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[Comey Exhibit No. 3 Was marked for identification.]
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Okay. I would like to introduce the following document from the Baker transcript, page 72. This is the transcript of former FBI general counsel James Baker's October 18th, 2018, interview with the committees. It begins, question: And what was the initial concern/issue raised in the investigation? Answer: Well, the initial -- the initial issue was whether there had been interactions of an unlawful nature or that were a threat to the national security or both in connection with the -- at least some people in the now President's campaign with the Russian Federation, witting or unwitting. Question: And these were related to George Papadopoulos? Answer: Yes. Information that he conveyed, yes. Question: Can you confirm that the initial allegation that started the Russia counterintelligence investigation had nothing to do with the Steele dossier? And there's an interruption by the counsel to caution him to answer in an unclassified setting. And then he answers, answer: Based on the information that I have seen in the public domain, I think I can answer it. And I think the answer is it did not have to do with the dossier. Director Comey, do you agree with Mr. Baker that the initial allegation in the FBI's counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign's potential coordination with the Russian Government, quote/unquote, had nothing to do with the Steele dossier?
Mr. Comey. Yes. That's correct.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. And do you agree the initial allegation was actually related to information that George Papadopolous conveyed?
Mr. Comey. That he conveyed to a diplomat that was then conveyed to the U.S. several months after he first conveyed it, yes.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Thank you. Let me go into another topic. So earlier in these proceedings, I had the chance to question Peter Strzok about leaks from the FBI, and we had this exchange. This is me asking the question: Could you explain to me a little bit about Director Comey's fear of leaks from the New York field office and how that, in your view, affected the revelation of the warrant for Weiner's laptop? Answer from Strzok: You have to ask Director Comey that. I think there was discussion I remember and particularly some of it was in the context of reporting from Mr. Giuliani and others about connections to New York. So let me just ask you what I asked him. How concerned were you about leaks from the New York field office to Rudy Giuliani or other media personalities in 2016?
Mr. Comey. I was concerned that there appeared to be in the media a number of stories that might have been based on communications reporters or nonreporters like Rudy Giuliani were having with people in the New York field office. In particular, in I want to say mid October, maybe a little bit later, Mr. Giuliani was making statements that appeared to be based on his 153 knowledge of workings inside the FBI New York. And then my recollection is there were other stories that were in the same ballpark that gave me a general concern that we may have a leak problem -- unauthorized disclosure problem out of New York, and so I asked that it be investigated.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Oh, okay. So the investigation began at some point after you asked for the investigation to start?
Mr. Comey. I think sometime in October, maybe they didn't get going on it until November, an effort led by our internal affairs component, as I understand it, began to try and understand, do we have leaks and what are they?
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. And to your knowledge, has anyone been held accountable for these purported leaks?
Mr. Comey. Not to my knowledge. The investigation ultimately led to disciplining of FBI Deputy Director McCabe because the investigation turned up communications that he had apparently authorized about a pending investigation of the Clinton Foundation, but I don't know beyond that .
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. How about anything related to the New York field office?
Mr. Comey. I don't -- I never got a report out on that before I was fired.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. I see. Okay. Here's the concern, Director Comey. If no one's been held accountable, especially from the New York field office, and if there are leaks from the New York field office to potentially people like Rudy Giuliani, who's the current lawyer for the President, then they have an active window into the investigation of them, and that's why I think a lot of people are concerned about whether that investigation concluded or not. Who would we talk to about this particular issue if we wanted to learn the status of that investigation?
Mr. Comey. Well, the FBI, whoever you normally talk to there, would be the place to start. I don't know whether they're in a position to comment or not. I don't know what its status was when I was fired in May.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Got it. Okay. Next topic. The Washington Post reported previously and The Atlantic confirmed that former acting FBI Director McCabe opened an obstruction of justice investigation into the President after your firing. Prior to that, had an obstruction of justice investigation been opened into the President or other senior officials with regard to Michael Flynn?
Mr. Comey. Not to my knowledge, no.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Okay. I was reading in your book that on February 14th, 2017, after your conversation with the President, you then returned to your car and then emailed your colleagues about this particular conversation with regard to Mr. Flynn. What came of that at that point? Did you hold off on a potential investigation into obstruction of justice or what was your -- what was your thought process there? Because I know that you also said in the book that you didn't know who to go to, you couldn't go to Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General was -- I'll let you answer.
