James Comey was a lifelong Republican until the current administration came around, but he seemed more than a little exasperated with his former party after a series of hearings on Monday.
Comey was on Capitol Hill today for his second hearing with House Republicans over his handling of the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He left the proceedings pretty fired up, popping off to reporters outside about his favorite topics like “standing up for the truth.”
“The words of a president matter, the rule of law matters, and the truth matters,” the former FBI director told reporters outside the hearing room. “Where are those Republicans today? At some point someone has to stand up in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away to retirement. Stand up and speak the truth.”
Comey took several shots at Fox News during the interview, large parts of which were broadcast on Fox News as part of Shep Smith’s continuing efforts to be the only even somewhat-reasonable anchor on the network.
Vox’s Aaron Rupar has a good thread of some of the relevant moments of Comey’s interview, including his line about how Republicans should stand up to Fox once and for all:
Throughout, however, Comey seemed continually shocked that the Republican party was dragging him through this process before they lose their majorities on committees with subpoena power in the New Year.
“Oh, come on,” Comey scoffed at one point. “Look at what happened to the Republican Party. They’re up here attacking the FBI’s investigation of a guy that pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI…Think of the state of affairs we’ve ended up in. It’s nonsense.”
Comey also repeatedly said that he wanted the hearings to be public, but Republican lawmakers pushed for closed-door meetings. He says his answers have been “boringly consistent” with his prior testimony on the subject, and while he said he wouldn’t be thrilled to do it all over again once Democrats take over the House in 2019, he certainly hasn’t been media shy so far.