“I DON’T RECALL”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 30, 2020) — At approximately 10:20 a.m. EDT, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R) welcomed former FBI Director James Comey to a public hearing from which Comey was to testify remotely, under oath and voluntarily.
Appointed by Obama in 2013, Comey was fired in May 2017 by President Trump, precipitating a Special Counsel investigation to complete the “Crossfire Hurricane” probe launched by the FBI into the 2016 Trump campaign on the allegation that campaign aides had improper ties to Russia.
In the end, the Special Counsel’s office reported it could not substantiate the allegations.
When Graham told Comey he could make an opening statement, Comey replied that he did not have one and would take questions immediately.
Graham asked Comey if he could rate, on a numeric scale, the propriety of Crossfire Hurricane, to which Comey responded that he could not assign a number but that overall, he believed it was done properly. He admitted to having some concerns “which I’m sure we;ll talk about.”
Graham soon began questioning Comey more aggressively regarding his approval, and that of his subordinates of surveillance warrant applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Service Court (FISC).
To many of Graham’s questions, Comey responded, “I don’t recall” or “I do not remember.”
Comey claimed he was not made aware that Carter Page, against whom the now-infamous surveillance warrants were obtained, was a CIA source rather than a pro-Russian operative, a claim Graham said the committee has emails to prove. Earlier this month, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith agreed to plead “guilty” to altering a CIA email which confirmed that Page was, in fact, a source.
Another reply Comey often invoked was, “It doesn’t sound familiar.” Alternatively, he often chose not to respond to questions with whose predicate he disagreed.