Mr. Comey. I met with the senior leadership team of the FBI, shared with them a memo that I created about the February 14th conversation, and we debated what to do. And because we didn't feel we could go to Attorney General Sessions because he was about to be recused, there was no Deputy Attorney General because Mr. Rosenstein had not been confirmed yet, and we didn't want to do anything that might chill the investigative team. We decided that we would simply hold on to it, keep the information close hold until the Department of Justice sorted out how they were going to supervise this and the n we could bring them into it and figure out what should we do to investigate this. And so that's why I say, to my knowledge, no investigation was opened on the obstruction of justice at that point.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Okay.
Mr. Comey. We held it, and we actually never got to the chance -- the Department of Justice didn't get to the point of figuring out how they were going to supervise the investigation until after I was fired.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Why -- for a layperson who may not understand why you even thought about this amounting to potential 156 obstruction of justice, can you walk us through that? Why is this something that might cause the concern about an allegation of obstruction of justice?
Mr. Comey. Well, the President of the United States asked me, directed me in my apprehension of it to drop a criminal investigation, and so that is an extraordinary use of power and could amount to obstruction of justice. That is a corrupt endeavor to impede the administration of justice. I don't know what the answer is to the ultimate question, but given that, it was something that needed to be investigated.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. And is the reason why you say "could" because you need to get to the intent behind why the investigation is being asked to be dro pped?
Mr. Comey. Correct.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Okay. You know, we are going to be in the majority in the House starting in January, and so one of the questions that folks like myself have is, stepping back for a second, you know, you were there for quite a while during the Russia investigation, from end of July 2016 through the time that you were let go in May 2017. So almost 1 year. You learned a lot probably during that time. What lessons did you learn during that time that would inform us as we c onduct oversight, not necessarily from the standpoint of a forensic criminal investigation, but from the standpoint of protecting our democracy?
Mr. Comey. I don't know that I can give you a thoughtful enough answer sitting here after 5 hours of questions. I'd have to think about that one because it's an important question I would not want to answer causally. So I'm going to have to take a rain check on that one. Yeah. Maybe the one thing is, as you exercise incredibly important oversight power, I s aid earlier, I think this branch of government has neglected its authorities and needs to assert its authorities, but in doing that, to be sensitive about the need to coordinate with ongoing investigations so nothing happens to affect or to cast doubt on t he credibility of an ongoing investigation.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Very good. Let me just make sure I don't have a final question here for you. I think that's it for me. Thank you.
Mr. Comey. Thank you.
Mr. Deutch. Mr. Comey, thanks for being here. Nice to see you again.
Mr. Comey. You too.
Mr. Deutch. Just one quick followup to what you just said that this branch that has neglected its responsibilities shouldn't act in a way that would cast doubt on any of the investigations. You're referring -- are you referring to the actions of this branch in recent days or years?
Mr. Comey. Not in the second part of that sentence; in the first part, yes, generally. But what I meant by the second one is special counsel's investigation is going to be ongoing, I would assume, when the majority changes, and I think it's just very important for whoever is in the majority to be sure to be sensitive to the need to balance oversight with an ongoing criminal investigation. That's what I meant by that.
Mr. Deutch. I appreciate that. I wanted to pick up on this last line of questions. There were press reports that on May 10th, 2017, the day after the President fired you, he met with Russia's foreign minister and the Russian ambassador in the Oval Office, and told them, quote: I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I face great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off, closed quote. Then the next day, President Trump stated during a nationally televised interview with Lester Holt that, quote, "this Russia thing," close quote, was on his mind when he decided to fire you. And then during your June 2017 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, you were asked why you believe President Trump fired you, and you responded, and I quote you : I guess I don't know for sure. I believe I take the President at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation. Something about the way I was conducting it the President felt created pressure on him that he wanted to relieve, closed quote. Do you still believe that the President fired you because of the Russia investigation?
I think on balance that I do. The only
hesitation I have is I've seen the President since saying other
things that it wasn't because of that, and s
o I'm in a position
where I can't know for sure.
more questions and answer sections mixed in im gonna end up finishing this tomrrow
Mr. Deutch. When you stated, "I take the President at his word," were you referring to either his meeting with the Russians or his interview with Lester Holt?
