Washington D.C. exclusive bureau reporter Mark Meredith answered questions from NewsChannel9’s Faran Fronczak about how lawmakers were reacting after the conclusion of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony.
Faran: In the first 12-minutes of Director Comey's hearing, Comey dropped what some would consider a bomb on former Attorney General Loretta Lynch saying quote "she directed him-- when looking into Hillary Clinton's emails --- not to call it an investigation, but a matter." What's the reaction to that in Washington?
Mark: This is what's so interesting, there's been so much happening at the same time, and you're asking specifically about these Loretta Lynch comments. What you can tell is that was the reaction from the republicans there on the Senate Intelligence Committee and that they said, "Wait a minute, this is something we're certainly going to want to look more into. However democrats really tried to steer the conversation back to the main point of today which is of course learning more about what led up to Director Comey's termination earlier this year and those encounters that he had with President Trump and whether or not he felt if this was justified when it came to his termination.
Faran: Director Comey came out and said he gave copies of his memos to a friend – a law professor at Columbia University, who is also former FBI agent – in the hopes of giving it to a reporter, to call for a special prosecutor. So we're learning Comey is in fact one of the leakers. Are many in Washington taking this as spite or sympathy to him doing this?
Mark:I think we have to be very clear that this happened after he was fired. He took this personal note, and we don't believe it to be all of them taken during the interactions, however it's this one specific incident that happened in a meeting at the oval office in February where he felt that President Trump was pressuring him to intervene in the Michael Flynn investigation. Director Comey did admit, as you say, giving that information up to a friend in New York, which eventually got its way to the New York Times. But the reason Comey's saying he did this is he felt that the President was going to slander him, that he was going to lie, and that it was going to be a cover up. Now to your point, the President’s lawyers tonight are saying that Director Comey was a leaker and this is unacceptable to him. But for the most part, what we’re seeing is more about the interaction with Flynn as opposed to the specifics of the note.
Faran: You have democrats and republicans both on the Senate Intelligence Committee. But it seems like some on the committee's agenda is to get trump on charges of "obstruction of justice." does Washington think that happened today, and what happens next?
Mark: This investigation is going to continue, not just from what we're seeing in the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is still going to happen in the Justice Department, and they're the ones that are going to make that ultimate decision. Also, so much of this hearing was focused on Russian influence in the election and we can't underscore that enough, that there are still so many questions as to what happened last year, did it affect the outcome of the race at all, there's been no signs of that. But there's still those questions that are lingering. You have to also remember this, there were so many questions not answered today by Comey because it was a public session. They wanted to do it behind closed doors because national security is involved in this.
Faran covered all things politics in the borderland, which included interviews with local leaders and politicians on issues the borderland faced. Before making her way to the borderland, Faran was the nightly news anchor for FOX28 in South Bend, Indiana. She covered all things political there as well, including then Governor Pence's re-election - before he was chosen as Donald Trump's Vice Presidential pick - and every 2016 Presidential candidate's trip through Michiana.