Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley, is questioning FBI Director James Comey in public testimony before his committee. Grassley’s dealt with the evasive and slippery Comey before and has a question about his responses.
He says, “Last week, the FBI filed a declaration in court pursuant to Freedom of Information Act litigations. The FBI said that a grand jury issued subpoenas for Secretary Clinton’s emails, yet you refused to tell this committee whether the FBI saw it or had been denied access to grand jury process from the Justice Department.”
Grassley continues, “So, I think a very simple question, why does the FBI give more information to someone who files a lawsuit than to an oversight committee in the Congress? And that has happened to me several times.”
Comey springs into the familiar talk but don’t say anything mode, telling Grassley, “I’m not sure, Senator, whether that’s what happened here, but you’re right, I refused to confirm in our hearings as to whether we had used a grand jury and how. I think that’s the right position. Because I don’t know it well enough, I don’t think I can tell you, I don’t think I can distinguish the statements made in the FOIA case as I sit here.
An agitated Grassley asks, “Just as a matter of proposition then, if I Chuck Grassley, as a private citizen, file a Freedom of Information Act, and you give me more information than you’ll give to Senator Chuck Grassley, how do you justify that?”
Comey responds casually, “Yeah, it’s a good question, I don’t, I can’t…” Grassley takes serious exception to that non-response, saying, “What do you mean it’s a good question? How do you justify it?”
Comey continues, “What I was going to say, ‘it’s a good question, I can’t as I sit here.'”
Grassley has the last words on the topic, saying, “Egads.” He’s not too tolerant of double talk and avoiding his questions, particularly when it’s done in a flippant and disrespectful manner.
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