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Cummings Responds to Stunning New Report on Alleged Double Standard at FBI

Oct 31, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Oct, 31, 2016) – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to a new press report alleging that FBI Director James Comey opposed naming Russia as meddling in the U.S. election because of concerns that it would impact voters so close to a presidential election:

“If this breaking news is accurate, it raises serious questions about a very disturbing double standard.  Did Director Comey have concerns about the political fallout of naming Russia as meddling in the United States election because it involved a candidate running for president or his confidants?  We need to know what in the world is going on here.  The American people deserve to know if the FBI is investigating Donald Trump or his associates for their interaction with Russian interests.”

According to the CNBC report, Director Comey “argued privately that it was too close to Election Day for the United States government to name Russia as meddling in the U.S. election and ultimately ensured that the FBI's name was not on the document that the U.S. government put out, a former bureau official tells CNBC.” According to the press report, “some government insiders are perplexed as to why Comey would have election timing concerns with the Russian disclosure but not with the Huma Abedin email discovery disclosure he made Friday.”

This morning, Cummings called on Director Comey to disclose any investigative steps the FBI was taking or planning to take against Donald Trump or any of his confidants. He issued this statement:

“If it is comes out after the election that the FBI kept secret from the American people the fact that it was investigating former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, or seeking access to his emails, or investigating anyone else associated with Trump, then I have no idea how Director Comey will be able to explain his actions.  I do not know how Director Comey will justify his decision to withhold information relating to Trump while publicly announcing ongoing investigative steps against his opponent just days before the election.”

Cummings continued:

“I am extremely concerned that if information about the FBI investigating Trump confidants does not become public until after the election, Director Comey will have no way to explain why he withheld it beforehand while at the same time disclosing investigative steps relating to Secretary Clinton.  The American people expect fundamental fairness from our law enforcement officials, and that is exactly what they deserve.”

To date, Director Comey has declined to confirm publicly the existence of the Manafort investigation or describe any investigative steps the FBI is taking, such as seeking access to emails.  Manafort reportedly was forced to resign from the Trump campaign in August in the wake of “revelations about his work on behalf of pro-Russian figures.”

On Sunday, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Director Comey stating that in his communications with Comey and others, it has become clear that he possesses “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government—a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity.”

114th Congress