Arizona’s angry old man, Senator John McCain, is not a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, but he is an “ex officio” of the committee, so he was allowed to participate in today’s testimony by former FBI Director James Comey.
The local media tried to build up John McCain as “playing a key role” in the questioning of James Comey, because the local media all kiss his wrinkled old butt. See this ABC 15 report. John McCain to question James Comey at Thursday’s congressional hearing.
Sen. McCain went last in questioning today as an “ex officio” of the committee, and hoo-boy! Was that ever a disturbing and deeply embarrassing performance, both for him and for this state.
McCain appeared dazed and confused, frequently confusing “Mr. Comey” for “Mr. Trump,” and everyone – including James Comey – was staring at him with pained expressions on their face wondering to themselves “what the hell is he talking about?”
Here is how Foreign Policy describes McCain’s bizarre performance. What on Earth Was John McCain Asking James Comey?
During former FBI Director James Comey’s highly anticipated testimony Thursday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) launched into a strange line of inquiry that puzzled Comey and everybody watching the hearing. While questioning Comey, the one-time Republican president candidate seemed to confuse the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the campaign with the closed probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Hillary Clinton is not understood to be in any way connected to the multiple ongoing investigations into Russia’s meddling in the election; the Trump campaign certainly is, Comey confirmed again on Thursday.
But watch this exchange (video link).
UPDATE: Here’s a better transcript of the exchange from Slate. John McCain’s Questions for James Comey Made No Sense:
MCCAIN: I think that the American people have a whole lot of questions out there, particularly since you just emphasized the role that Russia played. And obviously, [Clinton] was a candidate for president at the time. So she was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news, as you just described it, “big deal,” took place. You’re going to have to help me out here. In other words, we’re complete—the investigation of anything that former Secretary Clinton had to do with a campaign is over and we don’t have to worry about it anymore?
COMEY: I’m a little confused, Senator. With respect to Secretary Clinton, we investigated a criminal investigation in connection with her use of a personal email server.
MCCAIN: I understand.
COMEY: And that’s the investigation I announced the conclusion of on July 5.
MCCAIN: But at the same time, you made the announcement there would be no charges brought against, then, Secretary Clinton for any activities involved in the Russia involvement in our, engagement in our, election. I don’t quite understand how you could be done with that but not done with the whole investigation of their attempt to affect the outcome of the our election.
COMEY: We have not announced, and there was no predication to announce, an investigation of whether the Russians may have coordinated with Secretary Clinton’s campaign.
MCCAIN: They may not have been involved with her campaign—they were involved with the entire presidential campaign, obviously.
COMEY: Of course. Yes, sir. And that is an investigation that began last summer and so far as I’m aware continues.
MCCAIN: So both President Trump and former candidate Clinton are both involved in the investigation, yet one of them you said there’s going to be no charges and the other one that the investigation continues. Well, I think there’s a double standard there to tell you the truth.
It would appear that McCain’s logic is that if the Russians were attacking our presidential election in 2016 and both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were candidates, that the ongoing FBI investigation into the Russian meddling should be ongoing into both candidates. If this is his logic, then the FBI should also be investigating the other candidate in the race, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who was actually seated at the same table with Gen. Michael Flynn and Vladimir Putin at the RT event Flynn got paid for. Guess Who Came to Dinner With Flynn and Putin.
It seemed clear to me that McCain was unable to distinguish between two separate and distinct investigations, one into Clinton’s private server and the other into Russian interference in the election. Perhaps he was making a mangled attempt to try to conflate the two investigations together in order to satisfy his need to continue to grind an axe against Hillary Clinton. Who knows?
Sen. McCain certainly did not play “a key role” in this investigation today as was hyped by the Arizona media. Instead, McCain made a fool of himself and the butt of jokes today.
Anyone watching McCain’s disturbing performance today must be asking themselves about his capacity and competence to serve as our U.S. senator. The Arizona media needs to stop covering for this dottering old man and to start asking these questions.
UPDATE: Sen. McCain has issued a statement that attempts to clarify things.
I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people’s heads. 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. 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. 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.
That’s bullshit. I encourage you to watch McCain’s line of questioning for James Comey and I defy you to find anything that even remotely resembles this concise question, “whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the President rise to the level of obstruction of justice,” in his confused questions. Several senators had already asked this question to which Comey demurred, saying that determination would have to be made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. So McCain’s supposed question, in his attempt to explain away his bizarre behavior today, had already been asked and answered several times by Mr. Comey.