Mr. Comey. Both, but more so to the Holt interview because it was on the record. I don't know whether the Washington -- I think it was The Washington Post reporting on that encounter with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister was accurate, so I tend to put more weight on his own words speaking to Lester Holt.
[Comey Exhibit No. 4 Was marked for identification.]
Mr. Deutch. I'd like to introduce exhibit 4. It's the Baker 10/3/18 transcript, pages 147 to 148. That's the transcript of former FBI general counsel James Baker's October 3rd interview with the committee. It reads, question: Can you explain what the atmosphere was like at the FBI after the President fired Comey? Answer: I'm not sure that I can reduce it to one or two words. It was an, I guess, horrible atmosphere. I t was shock, dismay, confusion at least initially that night and then -- and 160 then a sense of resolve that came pretty quickly as well to continue the FBI's mission. And as I was saying earlier to the Congressman, make sure that we were all adhering to our oaths to the constitution and executing our responsibilities. Question: Was there concern at the FBI that the President had fired Director Comey because he was trying to obstruct the FBI's investigation into the Russia matter? Answer: Yes. Questio n: Was that the concern you had? Answer: Yes. Question: Was that concern shared by others? Answer: I think so, yes. Question: Who? Who else? Answer: The leadership of the FBI, so the acting director. I can't remember if we appointed an acting deputy director immediately. The heads of the national security apparatus, the national security folks within the FBI, the people that were aware of the underlying investigation and who had been focused on it. And, Director Comey, did you share Mr. Baker's concern that the President had fired you because he wanted to obstruct or impede the FBI's investigation into the Russia matter? Mr. Comey. I did because of his words. Mr. Deutch. And does it surprise you to hear that the leadership, the n ational security officials at the FBI were 161 concerned that President Trump fired you in an attempt to obstruct the FBI's investigation into the Russia matter? Mr. Comey. No, it doesn't surprise me at all. Mr. Deutch. Turning just for a moment before I w rap up to summer -- earlier summer of 2018, July 29th, in fact, the President tweeted, and I quote: There is no collusion. The Robert Mueller rigged witch hunt headed now by 17, increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer, angry Democrats, w as started by a fraudulent dossier paid for by crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the witch hunt is an illegal scam. Mr. Comey, was the FBI's investigation into Russian interference and potential coordination with the Trump campaign started by a fr audulent dossier? Mr. Comey. It was not. Mr. Deutch. Can you explain how you know that? Mr. Comey. Because I know what the basis was for starting the investigation. It was the information we'd received about a conversation that a Trump foreign -- campaign foreign policy adviser had with an individual in London about stolen emails that the Russians had that would be harmful to Hillary Clinton. It was weeks or months later that the so - called Steele dossier came to our attention.
originally posted by: Deetermined
a reply to: RalagaNarHallas
Ms. Jackson Lee. Is there any need to further investigate Hillary Clinton's emails based upon the decision that you made not to prosecute?
Mr. Comey. Not that I can possibly see.
Ms. Jackson Lee. You consider this case closed?
Mr. Comey. Yes. There's no serious person who thinks there's a prosecutable case there. And so, not that can I see.
Apparently, a federal district court judge doesn't see it the same way...
Specially, Lamberth ruled:
… the Court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer to plan discovery into (a) whether Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; (b) whether the State Department’s attempts to settle this case in late 2014 and early 2015 amounted to bad faith; and (c) whether State has adequately searched for records responsive to Judicial Watch’s requests.
Terming Clinton’s use of her private email system, “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency,” Lamberth wrote in his MEMORANDUM OPINION:
… his [President Barack Obama’s] State and Justice Departments fell far short. So far short that the court questions, even now, whether they are acting in good faith. Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as Secretary of State to thwart this lofty goal [Obama announced standard for transparency]? Was the State Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching – and disclosing the existence of – Clinton’s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?
At best, State’s attempt to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.
nobody will discuss what really matters.
so that ends the line of questioning by deutch and seems to be trying to imply that there was no politically motivated bias i know members here will differ on how they interpret this but hey least hes on the record now the next snippet will be a new questioner and getting near end of the document thank you all for tolerating my walls of texts that im at least formatting now and again sorry for the delays
Mr. Deutch. Was there anything illegal or improper about the way the FBI started the Trump - Russia investigation?
