The House Judiciary Committee has released the transcript of the second day of its recent interview with James Comey. It’s available here. I found the following exchange which begins on p. 160 interesting. (Mr. [ ] is a representative of the FBI whose name has been redacted by the Committee.)
Chairman Goodlatte. Mr. Comey did any country other than Russia attempt to influence the 2016 election?
[Discussion off the record.]
Mr. Comey. I don’t think I can answer that, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goodlatte. And what’s the reason?
Mr. Comey. I believe that’s across the line the FBI told me to steer — stay on one side of.
Chairman Goodlatte. We need a reason why the FBI told you to steer clear of that.
Mr. [ ]. First, I think it is impacting the Special Counsel’s Office purview; and, second of all, if you’re going so far as to ask who were those investigations may be on, we —
Chairman Goodlatte. I haven’t asked that yet.
Mr. [ ]. I understand that. I just don’t want the witness to blurt something out either.
Chairman Goodlatte. He doesn’t seem disposed to blurt things out. He can answer a straightforward question of, did any country other than Russia attempt to influence the 2016 election?
Mr. Comey. So I can give you this answer. One of the things I don’t want to do is give adversaries — we’re in an unclassified setting — an idea of what we didn’t know as well as know, so the answer would be I believe so — nations other than Russia.
Chairman Goodlatte. Did the FBI have any evidence that another country was attempting to influence Hillary Clinton or hermPresidential campaign?
Mr. Comey. Mr. Chairman, I want to be careful answering that question because, again, I don’t want to give — a negative answer or a positive answer will give information to an adversary that I don’t want to give them, and so I’m sure the FBI maybe could arrange for a briefing of you on that, sir, but I don’t think I can responsibly answer that in an open setting.