McCain explains what he was trying to ask Comey

During former FBI director James Comey’s congressional testimony on Russian interference in the 2016 election on June 8, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) entered into a lengthy and confusing comparison of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and the Russia investigation. (Reuters)

After his questions to former FBI director James B. Comey baffled everyone, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) later joked that he’d stayed up too late and attempted to clarify his point.

“I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads,” McCain said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. “Maybe going forward I shouldn’t stay up late watching the Diamondbacks night games. 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.”

McCain’s meandering back-and-forth with Comey became a distraction on a very busy day. Senators on both sides of the hearing room looked on quizzically as Comey struggled to understand McCain’s point.

“You’re gonna have to help me out here,” McCain said. “We’re complete — the investigation of anything former secretary Clinton had to do in the campaign is over, and we don’t have to worry it any more?”

“I’m a little confused, senator,” responded Comey.

Afterward, the line of questioning became a hot topic. A Fox affiliate in McCain’s home state clipped the video with the headline “Everyone Is Talking About John McCain’s Bizarre Questioning To James Comey.”  CNN diplomatically reported that Comey had been confused by McCain’s questions.

In his statement, McCain said he was trying to determine why Comey could state a conclusion about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while as secretary of state, but he would not state his opinion on whether President Trump’s questions about the ongoing Russia probe constitutes obstruction of justice.

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“In the case of Secretary Clinton’s emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence,” McCain said. “I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump — whether or not the President’s conduct constitutes 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.”

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