Mr. Comey. No. And, in fact, I would hope that Republicans and Democrats would agree that we would have been derelict not to investigate.
Mr. Deutch. On May 20th, 2018, President Trump tweeted, again I quote: I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes, and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama administration. Director Comey, do you believe the FBI or DOJ ever investigated the Trump campaign for political purposes?
Mr. Comey. I not only don't believe it, I know it not to be true.
Mr. Deutch. I'm sorry, would you repeat that?
Mr. Comey. I know it not to be true. I know that we never investigated the Trump campaign for political purposes.
Mr. Deutch. Did President Obama or anyone in his administration ever make a demand or a re quest the FBI or DOJ infiltrate or surveil the Trump campaign?
Mr. Comey. No, not to my knowledge.
Mr. Deutch. And, Mr. Comey, how would you have reacted if you had received a request of this nature from any administration?
Mr. Comey. Well, they wouldn't -- no one would dare ask me or anybody else at the FBI that because they know the reaction, which would be not only no, but hell no.
Mr. Deutch. In the tweet I read, President Trump appears to be directly demanding that the Department of Justice launch an investigation into his political opponents. You've already stated the answer to a request like that would be hell no. And why is that, Mr. Comey?
Mr. Comey. Because that represents the final corruption and destruction of our system of justice. If we start investigating people by fiat from the leader because of their political affiliation, what are we anymore, which is why it has been so dispiriting not to see both sides of the political aisle react to this with shock and loud voices. It's just not who we are. I don't care who the President is, it's not who we are.
Mr. Deutch. I appreciate that. My final question just refers to something you said earlier today. You said that there's no crime of collusion as it's used, I think, in terms of conspiracy or aiding and abetting. I haven't heard the term collusion in my years at Justice. This investigation or I would say just to try to make this easier for you to answer, given your description of collusion, collusion would not be the basis for a n investigation conducted by the FBI?
Mr. Comey. Right, because it's not a thing in the criminal statutes, that I understand at least. It would be investigating where anyone conspired with the Russians or aided and abetted the Russians.
Mr. Deutch. Thank you,
Mr. Comey. I appreciate it.
Ms. Plaskett. Good afternoon. Good afternoon, everyone. Mr. Comey, before we begin, I wanted to ask a question from the last round just as a point of clarification. In the discussion about why you put -- in late October made an announcement again about the Hillary Clinton email investigation, you said it was for consistency. What precluded or what made you believe or the FBI not believe that allowing the public to be aware of the investigation of Russia and possib le interference or aiding and abetting by Trump aides in his campaign would justify that as well?
Mr. Comey. Why wouldn't we announce --
Ms. Plaskett. Why wouldn't you have announced that?
Mr. Comey. Well, for a number of reasons. It would -- there wouldn't be any policy exception that would permit it; that is, it would jeopardize the ongoing investigation and it would be brutally unfair because we didn't know whether we had anything. We literally just started. And as I said, by the time I was fired, we still hadn't come to a conclusion. And so we'd be revealing something that was inherently misleading and jeopardizing our ability to investigate by revealing it. It's for that reason -- I actually don't remember any discussion about whether to reveal that we had these classified counterintelligence files. Instead, what we debated a lot was should we tell the American people that the Russians are messing with our election more broadly.
Ms. Plaskett. But you stated in the last round that when you made the announcement in October about new emails, you didn't know what it would conclude either. So why would you make the announcement if you had no idea what those second round of emails might lead you to believe?
Mr. Comey. I see. Because we had already, not only told the world about the Clinton Foundation -- excuse me, the Clinton investigation at its conclusion, we had then vigorously defended, in my view, rightly, the result and told people to move on, this was done well, this was done competently and honestly, you can trust your FBI. Now I know that's not true, and so that leaves me with two choices: I can either let the American people continue to rely upon something I know not to be true --
Ms. Plaskett. Which part was not true?
Mr. Comey. That the case is done, you can move on.
Ms. Plaskett. Okay. That the case was done.
