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Anderson Cooper Presses James Comey on FBI Investigation

CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed former FBI director James Comey on Tuesday on the flaws in the Bureau’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Last week, former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty to the criminal charge John Durham brought against him as part of the latter’s review on the FBI’s investigation. Clinesmith admitted to making a false statement, saying he improperly altered an email the FBI submitted to FISA court in 2017 to renew their legal application to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. This coincides with the findings of Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who concluded last year that the FBI’s investigation was launched on legitimate grounds, but was there were “serious performance failures” that occurred during the probe.

As Cooper and Comey discussed the Senate Intelligence Committee’s findings about the connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia, the CNN anchor moved toward the news about Clinesmith and “a number of in-discrepancies” from the FBI investigation that have been revealed.

“Should it make people look at this entire investigation differently?” Cooper asked. “It seems like it, given this was one of the most important things the FBI was working on, that there were so many inaccuracies and an attorney lied. That’s not good.”

Comey answered by calling it “the result of [Attorney General] Bill Barr’s worldwide dragnet, but I don’t want to downplay it.”

“It’s important that people tell the truth in investigations,” Comey said. “I only know what I know about this from reading it because it happened after I was fired, but a junior lawyer changed the document for reasons I can’t understand from the public record. That’s serious, that ought to be taken seriously.”

Comey remarked that the Justice Department did not take false statements this seriously during the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn cases, and voiced concern that Barr might try to strategically release the Durham probe results before the 2020 election. Eventually, Cooper put him on the spot.

“Do you worry about the public’s trust in the FBI, that it has been so damaging, that it’s been shaken by the number of missteps in the past four years?” Cooper asked.

“Very much,” Comey said. He continued by saying lies about the FBI are more problematic for the Bureau than mistakes, and “the best way to deal with it is show the American people your work, when you make a mistake, admit it, and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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