One member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who questioned former FBI Director James Comey Thursday morning was Idaho’s Jim Risch. Risch opened by complimenting Comey, but the Idaho senator quickly got down to business.
Risch jumped right into his questioning of former Director Comey. Noting his time was limited, Risch said, “I want to drill right down to the most recent dust-up regarding allegations that the President of the United States obstructed justice.”
The senator pointed to Comey’s written statement in which he directly quoted the President as saying he 'hoped' Comey would let the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn go.
“He did not direct you to let it go?” Risch asked.
“Not in his words, no,” Comey replied.
“He did not order you to let it go?” Risch fired back.
“Again, those words are not an order,” said Comey.
“He said ‘I hope,’” Risch reiterated.
Comey told Risch he took the President’s “hope” as a directive because of the context.
“I mean, this is the President of the United States with me alone saying 'I hope' this; I took it as what he wants me to do. Now I didn’t obey that,” Comey said, “but that’s the way I took it.”
Risch, a former lawyer, said while Comey may have taken the President’s “hope” as a directive, Trump’s words did not direct him to stop the investigation.
Risch concluded by asking Comey if he knew of anyone who had ever been charged for hoping something. Comey responded he didn’t.
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