James Comey says the Justice Department's findings on Russia is 'good news no matter what'

Win McNamee/GettyFormer FBI director James Comey testifies in Washington DC in 2016.
  • Former FBI Director James Comey said that some of the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation ought to be considered “good news” for both Republicans and Democrats.
  • During an interview on Wednesday with NBC News, Comey said of Mueller: “I think it’s good that he was able to finish the work and establish both that the Russia ‘thing’ wasn’t a hoax; that the Russians interfered in the election in a huge way. And that’s really important,” Comey said.
  • “The evidence didn’t establish that any Americans conspired as part of that effort,” Comey added. “That should be good news no matter what party you’re associated with.”
  • But Comey suggested he might have some reservations about Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings.

Former FBI Director James Comey said that some of the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation ought to be considered “good news” for both Republicans and Democrats during an interview with NBC News that aired Wednesday.

“I didn’t know what answer the special counsel would arrive at,” Comey said to NBC anchor Lester Holt. “When I was fired, we hadn’t finished the work, so I didn’t know what conclusion it would end up at.”

“I think it’s good that he was able to finish the work and establish both that the Russia ‘thing’ wasn’t a hoax; that the Russians interfered in the election in a huge way. And that’s really important,” Comey said.

Comey was abruptly fired by Trump in May 2017. The special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein eight days later.

On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr submitted a four-page summary of Mueller’s investigation into whether members of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russia, and whether Trump had obstructed justice.

Barr wrote Mueller “did not establish” that Trump’s campaign conspired to collude with Russia during the election. In his report, Mueller declined to answer the question of whether Trump obstructed justice in the course of the investigation, instead leaving that for the Justice Department to answer.

Barr and the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence during the investigation was “not sufficient to establish … an obstruction-of-justice offence.”

A bipartisan group of lawmakers have since demanded for the release of Mueller’s full report. Democrats have increased their pressure on Barr, who, before being confirmed as attorney general, wrote an unsolicited memo to the Justice Department outlining why he was dubious of the obstruction of justice portion of the investigation.

Comey said the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation still yielded “another piece of good news” for the country.

“The evidence didn’t establish that any Americans conspired as part of that effort,” Comey said to Holt. “That should be good news no matter what party you’re associated with.”

“The investigation had to happen,” he added. “It would have been irresponsible not to investigate. And we don’t investigate – despite what the partisans say – to find a particular result. We investigate to find out what’s true. And as best I can tell, it looks like Bob Mueller was allowed to do that and that’s a great thing.”

But Comey suggested he might have some reservations about Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings, and also called for the public release of the report.

“I read him as saying the special counsel didn’t find that the evidence established that there was any conspiracy between an American and the Russians,” Comey said. “What other evidence there is, what evidence there might be that falls short of that standard, I have no idea. So, I don’t know what the special counsel found.”

“I’m prepared … to wait and get the transparency that we need,” he added.

The public; however, may have to wait for a while longer. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler said Barr told him that he would not be able to make the April 2 deadline to release the report, according to a report from Talking Points Memo published on Wednesday.

Democrats from the committee demanded Barr to submit to them Mueller’s report by that date. It is unclear whether Nadler will pursue a subpoena.

“We’re not happy about that, to put it mildly,” Nadler reportedly said.

“We’ll wait until after April 2 and then we’ll make those decisions.”

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