Several House Democrats hurriedly left a confidential hearing with FBI Director James Comey on Russian hacking, claiming the head of the top law enforcement agency is unfit to lead.
“I was nonjudgmental until the last 15 minutes. I no longer have that confidence in him,” Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.), a ranking member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, told The Hill.
“Some of the things that were revealed in this classified briefing—my confidence has been shook.”
“I’ll just—I’m very angry,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.). “I’m extremely concerned—extremely,” Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) added.
It’s unclear exactly what was discussed.
Comey has been criticized since late October when he sent out a letter saying that the FBI would be investigating more aspects of an email server Hillary Clinton used as Secretary of State. But a few days before Election Day, he announced that no new charges would be pursued in a move that many believe swung the election in favor of Donald Trump.
On Thursday, it was announced that the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, the internal watchdog, would probe the department and the FBI’s handling of an investigation into Clinton’s server.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in a statement that the decision was made after requests from numerous members of Congress.
“I am grateful to the Department of Justice’s IG for taking on this review. He is professional and independent and the FBI will cooperate fully with him and his office,” Comey said in a statement obtained by Politico. “I hope very much he is able to share his conclusions and observations with the public because everyone will benefit from thoughtful evaluation and transparency regarding this matter.”
Comey, as well as other intelligence chiefs, have said that Russia hacked into Democratic Party officials’ systems.
“I want to [have faith in Comey],” said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) after the meeting with Comey on Friday. “I have concerns. Stay tuned.”
Republicans have mostly defended Comey, and many didn’t object to what was said in the meeting.
“The FBI director is a good man who was placed in a very difficult position,” Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) told the Hill. “His boss [U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch] made life very difficult for him in the last year when she met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac.”