Mr. Comey. -- or I can tell Congress that what I said repeatedly is no longer true. Both of those are bad options. One, in my view, is catastrophic, that concealing from the American people and Congress that what we told you over and over and over again in the summer is no longer true would be devastating to the organizations. Now, reasonable people can disagree about that, but those were the two choices. And so it wasn't we were beginning a new investigation; we were restarting an investigation that the whole world knew about and was relying upon what were now false statements about it being completed. And then obviously critical to that was my troop saying, no t only can we not finish this before the election, the result may change, because in this huge trove of emails appear to be emails that were missing from her Blackberry that we never found before. And so given that constellation of circumstances, I really didn't feel like I had any choice. I had to choose speaking over concealing.
Ms. Plaskett. Okay. Thank you. Thank you for that clarification.
Mr. Comey. Yeah. Good question.
Highlights of Comey Testimony: He Likes Mueller, but They’re Not Best Friends
so some comments but no definite answers as he keeps citing hes a witness which does seem to be the case but nothing to damming either but still mostly focused on trump in her line of questioning
Ms. Plaskett. What I wanted to ask a few questions about the body of evidence you're aware of related to President Trump and obstruction of justice. And I'm referring to your book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies in Leadership. And on page 271, you write in the first full paragraph, I'm quoting: I also don't know whet her the special counsel will find criminal wrongdoing by the President or others who have not been charged as of this writing. One of the pivotal questions I presume that Bob Mueller's team is investigating is whether or not, in urging me to back the FBI off our investigation of his national security advisor and firing me, President Trump was attempting to obstruct justice, which is a Federal crime. It's certainly possible there is at least circumstantial evidence in that regard, and there may be more that the Mueller team will assemble, end of quote. So I guess my first question was, were you aware of individuals charged -- that were charged as of that writing?
Mr. Comey. I don't think I meant -- I can't think of anybody I was thinking of, if that makes sense.
Ms. Plaskett. Right.
Mr. Comey. I wasn't -- I don't -- maybe that's an awkward sentence construction, but I don't think I was trying to carve somebody out.
Ms. Plaskett. But were you, in your mind, thinking of people who you believe would probably be charged but had not been charged as yet?
Mr. Comey. I don't think so.
Ms. Plaskett. Okay. And what were the circumstantial evidence that you were referring to?
Mr. Comey. That the President of the United States asked me to drop a pending criminal investigation.
Ms. Plaskett. And that's --
Mr. Comey. And did it after clearing the room and removing my boss and the Vice - President of the United States from the room in order to speak to me alone.
Ms. Plaskett. Okay. And those were the only pieces of circumstantial evidence that you had?
Mr. Comey. That's all I can think of right now.
Ms. Plaskett. Okay. And do you consider President Trump asking you to back off the FBI -- back the FBI off of investigating then national security advisor the circumstantial evidence, right?
Mr. Comey. Well, a piece of it, yes, and the manner in which it was done.
Ms. Plaskett. And the manner in which it was done. Do you consider President Trump firing you a circumstantial evidence of attempting to ob struct justice?
Mr. Comey. Potentially, and that would require a lot of facts I can't see, so I wouldn't give you as strong an answer there. It's potentially circumstantial evidence. The first bit, the Oval Office conversation is circumstantial evidence.
Ms. Plaskett. So we've talked about the Oval Office incident as well as your firing as potential circumstantial evidence. Can you identify anything else outside of those things that's circumstantial or potentially direct evidence of President Trump attempting to obstruct justice, including public information and recent events?
Mr. Comey. I don't think that's for me to answer.
Ms. Bessee. Okay. I was going to say the same thing the witness said. To the extent, because he's also a potential witness for an ongoing investigation, he may be limited to what -- or he may not be able to answer the question.
Ms. Plaskett. Would he be able to answer the question related to those things that have occurred after his firing? Ms. Bessee. To the extent that he has knowledge of them based on his -- because he's a potential witness -- it depends on the question, so maybe if you ask the question we can assess --
Ms. Plaskett. So the question would be, can you identify any circumstantial or direct evidence t hat you may have obtained after being fired which would lead you to believe that the President has obstructed justice?
Mr. Comey. I don't think I can answer that for this reason, that I'm not aware of any evidence that might be responsive to that question that's not in the public realm.
Ms. Plaskett. Right.
Mr. Comey. And so the next part of it would require me to characterize tweets and statements and things, which I don't think I can do.
