Senator Ted Cruz confronts James Comey for being corrupt and using law enforcement as a political weapon when the former FBI Director appeared before a Senate committee today.
Senator Ted Cruz: Mr. Comey, you testified earlier today that you have concerns whenever the FBI doesn’t operate in a quote, competent and honest way. In your judgment was the way that the FBI handled the Russia investigation, the surveillance of the Trump campaign, the carter page FISA application, the Michael Flynn investigation, was that handled in a competent and honest way?
James Comey: First, Senator Cruz, there was no to my knowledge surveillance of the Trump campaign. I think the overall investigation of the Russian interference and whether Americans were associated with it was conducted in a competent and honest way.
Senator Ted Cruz: So Mr. Comey, you’re saying it’s competent and honest. I assume you read the Horowitz Inspector General Report which found 17 significant errors or ommisions in the Carter Page FISA application so in your view 17 mistakes lying to the court is competent and honest?
James Comey: I read the report. I don’t believe he concluded there were lies to the court, but there were significant and important failings in the way in which the Carter page FISA was prepared and renewed.
Senator Ted Cruz: All right, Mr. Comey, Let’s go directly to lies. The inspector general report concluded that Mr. Kleinsmith, an attorney that worked for you in the FBI, deliberately altered an email and emailed the CIA to ask if Carter Page was a source. The CIA came back and said yes, he was a source and Mr. Kleinsmith, your lawyer, altered that email to add the words “Not a source” to make the email say precisely the opposite of what the CIA said and that fraudulent document was then used as a basis for a fraudulent submission to the FISA court. You believe that is honest and competent, Mr. Comey?
James Comey: I don’t believe you’ve offered an accurate summary of the Horowitz’s findings.
Senator Ted Cruz: Mr. Comey, I have the report right in front of me. Page 254 describes how the lawyer specifically the words had been inserted in the response directly reversing what the CIA says. Was it practice in your FBI to fraudulently alter evidence that you submit to federal courts?
James Comey: It was not the practice in the FBI to fraudulently alter anything presented to federal courts.
Senator Ted Cruz: Well, it is difficult to say that an investigation that featured fraudulent evidence is competent and honest. But let’s move on to something else. The predicate of much of this investigation was the Steele dossier which has now been totally discredited as garbage. When did you learn that the Steele dossier was being funded by the Democrat National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
James Comey: Again, I believe your predicate is inaccurate. But I first learned of the Steele dossier in late September of 2016 and understood that it was funded by political opposition to President Trump, or candidate Trump. I didn’t know the specifics of which part of the opposition, but I knew that it was political opposition research funding.
Senator Ted Cruz: When? When did you learn that.
James Comey: I think about the time I was briefed on it, so about the same time. Probably third week of September.
Senator Ted Cruz: So you were personally aware that the political opposition, whether the DNC or Hillary Clinton or whatever campaign bucket it was coming from, it was the opposing party that was funding it and you were aware of it in September. Why didn’t you tell the FISA court? Why did you omit that over and over and over again on applications you submitted? Didn’t the court deserve to know that?
James Comey: My recollection is the FISA court was alerted to the possibility it was a politically biased reporting.
Senator Ted Cruz: You’re recollection is false. The FISA Court was not told that it was funded by the DNC, that’s one of the omission that your FBI did repeatedly to the Federal court. All right, another question. Go ahead.
James Comey: That is not what I just said.
Senator Ted Cruz: What did you just say?
James Comey: I said my recollection is the court was alerted that there was political bias in this reporting.
Senator Ted Cruz: Political bias is different from saying it was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. You just testified to this committee you were specifically aware of and yet you repeatedly did not inform the court of it when you were getting an order to essentially weaponize the democratic opposition research. All right. Next question. When did you learn that the primary subsource, so the basis for the garbage Steele dossier, was a suspected Russian asset?
James Comey: I don’t remember ever being informed of any prior investigation of any the, any of the Steele sources, including the primary sub source.
Senator Ted Cruz: So you’re not aware of it today?
James Comey: I’m aware of it today because I read it in the public sphere and I’ve read a summary memo that the Department of Justice sent to the Judiciary Committee.
Senator Ted Cruz: I would note the primary subsource was subject to FBI investigation, a counter intelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011, and I will read some of what the investigation was. The primary sub source approach, two individuals who about to enter the Obama Administration and indicated that if, quote, the two individuals at the table did get a job in the government and had access to classified information and wanted to make a little extra money, the primary subsource knew some people to whom they could speak. He’s trying to recruit spies against the U.S. Government. You have a Russian agent that is the basis for an FBI investigation and the FBI is the one who investigated them. Your testimony is you didn’t know. Did it occur to you to ask? Did you ask any questions or do any due diligence on this at all?
James Comey: I don’t remember anything about the facts that have been revealed recently about the subsource. And as I said earlier, I think that cuts both ways but I don’t know how the people running the investigation thought about it.
Senator Ted Cruz: Well, you didn’t tell the FISA court that either and I suspect the FISA court would have had a very different assessment if you had told them that the basis for your application was what you were being told from a suspected Russian asset. All right, let’s shift to another topic. On May 3rd, 2017, in this committee, Chairman Grassley asked you point blank, quote, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation? And you responded under oath, quote, never. He then asked you, quote, have you ever authorized someone else at FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton Administration? You responded again under oath, no. Now, as you know Mr. McCabe, who works for you, has publicly and repeatedly stated that he leaked information to the “Wall Street Journal” and that you were directly aware of it and that you directly authorized it. Now, what Mr. McCabe is saying and what you testified to this committee cannot both be true. One or the other is false. Who is telling the truth?
James Comey: I can only speak to my testimony. I stand by the testimony you summarized that I gave in May of 2017.
Senator Ted Cruz: So your testimony is you’ve never authorized anyone to leak and Mr. McCabe, when, if he said contrary, is not telling the truth, is that correct.
James Comey: Again, I’m not going to characterize Andy’s testimony but mine is the same today.
Senator Ted Cruz: Alright, I’m going to make a final point because my time is expired. This investigation of the president was corrupt, the FBI and the Department of Justice were politicized and weaponized, and in my opinion there are only two possibilities, that you were deliberately corrupt or woefully incompetent and I don’t believe you were incompetent. This has done severe damage to the professionals and the honorable men and women at the FBI because law enforcement should not be used as a political weapon and that is the legacy you’ve left.
[Mr. Comey] Law enforcement should not be used as a political weapon and that is the legacy you’ve left.
~ Senator Ted Cruz