking no responsibility for the erosion of trust in the FBI and DOJ:
All you need to know about Dir. Comey's sanctimonious lecture to Americans today is the fact he takes no responsibility for the erosion of trust in the FBI and DOJ. The rampant process abuses and breaches of protocol occurred on his watch. He refuses to be transparent about it.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 18, 2018
Meadows also pointed out on Twitter that Comey continued to lamely mischaracterize the origin of the Steele dossier, repeating the debunked claim that never-Trump Republicans started it, when it’s widely known that never-Trumpers employed Fusion GPS to dig up dirt on Trump (and Sen. Ted Cruz) during the 2016 primaries. They had no part in the hiring of Christopher Steele or in creating the “dirty dossier.”
When pressed on the issue of who paid for the dossier, Comey echoed Hillary Clinton’s infamous “what difference does it make?” moment from a hearing on the Benghazi scandal in 2013.
“Who cares?” he answered. “It was Republicans”:
I asked Director Comey about who paid for the dossier. His response:
1) Republicans paid for it — (Republicans did not pay for it)
2) "Who cares?"
Yes, this is an FBI Director apparently not caring to know who paid for information used to surveil Americans with a FISA warrant. pic.twitter.com/N7KdEqNxYp
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 18, 2018
Nearly all of the key FBI officials involved in the Russia and Clinton investigations have exited the bureau, The Hill’s John Solomon points out. “Comey, McCabe and Strzok were fired; Page, former FBI counsel James Baker and former counterintelligence chief Bill Priestap have left on their own.”
You would think Comey would have the self-awareness to grasp how this looks to Americans following along at home. And you would think he would be willing to share at least a modicum of blame for what went so devastatingly wrong under his watch.