Ms. Plaskett. You can't characterize tweets? I characterize them.
Mr. Comey. That's what I'm saying. You're as qualified to do it as I, and so I don't think I ought to be in a position of trying to characterize things that are publicly available.
Ms. Plaskett. Well, I think because of your years of experience having prosecuted people, you would be able to identify what a jury would find as circumstantial better than most of us in this room. But if not, we can move on.
Mr. Comey. But I'm a potential witness.
Ms. Plaskett. Got it
Mr. Comey. So I just think it's a slippery slope for me to start characterizing public information.
Ms. Plaskett. Sure. You stated that attempting to obstruct justice, even if it does not work, is still a Federal crime. Would you agree?
Mr. Comey. That's my recollection.
M s. Plaskett. And there's been a growing narrative amongst conservative media that obstruction of justice is a mere process crime, that even if President Trump did obstruct justice, it really isn't that big of a deal if Special Counsel Mueller can't also demonstrate that he committed the ostensible underlying crime of colluding with or aiding and abetting with Russia to interfere with the election. Do you agree with that?
Mr. Comey. No, and I've been hearing that for 30 years. Crimes that involve investigation -- that involve attacks on the criminal justice system, perjury, false statements, obstruction of justice, jury tampering, are things -- are statutes that Congress passed to protect the core of this country's rule of law, and so I never think of t hem as process crimes. They're serious and important Federal crimes.
Ms. Plaskett. And how important do you think it would be if the President of the United States attempted to impede a criminal investigation into his associates or his campaign?
Mr. Comey. I don't think I'm comfortable answering with respect to the President, but I don't have to because I can answer generally. I think it's very serious when anybody endeavors to obstruct the due administration of justice.
Ms. Plaskett. Well, if it was -- anybody would be a very serious thing, but how much more serious would that issue be to the functioning of our democracy if it was, in fact, the President?
Mr. Comey. You know, I'm worried about offering that opinion. I think it's very important that all of us in senior leadership positions in the government uphold our oaths, and critical to the President's oaths is to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. So if someone who's taken that oath is obstructing justice, as we learned 45 years ago in Watergate, it's an incredibly important offense.
Ms. Plaskett. And does that present a national security threat?
Mr. Comey. That's a hard one to answer. It would depend upon who it is and the circumstances and whatnot. I don't think I can answer that in the abstract.
Ms. Plaskett. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. Comey. Thank you
so this one focuses mostly on weiners case and comeys termination
Ms. Jackson Lee. Sheila Jackson Lee. Mr. Comey, it looks like we're going to be doing a bionic, I may be talking really fast and meteoric, and so I may be looking to put things in the record and not really seeking a question. So let me just do this. On the overall obstruction of justice, New York Times article that indicated they had it however here: Mr. Comey's firing was more unusual and important because he was overseeing the Russia investigation, a certain number of experts said. Questions about what will happen with that investigation now that he is gone are the main reason they said his firing is likely to be highly significant, with long - term ramifications for pol icy and government. These experts came from the University of Chicago, Denver, Harvard, Maryland, University of Virginia, Yale University. Do you, frankly, think that your firing without determination of why will have long - term policy and governmental impact?
Mr. Comey. I don't know. It'll depend upon whether the law is able to work as intended and the special counsel can complete his work. I don't know where he'll end up, so it's hard for me to answer at this point. Ms. Jackson Lee. Let me answer -- or ask some questions regarding the inspector general's report. I think it was around the 26th that -- September 26 that you received some indication about the Weiner laptop, 2016. And it started in New York, and people started to see emails flourishing, and FBI agents thought it was crucial -- I'm looking for my materials here -- thought it was crucial that you -- that they begin to investigate. And it seems that there was some suggestion in the IG's report of a question whether there was unnecessary delay.
Mr. Comey. Yes, I remember that. Ms. Jackson Lee. But it seems that he concluded that no emails, texts, anything, conversations he could find to suggest that it was purposeful delay, and I think that's important to be on the record. Do you agree with that?
Mr. Comey. I agree. I've seen -- I didn't realize until I read the IG's report that chronology, because it wasn't presented to me for decision until the end of October, but there was reason to believe it would have been ready for decision earlier than that. But I never saw any indication that that was intentional delay