When asked by Congressman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) who paid for the document during yesterday’s closed-door interview, Comey replied, “Who cares?”
Meadows tweeted today just after the transcript of Comey’s interview was released to the public:
I asked Director Comey about who paid for the dossier.
1) Republicans paid for it — (Republicans did not pay for it)
2) “Who cares?” Yes, this is an FBI Director apparently not caring to know who paid for information used to surveil Americans with a FISA warrant.”
According to Fox News, the transcript also reveals Comey’s rationale for sending the two FBI agents to interview Flynn in January 2017 without following standard protocol and the fact that the FBI knew “exactly” what Flynn had said to Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to their questioning.
“The agents went to interview Flynn to try and understand why the national security adviser was making false statements to the vice president of the United States about his interactions with the Russians during the transition,” Comey said in response to a question from House Oversight Committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).
He continued, “I knew certain classified facts about the nature of his interactions with the Russians. I knew that the Vice President was making statements that he attributed to conversations he’d had with Mr. Flynn that were starkly at odds with those classified facts.”
When Gowdy stated, “You knew exactly what General Flynn had said to the Russian Ambassador before you interviewed him.” Comey replied, “Yes.”
Other highlights from Comey’s testimony:
- He claims he didn’t hand pick the FBI agents to interview Flynn–one of whom is known anti-Trump special agent Peter Strzok. He told Gowdy, “I didn’t know what agents would go. I wanted Flynn interviewed as soon as possible.”
- He attempted to clarify his remarks that he “got away” with not involving the White House Counsel in the Flynn interview, telling lawmakers, “In a more established environment, there would’ve been an expectation that the FBI would coordinate the interview through White House Counsel.”
- He pushed back against claims that the FBI didn’t tell Flynn the severity of the consequences of lying to Congress: “He was an extraordinarily experienced person and so reasonably should be assumed to understand you can’t lie to the FBI,” Comey told House Republicans .”Second, it’s not protocol. The FBI does not do that in noncustodial interviews. And, third, you want to find out what the witness will say to you before you heat up an interview by raising the prospect that the witness might be lying to you.”
NBC News reporter Mike Memoli noted the apparent inconsistencies between Comey’s testimony to Congress and his interview with NBC’s Nicolle Wallace just days prior.
Tweeting a transcript of Comey’s comments, Memoli wrote:
What’s at odds:
Comey, to Wallace 12/9: Q: What did he think they were coming there for?
COMEY: “I don’t think he knew. We didn’t tell him.”
Comey, to Gowdy 12/17: “The Deputy Director … told him what the subject matter was. … He knew what he was going to be asked about.”