FBI Director James Comey has apparently drawn the ire of Democrat leaders in the House of Representatives after a classified briefing held Friday, with at least one Democrat legislator declaring him unfit to head the FBI.
The briefing was reportedly on whether or not Comey will direct the FBI to conduct an investigation into the alleged ties between President-elect Donald Trump and the assumed Russian hackers many Democrats believe helped undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
While former Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was frustrated enough with Comey to shout at him, “You let us down,” according to one attendee of the meeting, Vice President-elect Mike Pence refused Sunday to answer whether Trump still had confidence in the embattled agency head.
“You’ll have to ask him about that,” Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Comey played a pivotal role in the 2016 election after he first indicated that Clinton may have mishandled classified information by setting up a home-brew server. He changed that position in July 2016 and said the bureau would not be recommending charges against Clinton and two of her aides. Then, following a late-hour discovery of yet more potentially classified emails on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, Comey indicated he may investigate and file charges after all. Finally, he retracted that position and recommended — again — no charges be filed. The last stance came just 36 hours before polls opened on Election Day.
At Friday’s briefing, Democrats were reportedly frustrated by Comey’s insistence that he would not be investigating Trump and his supposed relationship with Russia, but had come close to investigating Clinton and her server, and was vocal about his intent before changing his position.
Legislators seeking to hold Russia accountable were also disappointed earlier this week, when Comey refused during a public hearing to comment on investigating connections between the president-elect and Russia. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) noted that Comey had publicly commented on investigations related to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. On Friday, the Guardian reported, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) suggested that the FBI had adopted a double standard.
Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I) told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Sunday, “I think it would not be a bad thing for the American people if [Comey] did step down.” Last week, the Department of Justice inspector general announced a broad investigation into the FBI’s behavior related to Clinton’s emails leading up the election.