A video of ex-FBI Director James Comey testifying before Congress earlier this month has given some traders hope that President Donald Trump will avoid any allegations from Comey that the president may have tried to impede an FBI investigation.
Those seeing exoneration from the video, which is being shared by various conservative sites and through social media, appear to be misinterpreting the question that Comey was asked by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
Here’s the full exchange. Comey is never asked about Trump. He is asked about the U.S. attorney general or “senior officials” at the Justice Department:
Hirono: So, if the attorney general or senior officials at the Department of Justice opposes a specific investigation, can they halt that FBI investigation?
Comey: In theory, yes.
Hirono: Has it happened?
Comey: Not in my experience. Because it would be a big deal to tell the FBI to stop doing something without appropriate purpose … Often times they give us opinions that we don’t see a case there, and so you ought to stop investing resources in it, but I’m talking about a situation where we were told to stop something for a political reason. That would be a very big deal. It’s not happened in my experience.
Some sites spreading the video appeared to misconstrue the exchange to mean that Comey has never been asked by the president or anyone else to end a probe:
Congressional committees are trying to get Comey to testify following a reported memo in which he allegedly says Trump asked him to lay off an investigation into ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn. Comey has yet to do so.