Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid lambasted FBI Director James Comey in a Monday interview with CNN, claiming that Comey “single-handedly” cost Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton the election.
Comey released a letter to congressional leaders less than two weeks before the November 8 election announcing that authorities had discovered additional emails related to the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server while she was secretary of state. The agency then announced days before the election that the additional emails had not changed its recommendation that Clinton not be charged with criminal wrongdoing.
“Had he not written that letter a week or so before the election, she would’ve won,” Reid said. “We would’ve picked up at least two more Senate seats.”
The Nevada Democrat also criticized Comey for not taking a stronger stance against reported Russian meddling in the US election. The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Friday that an assessment by the CIA concluded that Russia interfered in the election to help Trump’s presidential bid.
“They ignored it,” said Reid, who wrote a letter to Comey regarding Russian intervention before the election. “The FBI director didn’t have the decency, the courtesy, to even respond to my letter.”
He said the response he got from a lower-level official “said they were looking into it,” but, he said, “they looked into nothing.”
Calling Comey a “partisan,” Reid doubled down on his assertion that Comey “ignored” intelligence that pointed toward Russia’s involvement in the hacking of emails from members of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign from WikiLeaks.
“It was obvious,” Reid said. “There is information out there, he had it … and he ignored it.”
The effort from WikiLeaks was “all directed to hurt Clinton” and “they certainly didn’t leak any information” regarding Republican organizations and campaigns, he said.
Asked about his past intense criticism of Trump, Reid said he stood by all of his prior statements, asking “what’s wrong” with any of them. He did say, however, that Trump “doesn’t appear to be as bad as I thought he would be.”
“Well, he said he’s going to try and help the Dreamers, he has shut up about the fence, he appears to be somebody who’s trying to not be as crazy as his election,” he said, adding, “He’s still bad, but not as bad as I thought he would be.”