Former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of a Senate committee on Thursday. His testimony was meant to shed some light on his sudden firing by President Donald Trump, as well as the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russian government. But Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) decided to use his allotted seven minutes of questioning time to revisit one of his favorite topics: Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“At many different times during the course of the e-mail investigation, even now perhaps, you clearly were troubled by the conduct of [then-Attorney General] Loretta Lynch when it came to the Clinton e-mail investigation,” Cornyn said, referring to a request Lynch made to Comey asking that an investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server be called a “matter” rather than an “investigation.”
Cornyn went on to probe the details of that investigation, which was closed in July 2016, before asking Comey if he was aware that Lynch had been asked “numerous times” to appoint a a special counsel to investigate Clinton.
“Yes,” Comey responded. “I think…members of Congress had repeatedly asked, yes, sir.”
“Yours truly did on multiple occasions,” Cornyn said instantly.
Watch the full exchange here:
In September 2015, Cornyn called for a special counsel to investigate Clinton’s emails, and continued to push the issue nearly a year later. The FBI has closed its investigation into the issue, clearing Clinton in the process. But Cornyn, the Senate’s second-highest-ranking Republican, and other members of his party have remained persistent. Meanwhile, Cornyn has repeatedly dismissed any conversations relating to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and dodged opportunities to pursue the issue.
When former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appeared at a Senate hearing on Russia last month, Cornyn’s colleague Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) chose to grill Clapper about Clinton’s emails. And Cornyn used his own time to press Yates on the Muslim ban, which targets citizens from six Muslim-majority countries (Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Iran; Iraq was included in a previous version as well.) Neither Texas senator asked a single question relating to the intended purpose of the hearing.
When Comey last testified before Congress in May, Cornyn began his line of questioning by once again reviving the topic of Clinton’s emails.
“I find it ironic because you’re not the one who made the decision to handle classified information on a private email server,” Cornyn said to Comey, referencing Clinton’s comments citing Comey as a reason for her electoral loss. “You’re not the one who decided to have a private meeting with Secretary Clinton’s husband in the middle of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Secretary Clinton’s server.”
He went on to yet again blast Clinton’s decision to use a private email server, before praising Comey for making the best of an “impossible choice.”
Cornyn wasn’t the only senator to spend precious time focusing on Clinton’s emails on Thursday. Speaking shortly after Cornyn, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) seemed to conflate the closed Clinton investigation with the ongoing Russia investigation, leading many to wonder what in fact he was talking about.
Top Senate Republican uses Comey hearing to ask about Clinton emails was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.