Thursday 17 August 2017

John McCain blames 'tiredness' for confusing questioning of former FBI director James Comey

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) asks questions at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) asks questions at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington

John McCain has suggested he was tired when he questioned former FBI director James Comey after his performance prompted a wave of criticism on Twitter.

The 80-year-old Arizona Republican joked that maybe he should not have stayed up late watching the Arizona Diamondbacks playing baseball.

"What I was trying to get at was whether Mr Comey believes that any of his interactions with the president rise to the level of obstruction of justice," Mr McCain said in a statement after his questioning.

Instead, the senator flummoxed Mr Comey with a question about why "the investigation of anything former secretary Clinton had to do with the campaign is over and we don't have to worry about it any more?"

Mr Comey pointed out they were separate investigations, begun at different times.

"I'm a little confused," Mr Comey responded. "With respect to Secretary Clinton, we investigated a criminal investigation in connection with her use of a personal email server."

Mr McCain said he does not understand how Mr Comey could be done with the Clinton probe having concluded no charges were warranted, but would not say the same about the Russian investigation. Mr Comey said the Russian investigation is ongoing as far as he knows.

Mr McCain, who can alternate between gruff and self-deprecating, afterwards made light of the mess.

"I get the sense from Twitter that my line of questioning today went over people's heads," Mr McCain said in a statement. Turning more serious, he said that "while I missed an opportunity in today's hearing, I still believe this question is important, and I intend to submit it in writing to Mr. Comey for the record".

The Diamondbacks joined in, retweeting Mr McCain's statement with the "shrug" emoticon.

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