During the hearing, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham asked Comey what kind of “threat” Russia presents to the “democratic process.”
“Certainly, in my view the greatest threat of any nation on Earth, given their intention and their capability,” Comey said.
Comey also testified that Hillary Clinton forwarded emails containing classified information to her aide Huma Abedin’s husband, Anthony Weiner.
“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,” Comey said. He later added, “His then-spouse, Huma Abedin, appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”
When asked about the investigation’s impact on the 2016 presidential election, Comey stated that he feels ill thinking about it.
“This is terrible, it makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election,” Comey said. He added that if he had to make the choice again today, however, his actions would not be different.
The FBI director stated that he was faced with two decisions: concealing or revealing that the investigation into Clinton was ongoing. He said he ultimately decided concealing the probe would have been catastrophic.
“(To) not speak about it would require an act of concealment, in my view, so I stared at speak and reveal,” he said. “Speak would be really bad — there’s an election in 11 days, lordy that would be really bad — [but] concealing, in my view, would be catastrophic.”
“It crosses a line when it moves from being about trying to educate a public, and instead just becomes about intelligence porn, frankly, just pushing out information … without regard to the First Amendment values that normally underlie press reporting, and simply becomes a conduit for the Russian intelligence services … just to push out information to damage the United States,” Comey said.
“There’s nothing that even smells journalist about some of this content,” he added.
Comey also asserted, once again, that it is the belief and conclusion of the intelligence community that Guccifer 2.0, an account that appeared on Twitter in 2016 and claimed to be the source of WikiLeaks’ materials from the Democratic National Committee, was an agent of Russia. Senator Al Franken brought up former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone’s communications with the account, reading a message claiming that the account had offered to help Stone.
Franken asked whether there were further communications between Stone and the Guccifer 2.0 persona, which Comey did not comment on — stating that it is unlikely he would comment in a closed session either.
Many experts have challenged the notion that he was working with the Russians, with one of the most popular theories being that the account was made by the DNC itself using planted Russian fingerprints — in an attempt to discredit the WikiLeaks by blaming Russian hackers.