FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Navy Adm. Mike Rogers got to spend much of Monday on the proverbial "hot seat," getting grilled by both Republicans and Democrats who were eager to make political hay of just about everything that came out of their mouths.
You can watch the entire briefing before the House Committee on Intelligence in the video above. However, we've also identified the five most enlightening and entertaining moments of the briefing in the list below.
5. Guilty Before Proven Innocent: President Donald Trump started the day off like only he can with a tweetstorm, which prompted Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the committee, to fire off what he obviously thought was an epic response. He wrote:
Mr. President, the Russians hacked our election and interfered. No one disputes this now, but you. This is what is called "fact."
Three hours later, when the FBI and NSA directors were asked about the facts of the investigation regarding the alleged Russian "hacking" of the election, we got an entirely different story. Rogers stated, as a matter of fact, that votes weren't changed in any state—and responded in kind as committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) went state-by-state through the so-called "swing states" of North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
4. The Liberal Media Got Their Moment: The liberal mainstream media got their "aha!" moment early in the briefing—and ran with it—when Comey admitted the FBI is investigating the allegations of collusion between the Russian government and members of the president's campaign. But they didn't get much more than that.
Our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations, especially those that include classified matters. But, in unusual circumstances, it may be appropriate to do so. This is one of those circumstances.
I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes any links between the Trump campaign and Russian government, and whether there was cooperation.
This will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. Because it's classified, I cannot say more about who we are investigating.
Note that he did not mention if a similar investigation is underway regarding known Russian connections to the Clinton campaign. We also don't know the nature of the current investigation, or when it began. But as we've learned over the past 24 months, the mainstream media doesn't need facts to push their narratives.
3. Then the Media Got Dinged: Comey didn't want to tell the media how to do their jobs, but he pretty much did anyway. In explaining his thoughts on the plethora of intelligence leaks being reported by the anti-Trump media, he said, "sometimes the newspaper gets it right, but there's a whole lot of wrong information allegedly about classified activities in the newspaper."
I've spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures and where they came from—it's very, very hard. Oftentimes it doesn't come from the people who actually know the secrets. It comes from one hop out—people who heard about it or were told about it.
And that's the reason why so much information that purports to be accurate classified information is wrong in the media, because the people who heard about it didn't hear it right ... There's a whole lot out there that is false. And I suppose some of it could be people lying to reporters—I think that probably happens. But more often than not, it's people who act like they know when they really don't know.
2. 6 Possible Leak Sources Who Haven't Been Investigated: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was obviously a very skilled prosecutor before he joined Congress, but his grilling of the agency heads on Monday was some of his best moments ever. In short order, he identified six potential "sources" of intelligence leaks and pointedly asked if they had been investigated, as well.
These six were:
- President Barack Obama
- former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
- former CIA Director James Brennan
- former National Security Advisor Susan Rice
- former White House advisor Ben Rhodes
- former Attorney General Loretta Lynch
- former acting Attorney General Sally Yates
Comey never actually answered either way, and very specifically said he would not talk about anything he may or may not have discussed with the president. Suffice it to say, there was a lot of word-parsing going on in his answers to the congressman's questions.
1. You Have to Watch This One to Fully Appreciate It: Gowdy won the internet on Monday with this epic exchange with Comey. We could tell you about it, but that would hardly do it justice. Just watch the video below and pay attention to the congressman's facial expression.
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