Jordan, Meadows Put Comey on Hot Seat Over Handling of Flynn Matter

Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina pressed former FBI Director James Comey during a closed-door hearing Monday why he believed then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conduct warranted a criminal investigation, but was not worthy of bringing to President Donald Trump’s attention.

According to the transcript from the hearing released on Tuesday, Jordan ran through a timeline with Comey, noting The Washington Post had run a story just one day before FBI investigators met with Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 headlined, “FBI reviewed Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador but found nothing illicit.”

The story related that calls between Flynn and then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition in December 2016 were listened to, but that the national security adviser was not the subject of the investigation.

Jordan asked Comey whether there was anything wrong in the conversations that prompted the FBI to send investigators to Flynn’s office.

Comey answered, “The vice president had said that the national security advisor had told (him) that the subject of sanctions never came up in General Flynn’s conversations with the Russians. That’s my memory of what the vice president said. We knew that was not true.”

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The former FBI chief then conceded that Flynn and Kislyak talking about sanctions was not in and of itself the area of concern for him, but that Flynn had lied about it first to Vice President Mike Pence and later to the FBI.

Comey recounted that the Logan Act, which forbids private citizens from engaging in unauthorized communications with foreign governments “was not my focus, as I recall, at the time; that I gather there was a statute that prohibited private citizens and all that but that it wasn’t something that had been prosecuted in 100 years, and so that was not our focus.”

Comey reiterated Flynn’s lying to Pence was what prompted sending FBI agents to the White House.

Jordan later wanted to know why Comey did not raise the matter of Flynn’s lying with President Donald Trump when the two had dinner on Jan. 27, 2017.

Do you think the FBI treated Flynn fairly?

“Why not?” the congressman wanted to know. “(Trump’s) talking about General Flynn. You had just interviewed him three days earlier and discovered that he was lying to the vice president, knew he was lying to the vice president, and, based on what we’ve heard of late, that he lied to your agents.”

“Why not tell his boss, why not tell the head of the executive branch, why not tell the president of the United States, ‘Hey, your national security advisor just lied to us three days ago?'”

Comey answered because it was an “open investigation.”

Jordan was incredulous: “Really?…I mean, but this is not just any investigation, it seems to me, director. This is a top advisor to the commander-in-chief.”

Meadows then jumped in: “So, Director Comey, let me make sure I understand this. You were so concerned that Michael Flynn may have lied or did lie to the vice president of the United States, but that once you got that confirmed, that he had told a falsehood, you didn’t believe that it was appropriate to tell the president of the United States that there was no national security risk where you would actually convey that to the president of the United States?”

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“Is that your testimony?” Meadows asked.

“That is correct,” said Comey. “We had an open investigation, criminal investigation, counterintelligence investigation. There was no way I would discuss that with the president.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina pushed Comey on his public remarks regarding FBI breaking its normal protocol by interviewing Flynn in the opening days of the Trump administration without involving the White House counsel.

Comey acknowledged “in a more established environment, there would’ve been an expectation that the FBI would coordinate the interview through White House counsel.”

“I’d never worked in a transition time before,” he added, “but my understanding was that, in a more established administrative environment, you wouldn’t get away with just calling the witness and saying, ‘Can we come and talk to you?'”

On Tuesday, Flynn’s legal team accepted a federal judge’s offer to delay sentencing concerning his guilty plea for making false statements. The move allows their client to continue to cooperate with federal investigators, which might result in a reduced sentence.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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