Monday, December 12, 2016

Senate Minority Leader Blames FBI Chief for Democrats’ Election Loss

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is directly blaming FBI Director James Comey for the Democrats’ loss in last month’s election, saying Comey ignored pleas to investigate possible Russian cyber-interference.

“I am saying the FBI did nothing,” Reid told CNN television Monday. “All the information that we’ve heard in the last couple weeks, it was available to the FBI. He just ignored it. He did not make it public. We asked him more than once and he didn’t do it.”

Reid said he believes the Democrats would have won the Senate and Donald Trump would have lost the presidency if Comey had acted. Reid accused the FBI chief of breaking the decades-old precedent of not getting involved in politics.

He also said Comey’s revelation that more Hillary Clinton emails had surfaced two weeks before the election hurt her chances of winning the White House.

FILE - FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 7, 2016, before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency's recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton.

FILE – FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 7, 2016, before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency’s recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton.

Comey has not yet responded to Reid’s accusations.

But Trump has said it is ridiculous to think Russia interfered in the election to boost his chances, including the determination by the CIA of Russian computer hacking.

“I don’t believe it. If you take a look at what [the CIA] said, there’s great confusion,” Trump told Fox News Sunday. “Nobody really knows. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.”

He said the allegations are “just another excuse” by Democrats to explain his upset over win Clinton.

Trump contends that if Clinton had won the election and Republicans “tried to play the Russia/CIA card, it would be called conspiracy theory. Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election?”

Intelligence committees in both houses of Congress launched investigations Monday into the charges against Russia. Among those endorsing the probes are Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

“The Russians are not our friends,” McConnell said. He added that the investigation should be undertaken with the idea that “the Russians do not wish us well.”

Ryan said the House probe “should not cast doubt” on Trump’s victory, but that foreign interference in a U.S. election is “entirely unacceptable” and Russian involvement “especially problematic.”

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the final stretch of the presidential campaign to help Trump win the presidency. Experts say Russians hacked the Republican and Democratic national committees’ computer systems and disclosed embarrassing emails about the Democrats through WikiLeaks.

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