Sen. Mike Lee Blasts Comey for Alleging Russian Officials Have Leverage Over Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying before Congress about his agency’s investigation into whether members of President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives to swing the 2016 election. 

During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Comey was asked if he believes that Russian operatives are in possession of compromising information about President Donald Trump

“I don’t know whether the Russians have something over President Trump,” Comey said. 

However, he added, “It’s difficult to explain his conduct, his statements, in any other way, especially his refusal to criticize Vladimir Putin, even in public. So it raises significant questions. And obviously, the question is only deepened by the disclosure — if it’s true — of significant indebtedness.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) took issue with Comey’s assertion, since he is a private citizen now, and noted that throughout the hearing, Comey testified that he did not know the answers to some questions pertaining to the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign.

“Mr. Comey, with all due respect, you don’t seem to know anything about an investigation that you ran,” Lee charged. “So, how can you now as a private citizen and former FBI director show up and then speculate freely regarding any alleged ties between President Putin and President Trump?”

He continued, “I heard you say, just a moment ago, now I hope I misunderstood you, please correct me if I did. I think I heard you say that you still speculate they might have something on President Trump because of how President refers or doesn’t refer to President Putin in public.”

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Lee asserted that “there are perfectly reasonable explanations” why Trump would refer to Putin in a “certain tone.”

He reiterated his question to Comey, “So, honestly, how can you as a private citizen now come to us, and in your capacity as former FBI director, and speculate so freely regarding these alleged ties … when you don’t seem to know anything about this investigation that you ran?”

Comey’s was testifying before the Judiciary Committee as part of Senate Republicans’ probe into the FBI’s Russia investigation — dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” into whether members of Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian operatives to swing the result of the election.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced the probe in May and said it would look at “all things related” to the Russia probe.

That includes the investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, alleged FISA surveillance abuses, and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.