Comey sheds light on Russians’ thought process about Hillary Clinton’s chances

by WorldTribune Staff, March 21, 2017

Like most U.S. pollsters and pundits, the Russians apparently felt Donald Trump had no chance of winning the presidency so set out to undermine Hillary Clinton, FBI Director James Comey said on March 20.

“Late in the summer they concluded based on the polling that a lot of people were reading that Mr. Trump didn’t stand a chance,” Comey said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

FBI Director James Comey testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20. /AP

Comey did not explain how the FBI knew what the Russians had “concluded” about Trump’s chances. Nor did he elaborate on the reasons for the FBI’s prolonged and inconclusive investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails or on reported major conflicts of interest involving the Clinton Foundation and Russia during her tenure as Secretary of State.

The FBI director then said that Russian thinking at the time was: “let’s just focus on undermining her.”

Comey had said earlier in his testimony that “we saw no efforts aimed at the vote itself.”

As Comey and National Security Agency (NSA) Director Michael Rogers were testifying, President Trump tweeted a video from his @POTUS account, saying “the NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process.”

Responding to a question from Rep. Jim Himes, Connecticut Democrat, about the president’s tweet, Comey said: “We’ve offered no opinion, have no view and have no information on potential impact because it’s never something we looked at.”

Comey was then pressed on whether it was “too far of a logical leap to conclude that the assertion that you have told the Congress that there was no influence on the electoral process is not quite right” to which Comey responded “it certainly wasn’t our intention to say that today.”

“Because we don’t have any information on that subject. That’s not something that was looked at.”

Analysts say Comey then seemed to contradict himself when he said that “we saw efforts to penetrate the voter registration databases.”

Meanwhile, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he noticed a “red flag” during the testimony from Comey and Rogers.

“Red flag: NSA Director careful to discuss only who can unmask USP (U.S. person) identities in reporting, not who can access collection involving USPs,” Snowden tweeted. “How many communications in which at least one participant is American are held by the NSA?”

“The question not answered in Congress today.”

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